EU action targets counterfeit-selling social media channels

A joint operation by Europol and EU enforcement authorities against social media sellers has seized more than 20,000 fake products and resulted in more than 100 prosecutions.

Operation Aphrodite uncovered counterfeit sports articles, medicines, mobile phones, bags, jewellery, sunglasses, clothing, watches, perfumes and cosmetics, as well as illegal IPTV set-top-boxes and pirated material.

The action targeted the online marketplace for this type of illicit trade and resulted in the closure of 1,000 accounts being used to advertise the counterfeit goods through posts showing the product and price. Payments would generally be made using Paypal or prepaid cards and the goods would be delivered by courier.

“The Internet continues to be a major facilitator of intellectual property crime as it utilises new and emerging platforms, such as social media, that have made it easier to post and share offerings for counterfeit goods and pirated content to an expanding audience,” said Europol in a statement.

The agency said it continue to “examine the scale of the problem, gather evidence and monitor social media and sales platforms.” It also said

Operation Aphrodite was run with the cooperation of Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

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