Federal Agents Shut Down Scores of Counterfeit Websites

Counterfeit Watches Seized in 2009 by the Gresham, Oregon Police Department

by John Sealander  

Counterfeit Watches have been a Problem for Centuries
But Now They’re Being Sold through Counterfeit Websites

Forgeries of fine watches have been a serious problem since the eighteenth century, when German watchmakers started producing watches falsely signed with the names of well-known English makers such as George Graham and Eardley Norton. In the nineteenth century, renowned names like Breguet became popular targets for forgers. Today, the problem is worldwide, with an estimated 40 million counterfeit watches coming on the market each year.

What many people may not realize is that one of the most popular ways of selling counterfeit watches today is through the use of counterfeit websites. Some of these fake websites so closely resemble the official websites of famous brands that it is virtually impossible for even the most discerning customer to tell the difference. To make the problem even worse, the replicas being sold on these websites have become so realistic that they are being sold for the full retail price. Customers sometimes don’t even know they have bought a fake until it is time to send their watch in for servicing.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has become increasingly concerned about the growing problem of counterfeit websites. Recently, Federal agents seized and shut down 70 websites that were illegally selling sophisticated counterfeit merchandise, including popular luxury watches. Some of the websites seized in this sting were so sophisticated that they even used SSL certificates, which are generally used to safeguard financial information.

According to watch industry insider and Gevril Group founder Samuel Friedmann, “We must do more to fight this threat. Counterfeit websites should be reported to authorities, and buyers should be vigilant when purchasing a fine timepiece online.

“Make sure you know who you’re buying from,” says Friedmann. “While there are many reputable online retailers, it’s still very important to be careful. The more desirable the timepiece, the more it will be copied.”

The 70 domain names recently seized by Federal agents bring the total number of Internet domains seized by the ICE in the last two years to 837. With a problem of this magnitude, perhaps the safest way to buy a fine timepiece is to go to a trusted quality jeweler or watch store. To view Gevril Group’s list of authorized fine watch dealers, visit the company’s Where to Buy web page. This page is not a fake! It’s simply the best way to find an authorized watch dealer in your area.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

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