Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced the launch of an enhanced initiative to combat counterfeiters trying to sell knock-off products through its site.
The Counterfeit Crimes Unit is a global initiative staffed by former federal prosecutors, investigators and data analysts who will attempt to block counterfeit products from ever being offered for sale on the retail platform. The company isn’t just attempting to block the products from being listed, they plan to prosecute the cheaters.
From the company’s June 24 blog, “Every counterfeiter is on notice that they will be held accountable to the maximum extent possible under the law, regardless of where they attempt to sell their counterfeits or where they’re located,” said vice president of customer trust and partner support Dharmesh Mehta.
Amazon spent more than $500 million in 2019 thwarting the efforts of illegal sellers on its site. The company’s internal taskforce was 8,000 strong, blocking more than 2.5 million “suspected bad actor accounts” before they could list counterfeit products and stopping over 6 billion suspected fraudulent listings.
The launch of the counterfeit unit aims to do more than just block bad actors from listing fake goods for sale on the online store. Amazon wants to work with local law enforcement to “hold counterfeiters accountable for their crimes,” by pursuing civil litigation against offenders. The company views the effort as a collaboration with the brands and the companies being counterfeited and law enforcement.
Last week, Amazon announced a joint lawsuit with Italian luxury brand Maison Valentino against an alleged counterfeiter in New York. Amazon previously shut down the seller’s account in September.
“We are working hard to disrupt and dismantle these criminal networks, and we applaud the law enforcement authorities who are already part of this fight,” continued Mehta. “We urge governments to give these authorities the investigative tools, funding and resources they need to bring criminal counterfeiters to justice because criminal enforcement – through prosecution and other disruption measures such as freezing assets – is one of the most effective ways to stop them.”
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