U.S. and European agencies have seized 132 domain names that were allegedly used to sell counterfeit merchandise online.
The operation on Monday was a joint effort by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), law enforcement agencies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the U.K., and the European Police Office (Europol).
It was planned to coincide with 'Cyber Monday,' the Monday after thanksgiving when people in the U.S. are expected to continue their holiday shopping online from fast Internet connections in office. The websites were set up to dupe consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods during the holiday shopping season, ICE said in a statement Monday.
U.S. officials seized 101 websites, and made one arrest, while the European side seized another 31.
The domain names seized are now in the custody of the governments involved in the operations. Visitors entering those domain names into their Web browsers will now find a banner that notifies them of the seizure, ICE said.
Officials also identified PayPal accounts utilized by the allegedly infringing websites. Proceeds received through the identified PayPal accounts of over US $175,000 are currently being targeted for seizure by investigating HSI field offices. PayPal and parent eBay are working with the HSI on the operation, according to the statement.
IDG News Service (Bangalore Bureau)