CBP Seizes $350,000 Worth of Fake N95 Masks Seized at Houston Seaport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized a shipment of counterfeit N95 masks worth nearly $350,000 at the Houston Seaport.

The shipment from China was originally intended to reach New York, prior to the discovery made by CBP officers on April 7 in Texas. 

“Counterfeit goods not only hurt the competitiveness of U.S. manufactures, but they also pose substantial health and safety hazards for American consumers,” said Houston CBP Port Director Roderick Hudson. “In this instance, these counterfeit N95 respirators may not be effective at filtering airborne particles.” 

Upon examining the shipment, CBP officers found 171,460 masks with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health logo on the boxes. However, upon contacting the trademark holder, CBP officers were advised that the shipment they received had not been licensed, leading the CBP to determine the masks were fake.

This is far from the first time CBP officers have encountered fake personal protection equipment. Within the first three months of 2021, CBP discovered 18 million counterfeit face masks. Meanwhile, throughout the entire year of 2020, the CBP seized 12 million fake masks and in 2019, the CBP seized only 1,300 counterfeit masks. 

In Houston alone, the CBP seized 2.1 million counterfeit masks from January to March of this year, leading to a significant increase from the nearly 365,000 counterfeit masks sized in all of 2020. 

“A few simple steps that consumers can take to protect themselves from becoming unsuspecting victims to those peddling counterfeit goods are to purchase goods only from reputable retailers,” Hudson advised. “And when shopping online, read the seller’s reviews, check for a working U.S. phone number and a U.S. address that can be used to contact the seller.” 

The seized counterfeit masks were given to the agency’s Fines, Penalties and Forfeiture’s office for final disposition. 

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