Fake watches and jewelry cost up to $1.5 billion in legitimate sales


Fake watches and jewelry still account for 15% of all counterfeit goods seized by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), according to officers in Cincinnati.

In 2019, CBP and its partner agency Homeland Security Investigation seized 27,599 shipments containing intellectual property violations.

Had the fake goods been real, they would have been worth over $1.5 billion, which gives a measure of how much legitimate business might be lost to the fraudsters.


The statistics were shared after officers in Cincinnati seized 9,377 watches and items of  jewelry from a shipment originating in China and destined to an address in McAllen, Texas.

Officers inspected the shipment on March 30 and found thousands of jewelry items bearing protected trademarks from Tiffany, Pandora, Cartier, Bvlgari, Dior, Gucci, Chanel, Rolex, Versace, and Tous.

Unprotected “generic” jewelry was mingled in the same box with protected jewelry that was undervalued on the invoice.

Officers reached out to CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE), and an import specialist determined the jewelry was counterfeit.

Had they been genuine, the items would have been worth more than $4.2 million although the declared value was only $119.

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