On Friday, April 15, security personnel at the Rochester International Airport uncovered more than 300 counterfeit products. According to experts, the items, which include everything from fake Air Jordans to phony iPhones to designer purses, are coming from China and are being distributed to a number of the 31 national airports located across the country.
Local news station 13 WHAM reports that the proliferation and distribution of these items puts more at risk than simply buying a phony purse. Purchasing counterfeit goods can have dire consequences on the local and national economy.
“Criminal groups involved in the distribution of these inferior products are stealing from Americans and harming legitimate businesses,” said James Spero, the special agent in charge of the Buffalo office of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. “It means American jobs lost, businesses cheated and putting consumers’ health and safety at great risk.”
In fact, the Regional Customs and Border Protection Office says that its main concern is the potential impact on safety.
In the sweep, dozens of counterfeit airbags were found. It’s likely that these airbags have been previously tested on crash dummies and failed to deploy when tested.
This recent counterfeit seizure is not an isolated incident; over the past six months, the Democrat and Chronicle reports, authorities have seized more than $1 million worth of counterfeit items that were shipped into the country through the port of Rochester. Knockoff items include gaming systems, sports jerseys, and more.
The shipments received at the Port of Rochester originate from shipments that arrived at Rochester International Airport or by truck.
While it’s difficult for customs officers to tell which items are counterfeit, special agent Spero advises consumers to be the first line of defense.
“There’s no foolproof way to detect a legitimate article from a counterfeit article,” Spero said. “Consumers need to be our first line of defense. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.”