Cyber Monday: Think Twice, Click Once
Today, millions of consumers will find ways to spend upwards of $1.5 billion
And it doesn’t end there. Today, Cyber Monday, is projected to see even more growth for e-commerce. However, as Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton points out “with the increase in online shopping comes increase in online predators.” Opportunists in the form of counterfeiters and pirates are stealing consumer monies, identities, and good faith in return for bogus, faulty, and sometimes downright dangerous fakes.
These types of e-crimes are more prevalent, more sophisticated, and more global in nature than any of us can imagine. Counterfeiters have moved beyond the sale of illicit DVDs or handbags to pushing illegal products that affect public health and safety. This is exactly why today, on the biggest cyber shopping day of year, ICE alongside Europol completed a widespread international operation to stop 132 online criminals from defrauding consumers, depriving businesses of sales and economies of revenues all while ruining the vibrancy of the Internet.
The types of criminals targeted in these operations are known counterfeit goods traffickers, which frequently don’t adhere to proper transaction security, don’t report sales to financial authorities, and sell products—like fake baby carriers—which circumvent safeguards and potentially endanger consumers.
These transnational crimes require transnational action. ‘Project Transatlantic’ is at minimum commendatory for the astounding cooperation between international enforcement agencies. It goes to show that fighting the criminals behind rogue websites requires a far-reaching, collaborative type of approach.
While law enforcement is working diligently to protect consumers and legitimate online businesses, we as individuals also must take proactive steps to not fall victim to online criminals. This includes insisting on secure transactions, scrutinizing foreign sellers and sellers that omit sales taxes, and saying no to “deals” that are too good to be true (because, yes, they probably are!). Without due diligence on our end to avoid online counterfeits, Cyber Monday can quickly turn into just a case of the Mondays.
Please visit our Top 10 Consumers Tips factsheet and Dangerous Fakes campaign to learn more about online counterfeiting and piracy.