Alastair Gray: How fake handbags fund terrorism and organized crime
Tommy Hilfiger's Alastair Gray polices the internet in search of counterfeits, rip-offs and brand abuse. Full bio
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from central London on the Tube
in the east of the city
2,000 luxury polo shirts for sale.
just like the cliche scene
and he was waiting for me
with four padlocks down the side.
Did I have a business card?
going to arrive?
to get what I needed
to become suspicious,
is that I'm a counterfeit investigator,
of checking over the product
of counterfeit production --
or how the packaging
stamped all over the front of it --
on walking down to the street with me
is always the same:
if they've actually bought your story,
to see who you really are.
when you turn the first corner
and they're not standing there.
polo shirt seller certainly didn't realize
would result in a dawn raid on his house,
by eight men on his doorstep
that he was just a pawn
spanning three continents,
that I'd started to pull on
is a victimless crime?
they make enough money,
of advertising, right?
is not that big a deal.
that that is just not true.
about those fake handbags
have been stitched together
away from her family,
owner doesn't realize
of an organized crime gang
are horrible to think about,
is even funding terrorism.
to fund attacks,
that try to make victims of all of us.
that it would sting you on the way home,
would enable someone to buy bullets
innocent people six months later?
clinging on to it a bit --
while on holiday in the Canary Islands.
maybe you didn't think twice about it,
and some international travel."
my first of many aliases,
I've investigated fake car parts,
the counterfeiter's favorite,
clothing and shoes.
of investigating fakes
to scratch the surface,
that are making money from them,
on a massive, massive scale.
around a hundred to 200 percent
selling fakes online
risks or penalties.
the more serious types of crime,
to making these organizations,
look more legitimate.
a series of raids took place
counterfeit clothing products were seized,
to take that all away.
of creating their own fashion brands,
on yachts in Italy.
unheard-of and unsuspicious brand names
container loads of fakes
that they'd set up across Europe.
would literally have no idea
in the first place.
to just one bank account,
in less than two years,
to get their stock back.
where all that money went,
to benefit the likes of you or me.
low-level street thugs.
and they fly first class.
and Amazon accounts
they've already sold fakes to.
automotive trade shows
and the Bentleys and the flashing lights,
if you ask them the right questions.
faulty fake car parts
over 36,000 fatalities,
a 2.3-trillion-dollar underground economy,
with that kind of money,
trips to training camps,
or the ingredients for explosives.
of Said and Cherif Kouachi,
on a terror watch list for three years.
picking up that Cherif was buying
a low-level petty crime.
of Charlie Hebdo magazine
of those fakes.
a faraway problem happening in China.
191 people lost their lives
by the sale of pirate music CDs in the US.
an Al Qaeda training manual
connecting terrorism and counterfeiting,
increasing the demand
there's even a store in Turkey
with photographs on TripAdvisor,
have gone into a store
that we're completely helpless
about the next attack,
is to cut their funding,
that it's a victimless crime.
from one investigator to another
online counterfeiter's website.
or camera lenses, say,
expired domain names
the old website's Google page ranking.
that everything is 100 percent genuine,
off the latest collection?
it's that much of a joke.
or a padlock symbol next to the URL,
about closing the tab,
active security measures
and credit card information safe.
email address, postal address --
to go back to Google
all over again,
so that's only a good thing.
fictional detective would say,
deeper, and ask yourself --
the cash or click "Buy,"
the next attack one day closer.
an Instagram advert for fakes,
on the dark forces of counterfeiting
ABOUT THE SPEAKERAlastair Gray - Brand protection manager
Tommy Hilfiger's Alastair Gray polices the internet in search of counterfeits, rip-offs and brand abuse.
Why you should listen
Alastair Gray is a brand protection manager responsible for policing the internet for counterfeits, rip-offs and brand abuse.
Before joining Tommy Hilfiger, Alastair spent ten years as an investigator solving cases and crises for people, businesses and brands. His work has included undercover and surveillance operations together with investigations into intellectual property theft and infringements, whistleblowing, cybercrime and fraud incidents and even stolen antiques. A self-confessed buyer of fakes in his pre-career days, he wants to spread the word on the often overlooked opportunities which fakes give to organised criminal gangs and even terrorists. Alastair graduated from the University of Durham with a Bachelor’s in Combined Arts (History, English and Politics) and has been trained in advanced open-source intelligence gathering.
Alastair Gray | Speaker | TED.com