- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Would-be Cyber Monday sales were busted up by the tens of thousands as the result of a multinational law enforcement effort that allowed authorities to quash 37,479 websites suspected of illegally selling counterfeit goods ahead of one of the holiday season’s biggest shopping days, officials said this week.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division revealed on Monday that an operation carried out alongside Europol, Interpol and law enforcement agencies from 26 other countries successfully stopped thousands of online retailers from selling bootleg merchandise.

While this year’s wave of stings marked the sixth consecutive iteration of the coalition’s In Our Sites campaign, or IOS, seven countries including Thailand, China and Argentina participated in 2015 for the first time ever.

“This effort highlights the global commitment to take aggressive action against online piracy,” Bruce Foucart, the director of ICE’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, said in a statement. “The IPR Center will continue to collaborate with international law enforcement and industry to protect consumers from purchasing counterfeit goods online, which could expose sensitive financial information and present a health and safety threat.”

Working with an unprecedented coalition of international partners, the law enforcement groups used criminal and civil action alike to successfully seize domain names suspected of selling counterfeit products ahead of Cyber Monday, the annual online shopping day that had been expected to net $3 billion in sales in 2015.



Websites offering too-good-to-be-true deals on luxury goods, sportswear, electronics, pharmaceuticals and toiletries were all seized after authorities determined that they had been attempting to push counterfeit products, Europol said in a statement.

“Cooperation with private industry remains crucial and is key to monitoring and reporting IP-infringing websites to the concerned countries via Europol, to ultimately make the internet a safer place for consumers,” the organization added.

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