The sharp rise of UK e-crime

News that e-crime accounts for 37% of all retail crime, reflects the changing nature of the threats that today’s retailers are facing. As brands struggle to compete on the high street and leverage the online power channels to target customers as part of a multichannel approach, cyber criminals are also following the move online.

Today’s brands are at risk of a growing range of threats which include phishing attacks, brand abuse and domain name hijacking. However, the threat of most concern to retailers is that of counterfeit and pirate goods.

One in six products sold today are counterfeits. In the UK alone it is an industry worth £25 billion whilst globally it accounts for £225 billion in international trade.

Today’s cybercriminals are clever and the black-market goods market continues to grow as the fake websites look more realistic, and the offers are made to be more enticing. It’s not just the final consumer products that are attracting the attention of counterfeiters – there is another growing industry that could have massive financial consequences for some of the high street’s biggest names.

Type “fake receipts” into a search engine and you will discover thousands of websites offering such a service, driven by the technological advances of scanning and printing, which has enabled criminals to produce perfect imitations of valid receipts.

The very size of the internet and its global nature makes it a vast vacuum with no government or regulator able to truly impose their authority.

Ultimately, as with all threats facing retailers online, awareness is key. Businesses need to actively monitor and take action against those selling fake products online so that customers are protected, brand reputations are safeguarded and online sales are maximised. The quicker brands move to combat these threats, the bigger their competitive advantage will be in the world of online retail.

Author: Simon Jackson, chief commercial officer at NetNames.

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