Feds crack down on Cyber Monday fraudsters

Posted by Emma Woollacott

US and European law enforcement agencies yesterday seized 132 domains that exploited Cyber Monday holiday shoppers by allegedly selling counterfeit goods.

The operation, which involved US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Europol and law enforcement agencies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the UK, was led by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.

The domain names concerned are now held by the relevant national governments, and Homeland Security Investigations is now hoping to seize the $175,000 proceeds held in their Paypal accounts.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the opportunity to work closely with HSI to shut down criminals targeting our customers and our brand just as the holiday season takes off," says Tod Cohen, vice president and deputy general counsel of Government Relations for eBay.

"PayPal and eBay Inc. pride ourselves in going above and beyond in the fight against the illegal online trafficking of counterfeit goods by partnering with law enforcement and rights owners globally, and we hope that this is fair warning to criminals that the internet is not a safe place to try and sell fake goods."

The domain names were seized as part of Project Cyber Monday 3 and Project Transatlantic. As part of the operations, law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of products including professional sports jerseys, DVD sets, clothing, jewelry and luxury goods.

It's the third year in a row that the IPR Center has targeted websites selling counterfeit products online to coincide with Cyber Monday.

"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," says ICE director John Morton. "This is not an American problem, it is a global one and it is a fight we must win."