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Customs officers seized 1,000 fake COVID-19 test kits they found stuffed in a suitcase

INSIDER logoINSIDER 5/22/2020 mmark@businessinsider.com (Michelle Mark)
Customs officers seized 1,000 fake COVID-19 tests from a man's suitcase, the agency announced May 21. Customs and Border Protection © Customs and Border Protection Customs officers seized 1,000 fake COVID-19 tests from a man's suitcase, the agency announced May 21. Customs and Border Protection
  • Customs and Border Protection seized 1,000 fake COVID-19 test kits inside a man's suitcase, the agency announced Thursday.
  • It's becoming a growing trend — customs officers seized a similar haul in March of six bags filled with apparently counterfeit coronavirus tests.
  • The federal government has launched a crackdown on counterfeit products, scams, and other fraudulent activity related to the pandemic, issuing warning letters in some cases and pursuing fraud charges in others.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Officers from the Customs and Border Protection agency recently seized 1,000 counterfeit COVID-19 tests stuffed inside the suitcase of a man traveling to Mexico, the agency announced Thursday.

The agency said officers have seen a recent uptick in similar unapproved or fake products at the border.

"Some appear to be exploiting the pandemic for financial gain, leaving the consumer at risk," CBP said in a statement. "These products may result in serious consequences to the consumer, whether that end user is in the United States or another country."

It's not the first time the agency has busted apparently fake COVID-19 test kits. In March, customs officers at the Los Angeles International Airport seized six bags full of small bottles labeled "Corona Virus 2019nconv (COVID-19)" and "Virus1 Test Kit."

The Customs and Border Protection agency said officers seized six bags of suspected counterfeit coronavirus tests. Customs and Border Protection © Customs and Border Protection The Customs and Border Protection agency said officers seized six bags of suspected counterfeit coronavirus tests. Customs and Border Protection

The agency also announced Thursday that officers seized 1,000 masks, 2,740 mask filters, and 60 bottles of hand sanitizer from a woman at the Ysleta port of entry on May 17.

"All of the products were found to lack proper registration, labeling, and did not comply with criteria set by the Food and Drug Administration," CBP said in a statement.

The federal government has warned of a surge in counterfeit products, scams, and other fraudulent activity related to the coronavirus.

The US Food and Drug Administration, for instance, has for months been sending warning letters to companies pushing bogus coronavirus "treatments," such as teas, tinctures, vitamins, supplements, or essential oils.

Recently federal authorities arrested a New York man, alleging that he sold stolen coronavirus test kits to people for $200 and never provided any results. The Justice Department also pursued a similar case against the owner of a website that sold fake coronavirus test kits.

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