After $100M Counterfeit Super Bowl Merch Haul, Customs Seizes Another $345,000 in Fake Championship Rings
The most valuable souvenir from an athlete's career is a championship ring. It shows that they were part of a team that won it all, and they'll always have that big ol' piece of jewelry to show for it.
If you don't feel like putting in the lifetime of commitment, discipline and hard work to become a peak athlete, you could always just buy a replica championship ring. Or, if scammers have their way, you could buy what you think is a real one, but is actually an expensive fake.
Replica championship rings are popular promo items for sports fans, like those given out at the gates before games or even in NFT form. But, when they're counterfeits made to pass as the real thing, theoretically selling for high prices on the resale market, it's a problem for both the leagues and consumers.
And, sadly, the problem is pretty widespread. Ahead of this year's Super Bowl in Los Angeles, authorities seized more than 267,500 counterfeit items, including jerseys, jackets and rings, totaling almost $100 million.
Via the Los Angeles Times:
Federal agents worked with local authorities in Los Angeles to identify flea markets, retail outlets, pop-up shops and street vendors selling the bogus items, which were often marketed as legitimate, officials said.
They also noted that much of the illegal activity has moved online, pushing more of their enforcement efforts toward websites selling and distributing the goods.
According to the Los Angeles Times, that $100 million figure was more than double the previous year's $45 million haul.
Customs and Border Patrol recently followed up that effort by seizing more than $345,000 worth of fake championship rings arriving from China, including 110 Atlanta Braves World Series rings, 10 Milwaukee Bucks NBA championship rings, 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl rings and 80 Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl rings.
"Counterfeit jewelry continues to flood e-commerce market and these rings were focused on a select group of sports collectors and their fans," LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director of CBP field operations in Chicago, told Fox 5. "Our officers are well-trained to find counterfeit merchandise like these in support of CBP’s mission of protecting the American public and the American economy."