Organised Crime Rings Behind Counterfeit Trade
The rapid expansion of the IT industry has provided a plethora of new business opportunities for individuals, companies, and countries alike. Unfortunately, counterfeiters are also profiting from developments in technology, the rise in online shopping, and the extensive use of social media for communication, marketing, and entertainment.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB), a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote and foster trust within the marketplace, recently published a 13-page report on the online counterfeit goods trade entitled 'Fakes Are Not Fashionable: A BBB Study of the Epidemic of Counterfeit Goods Sold Online'. The study revealed that approximately 80% of US citizens shop online and that roughly 25% of online shoppers have purchased a product that turned out to be a fake.
According to the report, the most commonly counterfeited products are jewellery, watches, handbags, luggage, toys, games, clothing, accessories, footwear, sporting goods, and pharmaceuticals. However, practically anything that can be purchased online can be copied and the majority of counterfeits originate from China and Hong Kong.
A number of authorities mentioned in the report also state that there are definite links between counterfeiting and organised crime rings. The U.S. Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement notes that “The growth of illicit trade is being fueled by smart and organized criminal networks …”, and a senior fraud investigator with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said “Counterfeiting by Chinese criminal gangs is a far larger problem than most people recognize…”. In fact, the counterfeit trade is even suspected of financing terrorism. The complex value chains, connections with banks and credit card providers, as well as the high-end technology used for manufacturing fake goods all suggest that the criminal gangs behind the counterfeit trade are extremely well-organised and well-funded.
Take a stand against the market of counterfeit goods and protect your consumers by joining us in our mission for 'A Cleaner Internet. A Better Society'. Find out how at #ImForReal