Fake luxury goods are sold all over the internet.
Spam advertising such goods can come in the form of an email or a message on some kind of instant messaging system, like WhatsApp.
One computer science professor at New York University, Damon McCoy, followed those messages down a rabbit hole to see where they – and 300 purchases he made – would lead.
He ended up at three massive Chinese government-owned banks: the Bank of China, the Bank of Communications, and the Agricultural Bank of China.
According to McCoy’s findings, which were written up in the MIT Technology Review, those three banks controlled 97% of the payments for the 300 purchases. McCoy presented his findings at the Enigma cybersecurity conference last month.
McCoy collaborated with a Florida attorney and four unnamed luxury brands to do an 18-month investigation tracking the source of fake-goods spam and identifying how payments to the spammers were processed.
Some purchases were traced back to the Korea Exchange Bank. But after Visa complained to the bank, activities stopped.
Not the Chinese banks, though. They would seem to be taking action after Visa complained, but then counterfeiters would just get new accounts.
The thing is, luxury brands are already suing these banks. The Bank of China had to turn a bunch of customer records over to Gucci and others last month. It just seems as if they do not care.
For more on the study head to MIT>>
You can also read McCoy’s full presentation here>>