US Customs seize $35K in counterfeit wearable tech

It's not just hoverboards being seized by border control staff, but wearable technology is under scrutiny, as more individuals aim to sell counterfeit products overseas.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seized $35,000 worth in counterfeit smart wristbands in Philadelphia, the law enforcement agency announced late Tuesday.

Photo credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The CBP confiscated 350 wristbands, from a shipment which arrived on December 4, 2015. The delivery came from Hong Kong, and was seized by the agency on January 4, 2016. The CBP did not specify the particular type of wristbands involved.

The agency estimates that if the 350 wearables were genuine, this would have retailed for an estimated total of $35,000, or $100 per wristband.

"Intellectual property rights enforcement is a CBP priority trade issue, and a mission that we take very seriously," said Susan Stranieri, CBP port director for the Area Port of Philadelphia, in a statement, adding that the CBP would continue to work closely with its partners to investigate and seize any fake merchandise which poses a danger to U.S. consumers.

U.S. customs did not reveal in its statement whether any arrests had been made, however, said that the theft of intellectual property and trading forged merchandise was a threat to the U.S.'s "economic vitality and national security".

On a typical day, the agency seizes around $3.4 million dollars' worth of items that violate intellectual property rights, according to the CBP, on top of over 10,000 pounds of drugs, and more than $650,000 worth in illegal or undeclared currency.

In 2014, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport confiscated $210,500 worth of counterfeit bills. Another similar case happened less than a year on, when they seized $65,200 in fake 100 dollar bills at JFK.


By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her @AlexGibbsy and @CNBCi