War on counterfeit goods websites sees new milestone reached

More than 2,500 counterfeit goods websites were closed before World Intellectual Property Day

Internet scam

A specialist police force has closed down 2,500 counterfeit goods websites, with the announcement made to coincide with World Intellectual Property Day.

Websites offering counterfeit goods, such as GHD hair straighteners, Gucci jewellery, Ugg boots and Hollister clothing were suspended by the specially created Police intellectual property crime unit (PIPCU).

The group was launched by the City of London police last September.

DCI Andy Fyfe, head of PIPCU said: "The fact PIPCU can announce on World IP Day that in the eight months since launching we have suspended more than 2,500 infringing websites is further evidence of the expertise of our officers and the level of their commitment to clamp down on IP crime.

"Behind many of these websites lies an organised crime gang funnelling off the money spent by unsuspecting customers on what they think are quality products."

In addition to shutting down the websites, PIPCU also wants to warn consumers of the dangers of buying counterfeit products.

"By accessing websites like this they [consumers] are running the risk of their personal details being compromised and being used for other fraudulent scams, as well as exposing their computer to malicious malware," he explained.

Often, consumers will enter their card details into websites that are not secured. These details will then be used to commit fraud.

If you pay by credit card, your purchases are protected, but it can still be a painful process to claim back the costs from your credit card provider.

Last December, PIPCU suspended 90 counterfeit goods websites in the run up to Christmas.

PIPCU superintendent Bob Wishart said at the time: "The 90 websites we have suspended sends a clear warning out to anyone else who thinks they can sell counterfeit goods on the internet with little fear of ever being stopped."

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