City of London Police launches campaign to tackle counterfeit goods

The City of London Police has launched an awareness campaign to warn the public about the risks of buying counterfeit goods online after revealing it has shut down 28,000 websites selling fake products since 2014.

The campaign highlights the many consequences of buying counterfeit goods online, including identity theft, with fraudsters taking shoppers’ personal information to set up new websites selling counterfeit goods in their name.

According to the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit, of the 28,000 websites it has shut down, over 4,000 websites were selling counterfeits using stolen identities of the UK public.

“Many people purchase counterfeit goods from bogus websites, knowingly and unknowingly, without realising that there can be significant consequences,” said Detective Inspector Nicholas Court.

“We are warning the public that ‘there’s more at stake when it’s a fake’ and that buying from a rogue site puts your personal and financial information at risk, meaning that criminals can use your identity for malicious means.”

The police report said football shirts and footwear are amongst items that are popular for counterfeiters to replicate, and are regularly bought online.

“The sale of fake goods online is a challenging area. Consumers are often unaware that they are purchasing fake products and that the websites they are using might not be secure. It's vital that we help them understand the risks so they can stay safe,” said Ros Lynch, Director of Copyright and Enforcement at the Intellectual Property Office.

“PIPCU's new campaign will help bring this message home so that people can learn how to protect themselves.”

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