In a monumental clampdown on trademark piracy, police and law enforcement agencies across Europe have seized more than 4,500 website domains trading in counterfeit goods, often via social networks.
The European Law Enforcement Agency Europol said this on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.
The operation, which was carried out jointly by Europol, Interpol and U.S. legal authorities, targeted websites in 27 countries.
Investigators focused their efforts on online shops selling luxury goods, sportswear, replacement parts, medicines and cosmetics.
“The internet was increasingly being used to sell fake products.
“These products might look like bargains, but they can pose a real threat to the safety and security of consumers,’’ Europol wrote.“Counterfeiters know it and are increasingly exploiting the unlimited opportunities” the internet offers.
— Europol (@Europol) November 29, 2016
The agencies also launched a media campaign to educate consumers.
Publishing a guide on how to spot fake websites and social media scams, Europol warned consumers had to be on their guard.
“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.”
It also warned that by using illicit websites online shoppers “are exposing your computer or mobile device to cyber-attacks like phishing or malware.”