A Study of Illicit Trade and Counterfeit Online: Recommendations for future action

A Study of Illicit Trade and Counterfeit Online: Recommendations for future action

The increase of e-commerce sites and the ease in which users can access the internet has resulted in increasing volumes of E-crime particularly the sale of illicit and counterfeited items.

An article published by National Trading Standards earlier this year reported that ‘over 4,000 infringing images were removed from Facebook’, highlighting the size of the issue on one social media platform alone. Websites selling counterfeit items and dealing in illegal trading are finding ways to bypass consumer protection laws, are damaging the reputation of respectable companies and business with resultant economic impacts and undoubted links to Serious Organised Crime.

This study was commissioned to examine the breadth of online illicit trade and counterfeit items on websites and social media pop ups. The research revealed a number of concerns across the various sites investigated from suspicious payment methods to the blatant use of misleading information designed to draw in the buyer. The sheer breadth of the problem and the apparent lack of effective action is a cause for great concern. This report outlines a series of recommendations which range from the role of Government in engaging online service providers to public facing campaigns to ensure consumers are better protected when browsing online. These recommendations should be adopted as a matter of urgency in order to challenge the burgeoning online illicit market.

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