Fake luxury watches worth $1.3m seized at LAX

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) have seized 41 watches bearing counterfeit luxury trademarks, including Rolex, Luminor Panerai, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Omega.

If genuine, the seized watches would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $1.3m. They were confirmed as counterfeits by CBP’s Consumer Products & Mass Merchandising Center

The watches arrived in individual packages via air cargo from China to destinations across the US, and were discovered during a period of five weeks from April 12 to May 22. In an attempt to evade detection, the watches were falsely declared as ‘Bracelet’, ‘Belt’, ‘Decoration’, ‘Watch Box’, and ‘Wall Clock’.

CBP notes that buying counterfeit watches can expose consumers to internet security risks, for example having personal data and financial information compromised. It almost goes without saying that these items are made with cheap metals that can cause skin reactions and will likely break quickly.

“There are thousands of private sellers, collectors, and other non-legitimate sources offering luxury watches on e-commerce platforms making it extremely difficult for consumers to spot these fakes,” said Carlos Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.

“Consumers should know that buying fake watches is never a good idea, don’t waste your money.”

Watches and jewellery were the top products seized by CBP in terms of value last year, valued at $1.14bn at MRSP which represents almost 39 per cent of the total.

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