ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Nearly half a million dollars of unapproved vaping products were confiscated by customs officers before they could get into Metro Atlanta stores and into your hands.

The problem they’re fakes and could be dangerous.

CBS46 Tori Cooper shows you how to spot a fake before your next puff.

The director of the port said smugglers will try just about anything to get fake vape pens into the country and in smoke shops.

This time the smugglers didn’t succeed.

However, store owners told us this is a microscopic dent in the bigger issue at hand.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port Director, Atlanta  Paula Rivera Mission, “We’re always looking at the items coming in to ensure that the U.S. is protected.”

Rivera said on a daily basis smugglers are getting more sophisticated.

“There’s not much left to my imagination let’s put it that way.”

In their attempt to get harmful and even sometimes deadly counterfeit goods into the country.

“In this particular case we seized 66 boxes and more than 19,000 counterfeit vape pens with a retail value of 590,000 dollars.”

The fake vape pens arrived through an air freight carrier from China just over a week ago they were destined for distribution here in Georgia.

Pictures taken on the ground, show smugglers were trying to disguise the fake vape pens by using branded packaging almost identical to the legitimate vape company, ‘Rick and Morty.’

The cartoon packaging prompted an additional inspection and a call to the company.

“To verify if the importer has a license to import the product.”

The company confirmed the pens were fake and the importer wasn’t licensed, which led to the seizure.

Cloud 9 Vape shop owner, Sammy Amor, said if shops aren’t careful, smuggled counterfeit vapes can land on their shelves.

“Sadly most of them are fake. That’s why we buy straight from the manufacturer to ensure they are safe.”

He said a real vape pen should also be easy to spot by the shop and the consumer.

“All vape pens have a qr-code on them on the back.”

Behind the label lies the unique code for each pen that you can type in to the website.

If the code has been entered twice or is unknow you will be notified.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now reminding consumers to also do their part when the wrong pen lands in the wrong hands.

“Make sure you report it to and under e allegations they can report that.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection told us that the pens will most likely be destroyed but it takes customers and stores to keep these out of the wrong hands.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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