Beware of Fake Fendi, Chanel, Authorities Warn After Seizing $30M in Counterfeit Goods

More than 13,500 counterfeit designer products were seized at a port in southern California in early November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said Thursday.

Had the counterfeit products been real, they would have collectively been worth an estimated $30,437,775, according to authorities.

All of the products were found in a single shipment by CBP officials with the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, who assessed the shipment in collaboration with the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising's Center of Excellence and Expertise.

The products arrived at the West Coast port after traveling from China, the CBP said in a news release.

Counterfeit products seized in Southern California
Authorities said Thursday a shipment containing more than 13,000 counterfeit products was seized in early November at a Southern California port. Above, a seller carries counterfeit bags in a street of Rome on January 29, 2013. GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

A total of 13,586 fake designer products were seized from the shipment on November 9 in collaboration with special agents with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, CBP officials said. The products included some clothing and a variety of bags masquerading as products by "numerous" brands with registered trademarks.

Chanel, Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and YSL were among the brands that the counterfeit products claimed to be, they said.

CBP officials announced the seized shipment with a warning to consumers as the holiday shopping season ramps up.

"Bad actors exploit e-commerce operations by selling counterfeit and unsafe goods through online platforms, particularly during the holiday season when shoppers are looking for deals," Port Director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport Donald R. Kusser said in the news release.

If the price of an item "seems too good to be true," Kusser warned, "it probably is."

"Counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and can even be unsafe for you and your family," he added.

In October, CBP officials reported fake designer watches worth more than $26 million were recently seized in Kentucky, and counterfeit championship rings worth more than $440,000 were confiscated in Ohio in early October.

According to the CBP, officials during the 2020 fiscal year seized counterfeit products that would have been worth about $1.3 billion if they had been real.

Authorities warned the sale of counterfeit products can have negative effects on the economy as well as threaten the health of those who purchase them when the fake goods do not meet traditional safety guidelines. To reduce the risk of purchasing fake products, CBP officials encourage shoppers to make purchases directly with either the brand selling the product or established retailers who are authorized to do so.

Officials also advised shoppers to keep an eye out for products that seem to be "of inferior quality," with features like sloppy stitching or logos that don't look accurate.

"Peeling labels, low-quality ink or printing errors on the packaging are also signs that products may not be legitimate," the CBP warned.

Shoppers who come into contact with suspected counterfeit items are encouraged to report the products to the CBP.

Newsweek reached out to the CBP for further comment and will update this article with any response.