Investigation, online + offline
For one of the clients (automotive products), in addition to fulfilling offline goals (i.e. visiting sales outlets, markets, warehouses and initiating raids for the seizure of counterfeit products), Vlasta-Consulting also worked online (finding ads and sites with technical specifications violations, their subsequent closure).
Challenge / Opportunity
As part of the online program, an ad was found selling questionable products at extremely low prices. Instead of automatically sending a link for take-down, it was decided to conduct an informational investigation, since there were grounds for a potential investigation (the phone number indicated in the ad was also found on a number of other online resources).
An initial informational investigation revealed the following:
  1. A group was discovered on social media, Vkontakte, which was dedicated to offering dubious products
  2. Profiles of group administrators were identified in the group, and they were identified
  3. There were photos in the group posted by these administrators, showing storage rooms with pallets of target products
  4. One of the photos revealed a car of one of the participants loaded with products. The car registration number was also visible in the photo, which helped identify one of the administrators
  5. In a detailed study of the photos of the finished products presented in the group in the warehouse, it was found that one of them had geo-tags. By coordinates, it was possible to establish the actual address of the warehouse.
All collected information was transferred to work offline. Our experts established contact with the violators, and thanks to the knowledge of the address of the warehouse of the sellers, it was possible to coordinate the purchase with them directly. The counterfeiting of the products offered was confirmed, as well as the availability of the wholesale quantity of counterfeit products in the warehouse of violators.
Based on the success of our investigation, Vlasta-Consulting initiated a police raid at the identified address.
As a result, a significant amount of counterfeit goods was seized, and when analyzing the documents received as part of the raid, a connection was established between these violators and the production of counterfeiting, which was also investigated. This allowed to significantly accelerate the implementation of the police to curb production (the raid at the identified warehouse served in the materials of the production case as the sale of counterfeit products to the final consumer).
Thus, achieving the goal, which initially was a simple online offer to sell, resulted in a large-scale police action in the warehouses of violators. This also played a significant role in another matter: curbing illegal proceedings by bringing the organizers to criminal liability.
At the same time, in the absence of an analytical component in the online program, the investigation would not have been possible and the result of the case would have been a simple closure of one of the many ads on the Internet.