U.S. and European officials seized 132 domain names that were illegally selling counterfeit products online to unsuspecting customers at the height of holiday-shopping season.
In an operation called “Project Cyber Monday 3,” the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations seized 101 websites, and produced one arrest. The European Police Office, as well as law-enforcement agencies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the UK, retrieved the 31 other sites as part of “Project Transatlantic,” according to a release.
“Our partnerships enable us to go after criminals who are duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world,” ICE director John Morton said in a statement.
During the sting, federal law-enforcement officers made “undercover purchases” of many items, such as professional-sports jerseys, DVD sets, clothing and jewelry, the release said. If copyright holders confirmed that the purchased goods were counterfeit or illegal, authorities obtained seizure orders for the domain names, it added.
Governments involved in the operation now have custody of these names. Visitors who search for the websites will find a banner that informs them of the seizure, and provides information about copyright infringement, the release said.
Authorities also identified PayPal accounts, which had proceeds of more than $175,000, that were used by the offending sites.
Coordinated by the Washington, D.C.-based National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, this is the third year the operation has targeted websites that sell counterfeit goods to coincide with Cyber Monday.
How do you ensure safety when buying items online?
November 27, 2012