PCeU shuts down 2,000 fraudulent sites


The Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) has shut down over 2,000 fraudulent websites which were either flogging knock-off gear or selling nothing at all.

Online shoppers had been duped into paying fraudsters for purported designer goods from the likes of Nike and Ugg. Items either didn't show up or consumers were sent counterfeit goods.

In the run up to Christmas the PCeU will continue to work with Nominet and other registries to disable as many such sites as possible.

The PCeU worked in conjunction with registrars to find and close the websites, which were generating criminals "millions of pounds," the Met said today.

"The sites suspended are registered in bulk by crime groups with the sole intention of duping consumers into parting with their money for, at best, poor quality counterfeit goods, at worst, nothing at all," said DI Paul Hoare, from the PCeU.

"In the run up to Christmas the PCeU will continue to work with Nominet and other registries to disable as many such sites as possible but I would urge customers to take all precautions to ensure they buy from legitimate sites only."

Registrants were notified before having their sites shut down, Nominet revealed.

".uk deserves its reputation as a trusted online space for British consumers, and we are committed to tackling cybercrime to keep it that way. The .uk domain name industry has come together to protect consumers and maintain their trust in the .uk internet space," said Lesley Cowley, Nominet CEO.

The Met warned those affected by the scams could have had their identities stolen, or their bank details used for "criminal activity elsewhere."

No arrests were made in connection with the websites.

In other recent law enforcement, arrests have been made. The shutdown of the DNS Changer botnet recently saw six men arrested, with one man still on the loose.

In that case, the suspects were not warned before their operations were crippled.

Security experts have noted the need to catch the criminals, as if they remain on the prowl they will only continue to carry out illicit acts.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.