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Amazon Forms Special Team to Take Out the Fakes

Adriana Lee

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Days after Amazon joined forces with Valentino to take a knock-off business to court, the e-tail giant announced Wednesday that it’s forming a special team to go after more fakers.

The global Counterfeit Crimes Unit — made up of former federal prosecutors, investigators and data analysts — is tasked with sniffing out sketchy listings and bringing the fraudsters who violate the law to justice, Amazon said.

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“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,” Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president, customer trust and partner support, said in prepared remarks.

The swelling ranks of fraudsters peddling imposters and look-alikes in its marketplace has become impossible to ignore, particularly for the e-commerce company. Last year, it spent more than $500 million and dedicated 8,000 employees to fighting fraud, which includes counterfeiting.

Amazon claims that its proactive measures ensured 99.9 percent of its posted products had no valid counterfeit complaints against them.

While the CCU will zero in on suspected perpetrators who have actively sought to evade Amazon’s systems and policies, the company’s main goal is to stop counterfeits from being listed in the first place. According to its numbers, Amazon sniffed out more than 6 billion suspicious listings last year and blocked more than 2.5 million bad actor accounts before they could list a single product.

Now the CCU will pick up the mantle, zeroing in on bad actors through a mix of data mining the web site and pulling information from payment providers and others. The work will help Amazon pursue civil litigation, and the company intends to keep working with brands on investigations and help global law enforcement.