Lady with Holiday shopping bags with text reading: Shop SMART this Holiday Season!

The holiday shopping season is already in full swing. With stores offering discounts across a variety of must-haves for the holiday season, shoppers and businesses alike should be alert to the increased risk of counterfeit products that can spoil the festive cheer. 

Why it matters: Counterfeit versions of popular holiday gifts have been found to contain serious dangers, ranging from undisclosed choking and fire hazards to lead paint and high levels of mercury and arsenic.

➡️   The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods amounted to as much as $509 billion…wow!

Be smart: Here are 5 tips you can use to avoid counterfeit goods:

➡️   Trust your instincts: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. So, if a deal or product seems off, it’s best to keep away. 

➡️   Prioritize secure payments: When shopping online, only buy from sites that begin with https:// — the ‘s’ stands for secure. Also, check for a lock symbol in your browser to confirm the site’s safety.   

➡️   Examine every detail: Pay close attention to labels, packaging, and contents. Watch out for out-of-date perishable items, broken or missing safety seals, missing warranty information, or unusual packaging. These could all be signs of fake goods. 

➡️   Protect your data: Keep all your devices, including computers and smartphones, updated with the latest cybersecurity protections to fend off any potential cyber threats. Stay alert to suspicious websites that could conceal harmful software.   

➡️    Say something: Spread awareness among your friends, family, and coworkers about counterfeit goods. If you encounter a fake good, report it to CBP<> or the National IPR Center<>.

Your actions can make shopping safer and smarter for everyone!