MIAMI (CBS4) – All around the country, shoppers hit the web for cyber Monday sales. Maybe you were looking for shoes, designer bags, or sunglasses. But some shoppers may have seen warnings saying the Feds seize 150 online stores. Some right here in Florida. Investigators say those stores sold counterfeit products.
“If it’s too good to be true, it really is,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Carmen Pino, who heads up Homeland Security Investigations in Miami.
Pino says, during tough economic times, people turn to little-known websites.
“And they’ll see a price that’s unbelievable! And they’ll say, I’ve gotta have it,” said Pino.
But, he says, what they get is a fake product. One of the site shut down claimed you can buy NFL jerseys at 66% off. Other sites were selling fake Puma shoes, bogus Louis Vuitton bags, even phony Oakley sunglasses. Pino says the scam affects us all
“You are going and you are hurting American businesses, and ultimately hurting American workers, because you potentially are buying counterfeit product that could take a job away from an American,” said Pino.
When the feds shut down one of these websites, oftentimes they find more websites.
“It’s kind of like a domino effect. Once you take one down, you see six, seven, eight others that they might have been operating,” said Pino.
Pino says it’s lucrative, because it’s easy.
“So rather than selling drugs or moving guns, which exposes them to police sources, this is an easy way for them to make huge amounts of profits,” said Pino.
Before making a purchase, check for a contact page on the website. You’ll want to look for a real phone number or a physical address. Most legitimate stores will take calls.
Also, if the website has any misspellings, the Feds say that’s a red flag.