More than 2,500 websites selling fake designer goods closed down

April 29th 2014

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has announced that it has suspended more than 2,500 websites selling counterfeit goods since its launch in last September. The announcement was made yesterday, which was also World IP (Intellectual Property) Day.

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The illicit sites' operations were disrupted as part of the City of London Police unit’s Operation Ashiko, working in collaboration with a number of well known brands, IP specialists and website registries including Get Safe Online Partner Nominet. They were offering fake 'designer' goods including brands such as Ugg, GHD, Abercrombie, Hollister, Jack Wills, Gucci and Thomas Sabo. In truth, the goods were of inferior quality to the genuine article, and in some cases dangerous. Sometimes, customers who had made payment for the goods did not receive them at all.

The sites are thought to have earned criminal gangs tens of millions of pounds.

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." DCI Fyfe continued: “Consumers also need to be aware that by accessing websites like this they are running the risk of their personal details being compromised and being used for other fraudulent scams, as well as the exposing their computer to malicious malware.”

PIPCU was set up to protect UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content. It is operated by the City of London Police and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

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