International operation against the sale of counterfeit goods on Internet

As part of an international operation, the Coalition coordinated by the crime against intellectual property department of Europol (IPC3) confiscated 33,654 names of domains that distribute pirate and falsified online articles.

The websites distribute different product typologies, such as falsified pharmaceutical products, pirate films, television programmes, music, programmes, electronic goods and other fake products. The joint international operation also included the Centre of Coordination of Rights to Intellectual Property in the United States and police authorities from 26 countries, including member states of the EU and third countries, all coordinated by INTERPOL.

• Countries both within the EU and beyond worked together to intervene domains that sold false products.
• Twelve suspects were arrested and accounts with an estimated value of 1 million Euros were intervened.
• The iOS operation, now in its ninth year, was the most successful edition.
The iOS operation is a continuation of a joint global recurring operation, which was launched in 2014 and which, since that time, has greatly increased year after year.

The ninth edition of this worldwide operation in 2018 saw an even larger number of associations involved in combating fake goods, representing owners and police chiefs that participated to facilitate international cooperation and provide support for countries involved in this initiative. This year’s IOS IX operation has experienced a noteworthy increase in comparison with the previous edition, in which 20,520 domain names that sold illegal goods unlawfully online were confiscated.

This is the result of the global focus of Europol to make Internet a more secure place for consumers, and encourage more countries and members of the private sector to participate in this operation and provide references.

As well as the domain names intervened, officials also arrested 12 suspects, blocked operational devices, identified and froze over 1 million Euros in several bank accounts, online payment platforms and a virtual currency bank used by organised crime groups.

Europol, in cooperation with European Union Intellectual Property Office(EUIPO), continues to improve its efforts giving successful support to many top priority investigations related to online crime, providing training related to online investigations and organising lectures about crime against intellectual property.

To continually provide awareness of this growing threat, Europol’s IPC3 launched the campaign Do not F *** (ake) Up”. The campaign informs citizens of the risks of buying fake online products and provides direct advice to help to identify illegal websites that sell counterfeit articles, as well as other means used by counterfeiters, like false social media accounts and false applications.

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