Del Boy and Rodney Trotter will be wary of stepping out of the van and into cyber space after the City of London Police revealed that it has shut down over 2,500 websites selling dodgy goods.
The sites were selling all manner of designed goods including Ugg boots, Gucci accessories, Abercrombie-branded clothing and hair straighteners by GHD.
It was part of an operation that was organised by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit [PIPCU] to mark World IP Day and was carried out in conjunction with the City of London Police’s Operation Ashiko as well as a number of reputable brands.
“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,” said DCI Andy Fyfe, head of PIPCU. “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 claims that the websites have generated “ten of millions of pounds” for criminal gangs and that customers must remain vigilant when shopping online to prevent fraud becoming a regular occurrence.
“We are excited about the work PIPCU is doing in the UK market resulting in significant reductions of the number of fake shop domains selling counterfeit Thomas Sabo products. This initiative sets a massive strike against fraudulent sellers and ensures consumer protection as well as protection of the UK economy itself,” stated Daniela Süss, Brand Protection Manager at Thomas Sabo.
PIPCU, which is funded by the Intellectual Property Office, was launched last year and has already been successful in reducing online IP crime that has included closing websites that host copyrighted content.
Image Credit: Flickr (Chris Beckett)