eye! Valentine’s gifts may not be what they seem

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Brand perfumes are the most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day, on February 14. On the eve of this holiday, experts from the Brand Protection Group-IB intellectual property protection service have revealed that some 6,000 websites are selling fake perfumes.

The specialists detected that about 3,000 accounts in social networks and about 35 mobile applications are dedicated to similar criminal practices. These merchants are posing as partners of famous brands so that their online stores gain popularity in the network, attracting as much traffic as possible.
In addition, perfume and cosmetic brands cooperate very often with beauty bloggers. This business allows them to attract a considerable audience in social networks, comparable to that obtained by promoting their products in the media. For this same reason, criminals also explore the same distribution channels. The common audience of these groups exceeds l2 million people only in Russia, which represents a serious risk to the reputation of the main perfume giants.
Brand Protection Group-IB analysts estimated that illegal distributors caused damages worth 1.020 million dollars to the five most famous perfume brands. However, the damage suffered by each brand varied between 58 and 354 million dollars. The researchers did not specify the names of these manufacturers.

“While some of them compete with each other creating new aromas and responding with their reputation for the quality of their products, criminals make a living parasitizing on account of their brands and their popularity,” highlighted AndrĂ©i Busargin, department head of the Group-IB company, specializing in computer security and protection against cyber threats.

In turn, the company Euromonitor International, which is the world leader in global strategic information, stressed that Russia is attributed only 2% of the global cosmetic and perfume market.

Group-IB experts also warn that perfume stores of doubtful origin can not only sell counterfeit cosmetics and perfumes. They are also able to put in our mobile devices with computer viruses. After penetrating smartphones or laptops, their malware sends users’ personal data to computer criminals, including bank card data.

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