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Amazon creates Counterfeit Crime Unit

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Written by: Emma Lunn
24/06/2020
The online shopping giant has set up a new team to investigate crimes and bring legal action against counterfeiters.

Amazon is launching a new Counterfeit Crimes Unit, which it says is dedicated to bringing counterfeiters to justice.

The global team, made up of former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators, and data analysts, will support the company’s existing efforts to protect its customers from counterfeit goods.

Amazon says its primary focus is preventing a counterfeit from ever being listed on its website.

Last year saw Amazon invest more than $500m to fight fraud and counterfeit goods. It says its efforts have blocked more than 2.5 million suspected “bad actor” accounts before they were able to make a single product available for sale and blocked more than 6 billion suspected bad listings in 2019.

Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of customer trust and partner support at Amazon, says: “Every counterfeiter is on notice that they will be held accountable to the maximum extent possible under the law, regardless of where they attempt to sell their counterfeits or where they’re located.

“We are working hard to disrupt and dismantle these criminal networks, and we applaud the law enforcement authorities who are already part of this fight. We urge governments to give these authorities the investigative tools, funding, and resources they need to bring criminal counterfeiters to justice because criminal enforcement—through prosecution and other disruption measures such as freezing assets—is one of the most effective ways to stop them.”

Amazon says The Counterfeit Crimes Unit will enable the company to more effectively pursue civil litigation against suspected criminals, work with brands in joint or independent investigations, and aid law enforcement officials worldwide in criminal actions against counterfeiters.

A study by the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) found that a third (31%) of consumers unintentionally bought a fake product online in 2019.

Neena Bhati, head of campaigns at Which?, says: “This is a welcome step from Amazon and we look forward to seeing it quickly lead to improvements when it comes to tracking down fake goods.

“We have seen a growing number of issues on sites such as the sale of dangerous products on online marketplaces, misleading fake reviews and scams. Online platforms should be made more responsible for preventing and cracking down on illegal activity on their sites to ensure the safety of their customers.”

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