DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection is warning shoppers about counterfeit goods ahead of the busiest shopping season of the year.
At the Port of Dallas, officers are assigned to check all cargo flying into Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
The haul includes everything from jewelry to home decor.
Even when you think you’re ordering the real deal, you could be getting a fake.
“We put things on hold that may be a danger to children,” said Chief Customs and Border Protection Officer Raul Orona. “Mainly Christmas and around Black Friday is when we do operations.”
CBS 11 News accompanied agents on a blitz, which is when officers open shipments to ensure they meet U.S. guidelines.
During the blitz, officers pointed to children’s bicycles that they said tested for high levels of lead.
Products sold in the U.S. must meet federal health and safety standards. Many goods must be approved by the Federal Drug Administration or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
If items fall short of certain regulations, CBP can hold the shipment.
Orona pointed out small toy insects from a children’s camping kit that CBP decided to hold.
“[They] are a choking hazard, so they’re going to go in and take out all the insects from the kit,” Orona said.
Batteries and cell phone chargers also present concerns. During inspections, agents look for UL labels, which prove that an electronic item has passed rigorous safety testing.
But it’s not all about kids items.
Beauty products are some of the most common counterfeits.
Orona revealed a haul of dermal fillers.
“You don’t know what’s in there,” Orona said. “All you know is you have a needle, some gel… you don’t even know who the manufacturer is.”
So far this year the CBP has already made more than 1.4 billion seizures nationwide. If you think you’ve received a counterfeit item, you can:
1. Look for a country of origin tag; i.e., “Made in USA.” Every item needs one.
2. Inspect the packaging. Items from luxury brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Chanel don’t typically ship their items wrapped in plastic or unmarked cardboard boxes.
3. Research the seller, especially if it’s a third-party seller through sites like Amazon and eBay. If you can’t contact the company by phone or email, it might be safer to order directly from the brand or retailer.