Fake COVID-19 Necklaces

These necklaces claim to make an anti-viral cloud around the wearer to prevent COVID-19. In reality prolonged exposure to the active ingredient, chlorine dioxide, may result in severe breathing difficulty.

NOGALES — A tractor-trailer heading across Arizona’s border with Mexico was carrying necklaces made in China that promised to create anti-viral clouds to prevent COVID-19, officials said Thursday.

On April 16, U.S. Customs and Border Protection task force officers and special agents with Homeland Security Investigations under the Nogales Trade Enforcement Coordination Center examined a Mexico-bound tractor-trailer. TECC officers discovered three undeclared pallets of Chinese manufactured “Virus Shut Out” necklaces.

These necklaces resemble a lanyard with name tag, only in place of a name tag is a blue packet filled with chlorine dioxide to allegedly create an anti-bacterial cloud around the wearer, protecting them from COVID-19.

The shipment contained 30,000 devices, commingled within the merchandise that included clothing bearing counterfeit trademarks. Contents of the shipment were detained by CBP and HSI pending further research and investigation. The findings resulted in the seizure of the necklaces due to their infringement of federal pesticide laws, while the T-shirts were seized for trademark violations.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prolonged chlorine dioxide exposure may result in conditions varying from respiratory irritation to severe breathing difficulty and chronic bronchitis.

CBP’s Pharmaceuticals Centers for Excellence and Expertise appraised the domestic value of the Virus Shut Out necklaces at $479,700. The apparel was appraised with a domestic value of $24,200.

CBP personnel intercept counterfeit goods bound for consumers and marketplaces throughout the United States every day.

In addition to posing potential health and safety hazards, counterfeit goods are often of inferior quality. Peeling labels, low-quality ink or printing errors on the packaging and loosely packed items in the box can be signs that the product you purchased may not be legitimate. Counterfeit apparel and handbags may feature poor or uneven stitching and improperly sized or designed logos. The performance of counterfeit electronics is often marked by short battery life and regular overheating.

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