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Counterfeiting on the Internet: A Growing Menace

While some trade on the "black market" or though in-person settings has always existed, the Internet has become the major facilitator of the trade in counterfeit goods. This is because it allows counterfeiters to directly reach consumers instead of having to work through complicit retail middlemen. The counterfeiters often work from countries where brands have limited ability to enforce their trademarks.

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When most of us hear the word “counterfeit,” we think of a group of criminals in a poorly-lit warehouse surrounding a printing press, with fake U.S. dollars drying on a line behind them. Estimates in the last five years place the amount of counterfeit U.S. dollars circulating in the $250 million to $500 million range.

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