As e-commerce got a further boost from the pandemic and months-long lockdowns in several countries, Amazon has stepped up its brand protection strategy in a bid to uphold its reputation as a dependable online marketplace amid growing numbers of counterfeiters and scammers attempting to sell products to home-bound consumers.

The e-commerce giant said that last year it blocked more than 10 billion suspected listings before they were published, up about 67 percent from the year before, and seized more than 2 million counterfeit products before they were sent to customers and destroyed them.

The numbers were listed in the retailer’s 2020 Brand Protection Report released earlier this week, its first report on anti-counterfeiting efforts since it announced new tools and technologies in 2019, amid growing pressure from customers, brands and lawmakers for a crackdown on counterfeits. According to a statement from Amazon, the document “is the first report in which we provide a holistic view of our anti-counterfeiting efforts”.

In 2020, the Seattle-based retailer invested more than $700 million and employed more than 10,000 people to protect its stores from fraud and abuse, the report said.

Verification processes prevented over 6 million attempts to create selling accounts, stopping scammers before they published products for sale. Only 6 percent of attempted seller account registrations passed Amazon’s verification processes and listed products for sale, the company said, while fewer than 0.01 percent of all products sold on Amazon received a counterfeit complaint from customers.

Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting approach, as outlined in the report, includes a mix of tools such as proactive controls based on a combination of advanced machine learning capabilities and expert human investigators, as well as transparency and intellectual property tools for brands, based on technology developed by Amazon.

In addition, Amazon established its Counterfeit Crimes Unit “to build and refer cases to law enforcement, undertake independent investigations or joint investigations with brands, and pursue civil litigation against counterfeiters.”

Earlier this year, Amazon and Italian fashion brand Salvatore Ferragamo filed two joint lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against four people accused of counterfeiting Ferragamo’s products.

In June 2020, the retailer jointly filed a lawsuit with Italian luxury brand Valentino against a U.S.-based company for copying one of the brand’s famous shoe style and selling counterfeit products on Amazon.

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