The HP Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud (ACF) team said it confiscated over 4.5 million fraudulent print products, parts, and components, including large numbers of ink and toner cartridges.
Glenn Jones, Head of HP’s Global Anti-Counterfeiting Programme, said on Thursday, in a statement that the confiscation followed raids across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
Jones said the seizures took place between November 2019 and October 2020, during a year in which COVID-19 created extraordinary challenges in the battle against fake print supplies around the world.
He said that between government shutdowns, labour shortages and changes in custom control priorities, criminal networks had adjusted their strategies to take advantage of the evolving landscape.
Jones, said the successes by HP’s Anti-Counterfeiting and Fraud team in EMEA included, seizing one million illegitimate print supplies and delisting over 135,000 online offers in the region.
He said it also stopped the potential sale of 54,000 counterfeit toner and ink cartridges in Nigeria, the largest seizure in EMEA in 2020, issuing over 500 ACF guidance kits to help HP staff, partners and customers combat fakes.
He said the company’s evolving track and trace technologies to fight against sales of illicit print supplies Toner cartridges, continued to be the highest counterfeit item, accounting for over 75 per cent of the seizure.
According to him, 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.
‘’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 continued to receive authentic HP print supply products.,’’ he said.
He added that 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.
Jones said the online marketplace was already becoming increasingly more important with restrictions on physical retail locations, due to the pandemic, more people were turning to buying and selling online.
He said including bad actors who could hide behind the veil of secrecy that the Internet provided, now more than ever, technology played 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, Jones said.
He said that as pandemic restrictions were lifted and employees returned to the office, IT decision makers must remain vigilant and wary of cheap office products flooding the market that could be fakes.
Jones said that there must be a shared responsibility between brands, service providers and e-commerce platforms, to ensure that the products being sold were legitimate.
According to him, by working closely with our channel partners and distributors, we can reduce the instances of counterfeit products reaching the customer.
Jones said that counterfeiting remained a crime, for users, such illegal imitations could cause a multitude of problems that could result in performance and reliability issues.
He said that should a printer break because of using counterfeit printer ink or toner, the manufacturer’s warranty might become invalid, while in contrast, original HP products were designed to meet HP’s strict quality and reliability standards, based on a long history of innovation, research and testing.
Similarly, original HP LaserJet and HP inkjet cartridges, unlike counterfeits, benefit from outstanding performance and consistent results, he further said.