U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized another 70 websites that were illegally selling counterfeit merchandise, in most cases, from abroad.
According to an ICE press release, the websites were seized as part of Project Copy Cat, an iteration of Operation In Our Sites (IOS). The websites mimicked legitimate website selling authentic merchandise and duped customers into unknowingly buying the counterfeit materials.
Many were so similar to the legitimate website that even the most discerning customer would have had difficulty telling the difference, the press release says.
Several of the sites even had false Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, which normally provide authentication for financial information, so consumers can trust that they are sending information to the intended server only.
During the operation, the press release states, undercover federal law enforcement officers made purchases of a host of products, including baby carriers, professional sports jerseys, language and fitness DVD sets, and a variety of clothing, jewelry and luxury goods. When the products arrived in the U.S., they were examined and deemed counterfeit or otherwise illegal, and seizure orders for the sites’ domain names were obtained from federal magistrate judges.
These 70 domain name seizures bring the total number of IOS domain names seized in the last two years to 839, the press release says.
The sites are now shut down, and their domain names are in the custody of the federal government. A banner on the sites states that they have been seized by federal officials.