What better way for the feds to kick off the online holiday shopping season than with the seizure of websites selling counterfeit goods. A joint operation involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the National Intellectual property Rights Coordination Center, the Justice Department and the FBI resulted in the seizure of 150 domain names selling knock-off golf equipment, sports jerseys, DVDs, handbags and more.
"For most, the holidays represent a season of good will and giving, but for these criminals, it's the season to lure in unsuspecting holiday shoppers," said ICE Director John Morton in a statement. "More and more Americans are doing their holiday shopping online, and they may not realize that purchasing counterfeit goods results in American jobs lost, American business profits stolen and American consumers receiving substandard products. And the ramifications can be even greater because the illicit profits made from these types of illegal ventures often fuel other kinds of organized crime."
Online shoppers beware: The seizures represent an 80 percent increase over the 82 websites seized during last year's Cyber Monday operation.