37,000 websites selling counterfeit goods taken down in global effort

Disguise. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

More than 37,000 websites, which were selling counterfeit goods, have been closed down in an effort by global law enforcement.

Operated at the time of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday online shopping extravaganzas, the effort was led by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which partnered with industry and law-enforcement agencies from 27 countries across the world, including Europol and Interpol, to take action against the sites.

A total of 37,479 sites were shut down by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), and marks the sixth year of the international effort.

IPR Center director Bruce Foucart said the effort highlights the global commitment to take aggressive action against online piracy.

Foucart said he believed collaboration between international law enforcement and industry was essential to protect consumers from purchasing counterfeit goods online.

Among the most popular counterfeit items sold each year include designer headphones, sports clothing, toiletries, shoes, toys, luxury goods, mobile phones and electronics, and they’re often priced lower than the genuine items.

We spoke about why you shouldn’t buy counterfeit goods in our recent Black Friday article.

Although it’s tempting to believe offers for items priced well below retail, there are number of reasons for concern, not least the threat of data theft and credit card fraud, but also the reality that by buying dodgy items you will likely end up with a bad quality product.

Counterfeit goods are also illegal, so remember that by buying from a counterfeit website, you are funding criminal activities.

Image of disguise courtesy of Shutterstock.