European law enforcement agency, Europol, is actively keeping an eye on online crimes such as piracy and money laundering. Recently, Europol along with 18 EU member states and the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center brought down over 30,506 website URLs for selling counterfeit and pirated products.
According to a press release by the agency, these websites were dealing with counterfeit pharmaceutical products, pirated movies, illegal television streaming, music, software, electronics, and other bogus products.
Further, they booked three alleged suspects and seized over 26,000 luxury products, 363 litres of alcoholic beverages, and other gadgets alongside. They also seized €150 000 kept in numerous bank accounts and online payment platforms.
To make the internet safe for consumers, Europol has aligned with 12 EU member states and the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. The initiative called In Our Sites (IOS) is executing a joint global operation to hunt down global crimes since 2014. Through the initiative, IOS is helping the Europen Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to solve high priority cybercrime cases, offer required training for perusing online investigations and organising the conference on Adaptive enforcement initiatives against new IP crime trends.
The IOS has also launched a social campaign called 'Don't Fake Up'. Through the campaign, the agency aims to inform citizens about the risks of buying fake products online, and help in identifying illicit websites selling counterfeit goods, as well as other means used by counterfeiters, such as fake social media accounts and fake apps.
Global Money Laundering case
Europol in association with the European Banking Federation and the law enforcement authorities from 31 countries has also cracked myriad money laundering cases between September to November 2019. The global operation has also identified 3833 money mules besides 386 kingpins, of which 228 has been taken behind bars.
Europol explained that mules helping thugs to transfer money across borders are often lured by agents. Europol explained, "Criminals increasingly recruiting money mules on online dating sites, grooming their victims' overtime to convince them to open bank accounts under the guise of sending or receiving funds."
To raise awareness, Europol has initiated another campaign called #DontbeaMule across Europe. The campaign aims to inform people about how money laundering criminals operate, and the essential steps they must take if they find themselves a victim. These awareness-raising materials will be published in 25 different languages and released across Europe.