Police Seize 328 Sites Flogging Counterfeit Goods

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Europol and its US partners hit websites selling dodgy gear

Europol and US authorities have taken down 328 domains illegally selling counterfeit goods, copies of merchandise made by American companies.

Two operations, one in the US, the other across European nations including the UK, seized domains and identified PayPal accounts used by a number of the infringing websites, which had processed over $30,000 of transactions.

Visitors to the seized sites will now see the following message:

Seized website

Counterfeit goods crackdown

The City of London Police led the investigation in the UK. Other Europol member states took part, including Bulgaria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain.

“It is important to stop the sale of counterfeit products over the internet as it undermines legitimate businesses and also often causes health and safety risks to consumers,” said Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.

“This successful transatlantic operation sends an important message to the criminals showing them that they cannot hide despite the fact that they are operating via the internet.”

Europol has claimed a number of successes in the war on counterfeit goods and fraud this year. In March, it announced 44 arrests as part of an investigation into a massive credit card fraud network, much of which was based in the UK.

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