Federal agents seized over 100 domain names that were involved in selling counterfeit merchandise. This happened just prior to the biggest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday.

Websites often sell counterfeit DVDs, cologne and other goods marketed as original and authentic. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations got involved with the sales this year. They coordinated with Belgium, France, Romania, Denmark and the United Kingdom to take down more than 100 sites.

Investigators confirmed that these products were illegal by working with copyright holders and made one single arrest but closed multiple websites from doing business.

Crackdown on Websites Selling Counterfeit Merchandise

Fake iPhone 5

How to Protect Yourself

Authorities warn that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Stay away from anything that is priced too low to be realistic or that are offered from a bulk emailing. Look for poor grammar in the emails and that is another good indication.

Research the seller. You should see a name and method of contact on the website. If you find an email address, send an email to make sure it is real and you get an answer. If there is a phone number listed, call it.  If you can’t find a way to get in touch with anyone on the website, leave it alone.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the item is authentic, the seller won’t mind verifying that fact. If they have a problem answering your questions or aren’t nice about it, walk away.

Perhaps the most important tip to protect yourself, is to trust your instincts. Often we get a funny feeling but go on and ignore it. In this case, it can save you money to pay more attention to those funny feelings.

[Image via ciccaresedesign]