During the holiday season, presents are bought from stores or online. But one thing rings true; everyone is after a bargain.
A joint operation conducted by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), law enforcement agencies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the UK, and the European Police Office (Europol) has seized a total of 132 websites and made one arrest, cracking down on websites selling counterfeit goods.
The infringing websites have also had their PayPal accounts identified, with over $175,000 being targeted for seizure by the HSI. With Thanksgiving leading to Black Friday, the sting was organised to coincide with ‘Cyber Monday,’ the Monday where everyone is back in the office, looking for last minute bargains for the holiday season. ICE has since said:
The websites were set up to dupe consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods during the holiday shopping season.
Products from DVDs to clothing were identified by federal law officials as counterfeit, but authenticity needed to be verified by the copyright holders. Once it was determined as being counterfeit or generally illegal, seizure orders were obtained from federal magistrate judges.
‘Operation In Our Sites’ is the federal programme that targets websites that deal with counterfeit and pirated good on the internet. The programme began on June 2010, with 1,630 sites being seized since then.