Government Crackdown Identifies Fake Merchandise Websites
DENVER (CBS4) – Retail experts say Americans will likely spend $1.6 billion on Cyber Monday 2012, a 20 percent increase with about 25 percent of the shoppers using tablets.
Those are the kinds of numbers that prompted Colorado’s cyber crime squad to take a closer look at websites to find out which ones are real and which are fake.
Kumar Kibble is the special agent in charge of the Denver office of Immigration and Customs and talked with 4 On Your Side Investigator Rick Sallinger about the crackdown which identified dozens fake sites, including one purported to be Tiffany & Co.
The ICE agent says counterfeiting products is far from harmless. “When it gets to a threshold where it can be impacting an industry and affecting American jobs, it can be a source of income for organized criminal groups that may be involved in other activities as well.”
The crackdown took 132 sites, posting messages saying the website had been seized by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations.
Kibble says the move into counterfeiting shows organized crime has gone high tech.
“We do see that diversification where you have violent organized criminal groups that diversify into counterfeiting and use textile counterfeiting as a means of drawing in revenue.”
Trafficking in counterfeit goods is a federal crime and carries up to a 10 year prison sentence and $2 million fine upon conviction.