Federal Agents Shut Down More Than 100 Counterfeit Websites
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Scammers preyed on Cyber Monday shoppers. Now federal agents in Baltimore stepped in to shut down more than 100 websites selling counterfeit goods, everything from fake designer shoes to sports jerseys.
Meghan McCorkell has more on this major operation.
This was all part of an international operation to shut down counterfeit websites selling fake and sometimes dangerous products to consumers.
High-end jewelry, the latest sports jerseys, DVDs and designer shoes–and federal officials say all of it is fake.
“These websites were stealing from businesses, trademark copyright holders and the people who make the legitimate products,” said ICE Director John Morton.
One hundred and one websites selling counterfeit goods seized by the feds in what they call “Operation Cyber Monday.” Federal agents went undercover, buying items from those sites and then confirming they were fake. One of their buys was counterfeit baby carriers.
“This is a purchase that expectant parents should not have to worry about,” Morton said.
Cyber security expert Gary Buclous says counterfeit criminals are all over the web.
“It’s so easy these days. You can actually copy people’s logos right off the website and post them on your website,” Buclous said.
He says consumers searching for Cyber Monday deals need to be on alert.
One safety measure: before you ever type your credit card information onto a website, make sure it says “https” at the top.
“This way you know it’s a secure website; it’s a legitimate account,” Buclous said.
The 101 seized websites are now offline and a warning message is in their place as the feds continue to wage war on counterfeiters.
More than $175,000 were found in PayPal accounts linked to those counterfeit websites. The feds are now working to seize that money.
This is the third year in a row that federal officials have taken down counterfeit websites on Cyber Monday. In that time, they have seized more than 1,600 domain names.