Nearly 200 websites selling counterfeit goods online have been seized by authorities in Europe and the US, in the latest example of cross-border co-operation to fight online scams targeting consumers.
A total of 14 law enforcement agencies in eight countries – including Europol, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – worked together to take down domains that had caused misery for buyers across the world. Aside from the US, the countries involved were the UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy and Romania.
Authorities seized 188 domain names as part of the ongoing Operation In Our Sites 4 – Transatlantic, which is targeting the groups and individuals behind such online scams. Brands affected by the infringing websites tipped off the authorities.
The agencies now control the domains that were seized and have replaced the websites’ homepages with notices informing visitors that the sites had been selling illegal goods. This is the fourth time the authorities have co-ordinated in this manner, bringing the total number of domains seized to 1,349 since the work began in 2012.
This mirrors similar work being undertaken to find those behind online scams that target machines, after recent arrest warrants against hackers in Russia, China and the US, and the co-ordinated takedown of botnets spewing malware such as Gameover Zeus.