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The City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) closed more than 1,000 “illicit websites” per month between November 2016 and 2017.
According to a statement from PIPCU, it took down 13,616 websites in that time, an increase of almost 80% on the preceding 12-month period, when 7,617 websites were removed.
The statistics came as part of a report published by domain name registry Nominet that looked into how authorities tackle online criminal activity. Nominet manages .uk domain names.
“The sites disrupted by PIPCU often sell products claiming to be from well-known brands and include items such as clothes, handbags, shoes and electrical items,” PIPCU said in a statement.
“The items being sold are often far from the desired products that are being advertised and are in fact just cheap and inferior counterfeits,” it added.
PIPCU went on to warn consumers that counterfeit products can also be potentially dangerous, in terms of both the product and scams and viruses on websites.
Detective inspector Nicholas Court stated that in the run up to Christmas, PIPCU is warning consumers to be careful.
“We would like to warn online shoppers that there’s more at stake when it’s a fake, and that if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is; heavily discounted products are often a tell-tale sign that something isn’t right,” Court explained.
He added: “We have been extremely successful in removing websites selling counterfeit products. This is excellent news for both the consumer and brands, and is a testament to the hard work of PIPCU in partnership with Nominet.”
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