It’s getting hard to sell fakes and counterfeits on Amazon, so much so that fraudsters are using so called Amazon hidden links to flog their wares.
Now first up it’s worth pointing out that some consumers actually want to buy fakes – they can’t afford the real thing but they’d love a lookalike knock off to flaunt their supposed wealth. These customers were baited with side-by-side photos of a generic, non-branded product and a luxury counterfeit product with the text, “Order this/Get this.” The counterfeiters were pretty brazen telling potential buyers exactly why they were acting in such a weird manner:
“What is a hidden link? This saddle bag is from our hidden links on Ama*zon? What does that mean? You order a certain product that looks nothing like our designer dupe in order to hide the item from getting taken down and orders cancelled.”
Of the 13 defendants, the lawsuit alleges that Kelly Fitzpatrick and Sabrina Kelly-Krejci conspired with sellers to evade Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting protections by promoting counterfeit products on Instagram and TikTok as well as their own websites. Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci posted side-by-side photos of a generic, non-branded product and a luxury counterfeit product with the text, “Order this/Get this” Amazon hidden links.
“Order this” referred to a generic product falsely advertised on Amazon, and “Get this” referred to the counterfeit luxury product. By posting only generic products on Amazon, Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci – and the sellers they coordinated with – attempted to evade Amazon’s anti-counterfeit protections while using social media to promote the true nature of these counterfeit products. Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci also posted numerous videos describing the alleged high quality of the counterfeits they promoted.
“These defendants were brazen about promoting counterfeits on social media and undermined the work of legitimate influencers. This case demonstrates the need for cross-industry collaboration in order to drive counterfeiters out of business. Amazon continues to invest tremendous resources to stop bad actors before they enter our store and social media sites must similarly vet, monitor, and take action on bad actors that are using their services to facilitate illegal behavior.”
– Cristina Posa, Associate General Counsel and Director, Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit
As is always the case when committing crime on the Internet, your real problem is that once discovered everything you have done and everyone you’ve coordinated with is revealed. There’s no hiding from the electronic trail and, as with this case of the Amazon Hidden Links, once there’s a whiff of crime everything unravels pretty quickly and the first you’ll probably know about it is when the Feds come knocking at your door to arrest you.