Crackdown on fake goods sold through social mediaCriminals exploit Facebook to sell dangerous fakes

25 June 2015


Thousands of Facebook listings have been taken down and dangerous goods seized in a crackdown on social media counterfeiting and piracy.

Operation Jasper saw officers from the National Trading Standards eCrime Team raid 12 locations over the last few weeks 

The operation was the largest of its kind ever seen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to combat piracy on social media.

Currently there are 22 ongoing investigations against criminals who have used social media channels to sell dangerous and counterfeit goods and commit copyright theft.

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Social scam goods

Officers have reported taking down 4,300 Facebook listings and 20 profiles, issued more than 200 warning letters and delivered 24 cease and desist letters to the homes of suspected Facebook sellers.

Among the dangerous or toxic goods seized were Android TV boxes with unsafe mains chargers and several hundred counterfeit Cinderella dolls containing high levels of toxic phthalates.

Two residential properties in Worcester contained a host of counterfeit packaged computers, tablets, mobile phones, T-shirts, tracksuits and trainers, Trading Standards said.

A raid on a residential premises in the West Midlands led to the discovery and seizure of a small manufacturing plant making counterfeit T-shirts.

Counterfeits pose danger to consumers

Business minister Nick Boles said: ‘Counterfeiting and piracy of trademarked and copyrighted materials harms legitimate businesses, threatens jobs and poses a real danger to consumers.

‘That's why we are taking strong action to stop these criminals through the government's funding of the National Trading Standards e-Crime Team.'

Important blow against criminals

National Trading Standards chairman Lord Toby Harris said: ‘Operation Jasper has struck an important psychological blow against criminals who believe they can operate with impunity on social media platforms without getting caught.

‘It shows we can track them down, enter their homes, seize their goods and computers and arrest and prosecute them, even if they are operating anonymously online.’

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