Over 360,000 phoney AirPods were confiscated by US Customs in 2021 alone.

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U.S. customs has seized over 360,000 fake AirPods in 2021 alone

The popularity of Apple’s AirPods appears to be fueling a massive increase of counterfeit wireless earphones.

Counterfeit wireless earbuds from China are becoming a major issue, with US Customs intercepting a shipment of 5,000 fake AirPods and 1,372 fake AirPods Pro across five shipments reviewed on July 7. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg; thus far in 2021, the number of counterfeit wireless headphones intercepted at customs has exceeded 360,000 pieces, more than double the total from the previous year.

Combined, the fake AirPods and AirPods Pro devices confiscated this month would have been worth some $1.3 million — if they were the real deal — which is what the customers who bought these counterfeit products would have expected after all. After inspecting the suspicious shipments on July 7, the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) confirmed that the products were in violation of Apple’s trademarks and declared the shipments seized just days later.

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Like most counterfeit products, the five shipments came from the People’s Republic of China – the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) explains online that China remains the primary source for counterfeit and pirated goods.

The popularity of Apple’s AirPods is driving a huge surge in counterfeit wireless earbuds. The Information reports that in the first nine months of the 2021 fiscal year, some 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million were confiscated by U.S. customs.

Compare this with last year’s figures, where 295,000 counterfeits with a retail value of $61.7 million were seized throughout the whole of 2020.

While many of us are constantly on the search for a good deal, it’s simple to see why counterfeit AirPods are so appealing. These counterfeit earphones may come with authentic Apple serial numbers and may even be manufactured from genuine Apple AirPods moulds. Once out of the box, the counterfeit AirPods may pair in the same way that Apple’s real AirPods do.

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Clearly, we can all be more vigilant. To that effect, the CBP has an online guide designed to help would-be customers spot counterfeit products.


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