In a global operation targeting Cyber Monday, U.S. and European authorities working together seized more than 132 website domains selling counterfeit items. Authorities working together in the project included the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), law enforcement agencies from Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France and Romania , and the Europol. The HIS seized 101 domains while the rest were seized by European authorities. The operation was coordinated by the ICE HIS-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Washington D.C.
According to the ICE, many of the sites were linked to organized crime and were selling counterfeits of branded products and were engaged into duping customers during the holiday shopping season. ICE Director John Morton said, “This operation is a great example of the tremendous cooperation between ICE and our international partners at the IPR Center … Our partnerships enable us to go after criminals who are duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world. This is not an American problem, it is a global one and it is a fight we must win.”
This is the third year in a row that the ICE has targeted and apprehended websites selling counterfeit goods on Cyber Monday, taking advantage of the huge online shopping craze. Since, ICE began watching over Cyber Monday scams in 2010, at least 1,630 websites have been seized by the authorities. Leaving out the present 101 domains seized by U.S. authorities, of the 1,529 earlier seized domains, 684 have been forfeited by the U.S. government.
In its statement, the ICE said that principally PayPal accounts linked with sites selling counterfeit items and holding more than $175,000 stand at top of their lists. The operation had full cooperation of eBay Inc., and Ted Cohen, general counsel of Government Relations for eBay Inc said “We couldn’t be more pleased with the opportunity to work closely with HIS to shut down criminals targeting our customers and our brand just as the holiday season takes off.”