US Customs and Border Protection recently seized a shipment of fake Fitbits coming from Hong Kong. The total haul was just 350 counterfeit wearables, but they're estimated to be worth about $US35,000 ($50,150). The counterFitbits weren't explicitly deemed a safety hazard, but instead were flagged for infringing on Fitbit's intellectual property rights. The fake wearables were packaged to look exactly like legitimate Fitbits. But for all we know they could be filled with mulch and sawdust. (They're probably not filled with mulch and sawdust.)
"We look for consumer goods that may not be in compliance," Steve Sapp, Public Affairs Officer at CBP in Philadelphia, told me over the phone. "We've been seizing hoverboards, Beats headphones, and this Fitbit seizure is the biggest of that kind of item that I've seen."
Those combustible hoverboards might be getting all the headlines these days, but counterfeit Fitbits are clearly coming through Western ports as well. Any time a new gadget becomes popular, counterfeiters around the world start to crank out fakes and get them into the country as quickly as possible. And obviously Fitbits are no different.
So if someone offers to sell you a Fitbit from the back of a van, maybe keep running. With the measurement accuracy of legit Fitbits coming into question anyway, it may not even matter if you get one filled with sawdust.
Top photo by Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Bottom photo from CBP