Joint Effort Required to Combat Counterfeiters Online

Counterfeiting on e-commerce platforms is a worldwide phenomenon which only continues to grow as new technology and social media apps provide fraudsters with new strategies to apply, and new playing fields to operate on. Both online marketplaces and brand owners are experiencing increased difficulty in dealing with counterfeit products, fake websites and fraudulent accounts, and are having to integrate new anti-counterfeiting programs and measurements regularly in order to keep up.

Counterfeit products currently account for approximately 10% of global trade and are expected to be valued at an incredible $1 trillion in 2020. This will result in huge losses for national governments in the form of taxes, not to mention the loss in sales that brand owners will suffer. The online counterfeit trade has grown tremendously and fraudsters are reaching consumers in a number of ways. Social media, messaging, and share economy applications are not only facilitating the marketing of knock-offs, they also allow peer-to-peer exchanges of fake goods that effectively evade anti-piracy and anti-counterfeit laws. Another hurdle to overcome is that of cybersquatting. This involves creating fake websites with domain names similar to well-known brand or company names and selling counterfeit products to unsuspecting clients directly through the sites.

One of the biggest battles, however, is still against counterfeiters using online shopping platforms to sell their goods around the globe. Some new initiatives to help brand owners report knock-off vendors or accounts producing fake comments and reviews on products have even backfired, with fraudsters using the new systems to attack authentic brands and products with paid for comments, and subsequently reporting brand owners for having fake comments.

A huge, joint effort from brand owners, marketplaces, authorities, and anti-piracy companies will be needed to combat this growing issue, as counterfeiters’ methods become all the more complex.

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