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Nearly 200 websites touting counterfeit goods seized by law enforcers

Europol, City of London Police and US law enforcers lead charge against websites selling counterfeit goods.

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Nearly 200 websites selling counterfeit merchandise online have been seized in an international swoop by Europol, the City of London Police and US law enforcers.

A total of 188 domain names were seized last week, as part of a collective clampdown dubbed "In Our Sites (IOS) Transatlantic 4".

This brings the total number of domain names seized under the project to 1349 since it began in November 2012.

The project's aim is to close down website that dupe people into unwittingly buying counterfeit goods, including headphones, sports clothing, designer shoes, toys, luxury goods and electronics.

The operation has been co-ordinated by Europol, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.

They were prompted to take action after being tipped-off by the copyright holders about the activities of the copyright-infringing websites.

Anyone who attempts to access the seized websites will now be greeted by a message that notifies them about unlawfulness of copyright infringement.

Rob Stirling, detective inspector of PIPCU, said City of London was pleased with its ability to help out other overseas crime-fighting bodies with tackling the online sale of counterfeit goods

"It is important that we make sure the public is aware of the risks of buying counterfeits; not only are fake goods likely to be shoddy copies of the original and potentially dangerous, but consumers are also putting their personal and financial information at risk," said Stirling.

"Consumers need to be cautious when shopping online. If you think an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Do not rush and be fooled into thinking you are getting a good deal."

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