(Photo: Media News Group / Bay Area News / Getty Images)U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reportedly seizing record numbers of counterfeit AirPods as well as a variety of wireless earbuds made by Bose, Sony, and other well-known companies.The agency's Cincinnati branch said it "inspected five shipments of headsets from China and found what appeared to be 5,000 fake Apple AirPods and 1,372 fake Apple AirPods Pro" on July 7. The official versions of those products would be worth approximately $1.3 million in total.The Information reported that U.S. Customs seized approximately 295,000 pairs of counterfeit wireless earbuds worth $61.7 million in fiscal 2020. Nine months into fiscal 2021, those numbers have already risen to 360,000 pairs of earbuds worth $62.2 million, according to the report.Those increases have been attributed to the rising popularity of true wireless earbuds—especially the AirPods lineup—and the relative ease with which they can be copied.The Verge reported that counterfeit AirPods can ship with a legitimate Apple serial number, imitate the pairing process used to connect the earbuds to a device, and even be made using genuine AirPods molds obtained from the companies that manufacture the product for Apple.U.S. Customs said the best way to avoid counterfeits is to buy items directly from "the trademark holder or from authorized retailers" and to "read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and an address that can be used to contact the seller" when shopping online.The agency also provides a guide to spotting counterfeit products on its website, and suspected fakes can be reported via the "e-Allegations portal" or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
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