The HP Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud (ACF) team said it has confiscated over 4.5 million fraudulent print products, parts and components – including large numbers of ink and toner cartridges - in raids across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
According to a statement from HP, the seizures took place between November 2019 and October 2020, during a year where COVID-19 created extraordinary challenges in the battle against fake print supplies around the world.
“Between government shutdowns, labour shortages, and changes in custom control priorities, criminal networks have adjusted their strategies to take advantage of the evolving landscape. E-commerce has become intensely exploited as consumers and businesses turn to online shopping. HP’s ACF team had to quickly adapt to find new ways to protect its customers from these illicit e-traders – leading to 224,000 de-listings of counterfeit cartridges from online marketplaces,” the company stated.
It added that throughout 2020, the HP ACF team worked closely with its customers and channel partners to carry out over 1,700 Customer Delivery Inspections (CDIs) and Channel Partner Protection Audits (CPPAs) across all regions. “Conducted in a COVID-19 safe and secure way, these ensured customers continue to receive authentic HP print supply products. The team continued to train and educate partners on anti-counterfeiting through online events reaching more than 6,700 stakeholders, partners and customers from around the world,” HP added.
“The online marketplace was already becoming increasingly more important, however, with restrictions on physical retail locations due to the pandemic, more people are turning to buying and selling online – including bad actors who can hide behind the veil of secrecy that the Internet provides,” said Head of HP’s Global Anti-Counterfeiting Programme, Glenn Jones. “Now more than ever, technology plays an important role in identifying and stopping counterfeiters. From continued investments in online monitoring tools, the utilisation of big data in discovering fakes, and improvements in our track and trace technology, HP continues to innovate new ways to protect our customers.”
“As pandemic restrictions are lifted and employees return to the office, IT decision-makers must remain vigilant and wary of cheap office products flooding the market that could be fakes,” added Jones. “There must be a shared responsibility between brands, service providers, and e-commerce platforms to ensure that the products being sold are legitimate. By working closely with our channel partners and distributors, we can reduce the instances of counterfeit products reaching the customer.”