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Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) and the
International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) today announced an alliance to help identify and prevent the sale of counterfeit goods through the IACC Payment Processor Portal Program.
A collaborative effort between the IACC and the payment industry, the Payment Processor Portal provides a system for intellectual property rights-holders, such as manufacturers of luxury goods, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and consumer products, to report the sale of illegal counterfeit goods.
“Counterfeiting is an issue that impacts a wide variety of industries,” said Barry Koch, chief compliance officer at Western Union. “The IACC Payment Processor Portal is a powerful tool that is already making a significant impact. This alliance is one of the many ways Western Union helps support the integrity of intellectual property rights-holders.”
Once the IACC verifies a merchant claim, a third-party monitoring agent alerts affected payment processors, like Western Union, enabling them to take necessary actions. This service will assist Western Union in identifying rogue merchants who sell counterfeit materials and who encourage buyers to send payments using Western Union Money Transfer
“We are proud to have Western Union join in our efforts to disband illegal online merchants who pose a threat to both the integrity of brands and the safety of consumers,” said Bob Barchiesi, president of the IACC. “An effective way to stop the illegal trade of counterfeit goods is to disrupt the merchant’s ability to receive payment.”
According to the IACC, as e-commerce continues to grow, incidents of counterfeit and pirated goods sold online have spiked, creating an attractive environment for illegal sales and an ever-widening pool of potential customers. By 2015, the International Chamber of Commerce estimates that $1.7 trillion in counterfeit goods will have infiltrated international markets.
Online shopping carries its own set of risks and consumers should do their research before committing to a purchase. The IACC recommends the following tips to help consumers avoid purchasing counterfeit goods:
If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Indicators that a product is not what it purports to be include materials that look substandard or packaging that contains misspellings.
Consider the website where the product is being sold. If the site looks poorly maintained and customer service is not responsive, it probably is not legitimate.
Western Union has joined a number of leading global payment processors in collaboration with the IACC’s Portal Program initiative. The IACC and the program members have disabled more than 1,400 counterfeit merchants to date and nearly 6,000 websites have been reported through the IACC Portal.