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Police team up with NFL to warn about counterfeit goods

By maximising intelligence sharing and working partnerships, including welcoming a secondee from the New York District Attorney’s office, the unit is better able to tackle the issue of counterfeiting head on, so that no supporter feels the disappointment of purchasing a product only to discover that it's not genuine.

Identity crime from buying fakes

The unit warns ‘there’s more at stake when it’s a fake’ and that when buying counterfeit items online, including NFL merchandise, people will part with personal details such as their address and financial information. This allows fraudsters to set up new websites selling counterfeit goods in their name.

As the NFL fan base has grown in the UK over recent years, counterfeiters are using this as an opportunity to benefit from the NFL’s distinctive products and designs. The NFL has seen instances of ID theft taking place as a result of people purchasing counterfeit products in the USA and are keen to prevent this type of offending here in the UK.

Detective Inspector Nicholas Court, of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said:

“We know that sportswear and memorabilia are some of the most counterfeited products online, which highlights the huge consumer appetite for these goods.

“It is vital that we have a solid partnership with the American football industry as we strive to identify and disrupt fake websites.

“So far we have overseen more than 28,000 takedowns of websites selling counterfeit goods, a number of which have had NFL branded items listed. In doing so we have prevented thousands of consumers from becoming victims, duped into handing over their personal and payment details to criminals who often commit further crime through identity theft.”

Counterfeit websites closed down

Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs at the NFL, Anastasia Danias, said:

“We are grateful for the efforts of PIPCU and other local law enforcement agencies, who share our goal of protecting our UK fans from unscrupulous vendors who are seeking to illegally profit from fans’ enthusiasm for the game.

“PIPCU’s investigations and website takedowns will safeguard consumers who otherwise would have visited those websites offering counterfeit merchandise, leaving them with substandard goods and their personal and financial information vulnerable to theft. We encourage everyone to protect themselves by shopping through reputable and trusted online retailers.”

Since 2014, more than 28,000 websites selling counterfeits have been shut down and many of these were found to be selling counterfeit NFL merchandise. Out of the 28,000 websites taken down, there were over 4,000 websites selling counterfeits registered using stolen identities of the UK public. Nearly 400 individuals are believed to have had their identity stolen and used in setting up criminal websites.

The campaign has launched as PIPCU and the National Football League (NFL) have come together in the fight against counterfeiting.

 


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