Special Report

10 Most Counterfeited Products in America

Source: Thinkstock

10. Automotive / aerospace
> Percent of total seizures: 2%
> Number of seizures: 486
> MSRP of seized goods: N/A

Counterfeit automotive parts, such as airbags, windshields, brake pads, and seat belts, are among the more dangerous fraudulent products. Many are improperly made with inadequate materials and may not comply with federal safety regulations. This compromises the safety of passengers in the vehicle with the imitation parts as well as other motorists on the road. U.S. law enforcement seized a total of 486 shipments of counterfeit automotive and aerospace products in 2016, more than three times the 132 automotive products seized the year prior. One reason for the massive increase in seized shipments was the joint operation that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the General Administration of China Customs conducted in April that focused on automobile parts, ID tags and labels, consumer electronics, and certain pharmaceuticals. The crackdown resulted in more than 1,400 seizures.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Labels / tags
> Percent of total seizures: 2%
> Number of seizures: 572
> MSRP of seized goods: $17.1 million

Most counterfeit labels and tags bear popular trademarks and are intended to be applied to counterfeit products to improve their authenticity. Homeland Security reports that it seized 572 shipments of fake labels and tags in 2016, roughly 20 more than in the year prior. These products include items such as fabric labels and patches, adhesive stickers and holograms, paper hangtags, and zippers and are meant to be applied to a variety of consumer products such as apparel, handbags, shoes, electronics, and software.

Source: Thinkstock

8. Computers / accessories
> Percent of total seizures: 2%
> Number of seizures: 686
> MSRP of seized goods: $19.3 million

U.S. law enforcement seized a total of 686 shipments of counterfeit computers and computer accessories in 2016. The total market value of the items, if sold as the authentic products they were designed to imitate, was $19.3 million — just 1% of the total cost of all goods seized that year. Counterfeit computers have greater consequences than just lost profits for retailers, however. Fake computers and computer parts are often manufactured with substandard materials and can lead to sometimes dangerous malfunctions. For example, it was revealed in 2011 that mission computers of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s anti-ballistic missile defense and aircraft systems contained over 80,000 counterfeit devices from China. The fake products could have resulted in a total system failure or security breach.

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