The UK's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has announced it has suspended 2,500 websites suspected of selling counterfeit goods since it launched in September 2013.
PIPCU, which works alongside designer brands and the City of London Police unit's Operation Ashiko, cracked down on such websites in December. The pages are often run by gangs, said PIPCU, and can pull in tens of millions of pounds in ill-gotten revenues.
Head of PIPCU DCI Andy Fyfe said: "The fact PIPCU can announce that in the eight months since launching we have suspended more than 2,500 infringing websites is further evidence of the expertise of our officers and the level of their commitment to clamp down on IP crime.
"Behind many of these websites lies an organised crime gang funnelling off the money spent by unsuspecting customers on what they think are quality products. Consumers also need to be aware that by accessing websites like this they are running the risk of their personal details being compromised and being used for other fraudulent scams, as well as the exposing their computer to malicious malware."
Suspended websites were selling items including jewellery, electronics and clothing. PIPCU warned that while prices are low, so is quality and the likelihood of delivery.
One victim said that a pair of UGG boots she ordered from a decent-looking site were fakes that left her £70 out of pocket.
Daniela Süss, brand protection manager at jewellery brand Thomas Sabo, said: "We are excited about the work PIPCU is doing in the UK market resulting in significant reductions of the number of fake shop domains selling counterfeit Thomas Sabo products.
"This initiative sets a massive strike against fraudulent sellers and ensures consumer protection as well as protection of the UK economy itself."
Last week cyber criminals were sentenced to a total of 24-years in prison for attempts to steal money from banks by hacking into their IT systems, as the police focus on the new methods criminals are using to steal money.
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