UK police take down 90 websites selling fake goods

Cross-party effort sees sites selling counterfeit goods shutdown in pre-Christmas blitz.

The City of London Police has shut down 90 websites as part of a worldwide crackdown on the sale of counterfeit goods.

The operation was a collaboration between the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), Europol and the US authorities, and has led to the suspension of hundreds of websites selling counterfeit merchandise to unsuspecting consumers.

The police confirmed that 690 domains had been closed in total as part of the "In Our Sites - Transatlantic 3" operation.

The 90 websites we have suspended sends a clear warning out to anyone else who thinks they can sell counterfeit goods on the internet with little fear of ever being stopped.

"PIPCU is proud to be a part of this cross-party worldwide operation, which is committed to combating online intellectual property crime," said PIPCU superintendent Bob Wishart.

"The 90 websites we have suspended sends a clear warning out to anyone else who thinks they can sell counterfeit goods on the internet with little fear of ever being stopped."

PIPCU, representing the UK for Europol, suspended 90 domains, with Europol Member States, Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Romania and Spain suspending a further 303. The US ICE IPR Center accounted for 297 domain name seizures in the US.

The City of London Police said the websites involved were selling goods including headphones, sports clothing, personal care products, shoes, toys, luxury goods, mobile phones and electronic accessories.

Visitors to the seized domains will now see a seizure notification instead of the usual home page.

"Working with our international partners on operations like this shows the true global impact of (intellectual property) crime," said John Sandweg, acting director of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"Counterfeiters take advantage of the holiday spirit of shoppers around the world and sell cheap fakes to unsuspecting consumers everywhere. Consumers need to protect themselves, their families, and their personal financial information from the criminal networks operating these bogus sites," he added.

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