Amazon's new crime division is aimed toward fraudsters who promote counterfeit items

Amazon has set up a new counterfeit crime department to track down and prosecute fraudsters who sell counterfeit goods on its shopping page.

The problem of counterfeiters has worried Amazon for years. The e-commerce giant invested more than $ 500 million in combating fraud and abuse in 2019 alone.

The newly formed counterfeiting crime division is said to make it easier for Amazon to "conduct civil lawsuits against suspected criminals, collaborate with brands in joint or independent investigations, and assist law enforcement officers worldwide in criminal acts against counterfeiters," the company said in a blog post announcing its latest Bang against dubious sellers.

The global team will consist of former federal attorneys, experienced investigators and data analysts. Part of his job will also be to support Amazon's current efforts to protect its shopping site from counterfeiting.

This includes occasional lawsuits and a trademark register created in 2017 to speed up the removal of such entries. The company also uses algorithms that automatically identify counterfeits that appear on its website. A large team of human operators also has the task of solving the problem.

Amazon's sprawling shopping site has millions of third-party vendors, some of whom use the platform to sell cheap copies of branded products. The only winner here, of course, is the scammer, since customers tempted by what appears to be a bargain can be disappointed if they find they have bought an inferior discount. Such counterfeits can also pose a security risk, as Apple has highlighted in the past. In the meantime, manufacturers of the original item have no choice but to soak it up, as the fraudster continues to produce cheap copies of products in which he has invested heavily.

And of course, such shameful practices undermine the trust that customers, sellers and brands place in Amazon's own platform and damage the reputation of the Seattle-based company.

While current measures play an important role in solving the problem, counterfeit goods are still a major headache for Amazon. It remains to be seen whether the counterfeit crime department will succeed in taking its fight to a new level.

"Every counterfeiter is cautioned that, under the law, they will be held accountable as much as possible, regardless of where they are trying to sell their counterfeits or where they are," said Dharmesh Mehta, managing director of Amazon. "We are working hard to disrupt and dismantle these criminal networks, and we welcome the law enforcement agencies that are already part of this fight."

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