In a massive crackdown, European police and law enforcement agencies worldwide seized more than 4,500 domains trading fake brands.
The Europol conducted a massive crackdown against websites offering counterfeit products as part of the campaign dubbed “Don’t F***(AKE) Up.” The European law enforcement agency aims to halt the activity of online scammers who offer for sale fake brands.
The agency launched a public awareness and prevention campaign online to allow netizens spotting fake websites and social media scams.
This sale of these products causes serious damage to the finance and the reputation of the official brands, in some cases, they pose a serious threat to “the health and safety of buyers.”
Authorities seized more than 3,500 items of clothing and fake luxury goods, including shoes, bags and perfumes purporting to be such brands as Nike, Adidas, and Kenzo.
Dutch anti-fraud police have identified and arrested 12 people across the country and searched their homes.
“The internet has become an essential channel for e-commerce. Its instant global reach and anonymity make it possible to sell nearly anything to anyone at any time,” reads the official statement from the Europol.
“Counterfeiters know it and are increasingly exploiting the unlimited opportunities” the internet offers.
The operation involved law enforcement agencies across 27 countries in Europe, in the US and Canada. Authorities shut down more than 4,500 websites that were used by criminal organizations to offer for sale various products, including “luxury goods, sportswear, spare parts, electronics, pharmaceuticals, toiletries and other fake products.”
This operation is the result of a continuous effort spent by law enforcement worldwide, every year European authorities seize thousands of domains with the support of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security.
“a significant increase in the number of seized domain names compared to last year,” said Europol director Rob Wainwright.
The police observed a significant increase in the number of sale of counterfeit goods through the social networking platform, including Facebook and Instagram.
“This is a relatively new phenomenon in the trade in counterfeit brand names,”states an official statement from the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD).
This is a profitable period for crooks, starting from the Black Friday and going on for the entire holiday time, users are more exposed to such kind of scams.
“When shopping online, you are more likely to fall victim to counterfeiters,” it said as “without the physical product to look at and feel, it can be more difficult for you to spot the differences.”
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.