November 18, 2021
Black Friday is just two weeks from now. Besides the expected shopping frenzy that will keep retailers in the black, it’s also the time to be on high alert. Law enforcement with Homeland Security Investigations are keeping a close eye out for counterfeit items.
A recent shipment seized by HSI recently includes around 150 phone cases. If all items are real, it would be worth more than $62,000.
Some signs to tell something is fake: the color of the item is lighter or logos and text are off-center. That confiscated shipment is just one of thousands of packages that enter the state from out of country. Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection are inspecting suspicious items.
HSI Honolulu Special Agent in Charge John F. Tobon, says when shoppers purchase fake goods, they’re potentially funding criminal enterprises.
“Everything from drug running, gun running to international terrorism,” Tobon said.
Distributing, selling or owning counterfeit items is illegal. Tobon says prosecution depends on the case.
“It depends how much information we have on each individual case. We have the ability to collect evidence, analyze evidence and choose to act at a later time,” Tobon said.
The best way consumers can help is to not buy fake items.