Skip to main content

Amazon’s new crime unit targets fraudsters selling fake goods

Amazon has set up a new Counterfeit Crimes Unit to track down and prosecute fraudsters selling fake goods on its shopping site.

The problem of counterfeiters has troubled Amazon for years, with the e-commerce giant investing more than $500 million to fight fraud and abuses in 2019 alone.

The newly formed Counterfeit Crimes Unit aims to make it easier for Amazon to “pursue civil litigation against suspected criminals, work with brands in joint or independent investigations, and aid law enforcement officials worldwide in criminal actions against counterfeiters,” the company said in a blog post announcing its latest crack at tackling dodgy sellers.

The global team will include former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators, and data analysts. Part of its role will also be to support Amazon’s current efforts to shield its shopping site from knockoffs.

These include occasional lawsuits, as well as a brand registry, created in 2017, aimed at speeding up the removal of such listings. The company also deploys algorithms designed to automatically detect knockoffs that show up on its site, with a large team of human operators also tasked with tackling the problem.

Amazon’s sprawling shopping site contains millions of third-party sellers, a number of whom use the platform to sell cheap copies of branded products. The only winner here is of course the fraudster, as customers tempted by what seems like a bargain can be left disappointed when they realize they’ve bought a low-quality knockoff. Such knockoffs can also pose a safety risk, as Apple has pointed out in the past. Meanwhile, the makers of the genuine article have little choice but to suck it up as the fraudster continues to produce cheap copies of products they’ve invested heavily in to create.

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

While its current measures play an important role in tackling the issue, fake goods are still a major headache for Amazon. Whether its Counterfeit Crimes Unit manages to take its fight to a new level remains to be seen.

“Every counterfeiter is on notice that they will be held accountable to the maximum extent possible under the law, regardless of where they attempt to sell their counterfeits or where they’re located,” said Amazon executive Dharmesh Mehta. “We are working hard to disrupt and dismantle these criminal networks, and we applaud the law enforcement authorities who are already part of this fight.”

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Amazon goes after two firms allegedly selling fake reviews
Amazon logo on the headquarters building.

With so many fake reviews plaguing online shopping sites these days, confirming the true quality of a product is as challenging as ever.

Amazon knows all too well that fake reviews dent the integrity of its site, with a growing number of shoppers unable to trust the opinions left by others about products they're considering buying.

Read more
Amazon is spending big in an effort to ensure timely holiday deliveries
couple con amazon out of tech goods boxes

Amazon says it expects to incur “several billion dollars” of additional costs this holiday season in order to ensure customers receive their orders on time.

Andy Jassy, who replaced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as CEO of the company in July, said this week that the online shopping behemoth would be spending big to deal with “labor supply shortages, increased wage costs, global supply chain issues, and increased freight and shipping costs.” The spending is meant to ensure there is minimal impact on customers and selling partners in the coming months.

Read more
Your Mac is about to get a killer security feature
Apple MacBook Pro 16 downward view showing keyboard and speaker.

Everyone is talking about the potential security problems with Apple's recent AI push, but Apple has also announced a new security feature in macOS Sequoia that sounds incredibly handy. The feature is called "Rotate Wi-Fi Address," which increases user privacy by randomly modifying your Apple device's MAC addresses when connected to a network.

In addition to being available in Sequoia, the feature is also coming to iOS 18 and iPadOS 18.

Read more