New Toolkit Helps Consumers Avoid Scams while Holiday Shopping

Washington, DC–The holiday shopping season is underway and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) is launching a new holiday shopping toolkit to help consumers protect themselves from substandard or even hazardous counterfeit toys, electronics, cosmetics and other products.

The holiday shopping toolkit includes online shopping do’s and don’ts, ways to protect financial and banking information, educational videos and infographics, and general information on how to spot fake merchandise.

“Fake goods pose real dangers to your health and safety and jeopardize the U.S. economy,” said AnnMarie Highsmith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade. “Between October 1, 2020 and July of this year, CBP made 22,849 seizures worth $2.5 billion. That’s $2.5 billion dollars in legitimate revenue that has been taken from the pockets of law-abiding American businesses to line the pockets of criminals and criminal organizations.”

Among the tips the IPR Center is providing for holiday shopping:

  • Purchase goods only from reputable retailers and be wary of third-party vendors.
  • Read product reviews on websites and research companies you aren’t familiar with.
  • Check seller reviews and verify there is a working phone number and address for the seller, in case you have questions about the legitimacy of a product.
  • If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t buy expensive items from third party websites.
  • Take advantage of security features. Passwords and other security tools add layers of protection if used appropriately.
  • Check privacy policies. Take precautions when providing information, and make sure to check published privacy policies to see how a company will use or distribute your information.
  • Check your statements. Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.

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