High-tech forgery is the criminal growth industry of the future. As cash money becomes less common and more difficult to imitate, the shady smugglers of our connected future deal in counterfeit devices. Port coppers in Los Angeles recently busted a faux-gadget operation that was responsible for an estimated $7 million in profits. The gadgets seized may have valued as much as $10 million.
Something like an iPhone or an iPod is basically as good as cash. If the price is right, you'll find buyers. Especially since some of these Chinese knock-offs are actually better than many comparably cheap American devices. As long as you don't pay Apple prices, these Shenzhen iPods aren't always a bad deal.
In Spring 2010, some 2,000 counterfeit iPhones were busted flying in to San Francisco. An estimated 81% of all imitation electronics come from mainland China. Some one in five Americans admitted to buying some form of counterfeit good in 2009.
We're hungry for cheap knock-offs. Which is why this victory by the port police won't matter much in the end. As long as we keep buying, they'll keep selling.
[Via Cult of Mac]