City of London Police close 2,000 websites in counterfeit goods crackdown

The City of London Police has announced the suspension of more than 2,000 websites found to have breached intellectual property rights in its latest crackdown on counterfeiters.

Thousands of sites were targeted for selling fake luxury goods ostensibly from fashion brands such as Burberry, Longchamp and Tiffany & Co but which were in fact cheaply produced substitutes.

Overseen by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit the operation saw the police partner with brands, brand protection organisations and internet registries to close down the illicit sites.

PIPCU head Danny Medlycott commented: “The general rule is 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.

“When shopping online you need to be extremely vigilant that you are not misled into buying fakes. Many sites claim to be selling genuine items, but in fact they are just cheap imitations. In some cases, such as with electrical items, these products can be extremely dangerous as they aren’t subjected to the vigorous safety checks that legit items are.

"The criminals behind these websites will often take advantage of your personal details, such as financial information and so people may find their card has been compromised and used for other fraudulent scams. The sites themselves can also be harmful, as they contain malware and viruses that can infect your computer.”

Over 5,500 websites have been closed down by the unit since its formation in October 2013.