PIPCU reveals link between identity theft and counterfeits


The City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has revealed that since 2014, more than 4,000 websites set up with stolen identities in order to sell counterfeit goods have been shut down in the UK.

PIPCU released the statistics as part of a new awareness campaign called “There’s more at stake when it’s a fake”.

It aims to highlight the consequences of counterfeit websites and is specifically focused on the aspect of identity theft.

“When buying items, people will part with personal details such as their address and financial information which allows fraudsters to set up new websites selling counterfeit goods in their name,” said PIPCU as it launched the campaign.

PIPCU went on to say that this could negatively affect a credit score and that it could take a long time to regain the identity.

As part of the launch, PIPCU also revealed that more than 28,000 websites selling counterfeits have been shut down since 2014.

It added that over 15,000 reports linked to identity crime were received by Action Fraud between April 2016 and March 2017.

“Many people purchase counterfeit goods from bogus websites, knowingly and unknowingly, without realising that there can be significant consequences,” said Nicholas Court, detective inspector of PIPCU.

He added that by buying from a rogue site, “personal and financial information is at risk, meaning that criminals can use your identity for malicious means”.

In August, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) confirmed that it has agreed to provide £3.3 million ($4.2 million) worth of funding for PIPCU between now and June 2019.

An IPO spokesperson said to TBO that the money will ensure PIPCU can continue its “excellent work in fighting IP crime across the UK”.

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