MIAMI – The coveted Super Bowl ring.
The Tom Brady-led Patriots are the latest to win one.
South Florida will play host to the game that will award the next one in just over one month.
Fans of teams who have won one, past and present, can even buy the replica hardware.
On Thursday, United States Customs and Border Protection set up a booth at Miami International Airport to remind the public that what they are buying might not be the real thing.
“One of CBP’s responsibilities is to protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Our officers do a great job of detecting and seizing counterfeit goods,” Michael Neipert, Port Director for CBP Memphis, said. “If a deal on a trademarked item appears too good to be true, it probably is.”
In 2019 alone, CBP officers in Memphis seized nearly 631 fake NFL, MLB and NHL championship rings that could fetch between $10,000 to $35,000 if authentic.
The estimated value of the rings seized was more than $6 million.
The dollar number grows as the IPR list of items grows beyond sports as well. In addition to fake rings and jerseys; purses, handbags, shoes, watches, jewelry and even shampoo have been seized by CBP.
The seizure of these items is not only to protect buyers. Spotting and confiscating fake goods keeps money from the hands of those who are behind the production of the fake items.
“The funds that go into making and purchasing these goods go to transnational criminal organizations that can harm people around the world,” CBP spokeswoman Iwamni Midgette said.
Tips to ensure the product being purchased is, in fact, real, CBP encourages the public to examine the product. Poor stitching, misspellings, missing tags, and even smell can give away whether or not a product is authentic.
Anyone with information on possible counterfeit items can file an anonymous report through an online system on the CBP website.