Amazon and Alibaba team up with US law enforcement to tackle sharp rise in COVID-19 fraud

Amazon and Alibaba have both partnered with law enforcement agencies to help tackle the rise in coronavirus-related ecommerce fraud.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has joined forces with the world’s two largest ecommerce companies for a new public-private partnership aimed at combatting a worrying rise in criminals who are attempting to profit from the pandemic.

Alongside the HIS’ National Intellectual Property Right Coordination Centre (IPR Centre) investigators, the brands are working to investigate and prosecute those selling counterfeit pharmaceutical and PPE equipment, alongside items making false claims about their medical efficacy.

US security forces launched “Operation Stolen Promise” in April, which has now seen 315 nationwide investigations take place, $3.2 million in illicit proceeds confiscated and 11 arrests made.

READ MORE: 471 fake COVID-19 shops shut down as “despicable” scammers capitalise on pandemic

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Amazon has proactively stopped more than 6.5 million products with inaccurate claims, removed over 1 million offers for suspected price gouging, suspended more than 10,000 selling accounts for suspected price gouging and referred the most egregious offenders to federal and state law enforcement across the country,” Amazon’s vice president of customer trust and partner support Dharmesh Mehta said.

“Amazon welcomes HSI’s partnership in holding counterfeiters and bad actors accountable, and we look forward to building on our long-standing relationship to protect customers and ensure a trusted shopping experience.”

Alibaba Group’s president Michael Evans added: “Consumer health and safety is Alibaba’s top priority. We will continue to enforce a zero-tolerance policy against those engaged in illicit activity, especially with respect to products and services related to COVID-19”.

“We are proud to be part of this important collaboration and value our long-standing partnership with the Department of Homeland Security.”

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