FATA – From Awarness to Action. This is the name of the project born for study the new forms and ways operands related to online counterfeiting and to promote new initiatives and tools to increase the effectiveness of law enforcement actions.
Online counterfeiting: an emerging threat that continues to grow
The phenomenon of online counterfeitingalso thanks to the pandemic and the exponential growth of e-commerce, continues to increase more and more. Unfortunately, at the moment, we still know about this phenomenon Very little. To try to make users more aware and to help them protect themselves, the aforementioned FATA – From Awareness to Action project was born.
This initiative, carried out by Crime & tech – Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and from Central Directorate of the Criminal Police – Ministry of the Interiorwith the support of Amazonwas born from the collaboration between the world of research, public authorities and the private sector, with the aim, as anticipated, of analyze online counterfeiting and promote new initiatives e tools to increase the effectiveness of law enforcement actions.
To accompany the project we find a reportsigned by Amazon and based on the analysis of numerous national and international case studies, together with interviews with the main stakeholders of the public and private sectors.
The document, presented at the event and downloadable on the official website, explains how e-commerce is expanding even if, to date, the traditional sales channel it is the favorite for the sale of counterfeit products. The incidence of online sales, compared to normal ones, is in fact about 10%.
An apparently small percentage but sufficient a worry about the e-commerce giant.
To explain it during the presentation event was Bianca Maria Martinelli, Senior Director Corporate Strategy and Policy at Amazon. Martinelli in fact highlighted how the phenomenon of online counterfeiting is still little knownwhich puts large companies and law enforcement agencies in difficulty.
How do counterfeiters act and through which platforms?
At the moment the project and its exponents have highlighted some tools used by counterfeiters; in particular it is underlined the importancebut also the fragilityof the social network which play an extremely important role in the sale of counterfeit products.
In addition to those involved in the packaging and production of ‘fakes’, the report highlights the participation of new criminal actors. Among them we find influencer, “broker” that help criminals in the development and management of computer services but also organized crime groups.
The report also highlights that counterfeiters are using today different online channels, often connected to each other, to advertise and sell their products. Among the most used channels we find the social network, fraudulent sites (i.e. clone sites), marketplace unsafe and untraceable but also game chat.
It seems that the most used social networks are Instagram e TikTok. It is estimated that on the first platform, in the last two years, they have been closed 60 mila account; on the second platform, however, the hashtag of counterfeit products they received 100 million views.
It was also highlighted an affinity between online counterfeiting and other crimes. In addition to selling counterfeit products, they often are there identity theft (including data relating to payment methods), the spread of malware and also fraud in payment services.
How can I protect myself?
Preventing this kind of crime is not easy but not impossible either. One of the most popular tips is to inquire about on the web ed buy from the most accredited platforms e known. If you are still unsure, you can contact the policewhich will be ready to provide citizen support regarding online counterfeiting through telephone consultations.
Another tip to protect yourself is to check carefully the products of advertisements and sellers on online marketplaces.
Online counterfeiting: how does Amazon behave?
As you can imagine, Amazon has zero tolerance for counterfeiting. In fact, since 2020 the company has invested approx 600 million euros in this field and employs over 10 thousand employees for the fight against counterfeiting and abuse.
Amazon’s system is based on three main pillars:
- Adoption of control systems proactive e estimates – very important because it is necessary to prevent the counterfeiter from entering the store;
- Make available to businesses system that allow to control and monitor the phenomenon of counterfeiting;
- Cooperation between the public and private sectors.
Through this system, in 2020 the company prevented around 6 million viewers to enter the store. Amazon also makes use of technological solutions to protect brands: one of the most important is Trasparency. It is a system that allows businesses to uniquely identify each product (through a code) so that both Amazon and the customer can understand if the product is authentic o less.
Also in 2020 the company also created a unit of counterfeiting crimes, with the aim of identifying counterfeiters, reporting them and closing their businesses once and for all. However, Amazon does not do all this alone; as point three says, it is necessary to collaborate with the brand owners.
In the United States, for example, the Amazon team has taken legal action with Valentino and Ferragamo. This aspect is very important as it shows how important collaboration between brand owners is.
Amazon also points out that the company acts fast. When asked, “How long does it take from the moment the counterfeiter is identified and the moment it stops?” The company explained that when Amazon receives a report, it immediately picks up the product.
Then the investigations start, often in collaboration with the police, to understand if it is a product only o something bigger. In case it is a serial seller selling counterfeit products, the company will remove the seller as well as the product.
Amazon is satisfied with the results but is still convinced that the phenomenon of online counterfeiting it will continue to increase and expand. For this you need a strong commitment from everyone; we are faced with an integrated and complex phenomenon which requires a common commitment.
For more information about the FATA projectyou can consult the official site.