Massive Online Raid Shuts Down 1,200 Dubious Shopping Sites

Dennis Faas's picture

As "Black Friday" proved, online shopping is alive and well this holiday season. However, an increase in Internet shopping presents an opportunity for online deviants looking to cash in on as many victims as possible. As one security unit has proven, hundreds upon hundreds of web traps are known to be in existence.

Officials at Scotland Yard's e-crime unit discovered a myriad of Asian hoax websites. However, the foreign fraudsters are even more deceptive in their actions this time around, because the infected sites are masquerading as British domain names. This is done to give false credibility to the sites. (Source:

1,200-Plus Sites Shut down

However, the Scotland Yard team is working hard to catch as many of these questionable websites as possible and have experienced some degree of success in the process. As it stands, more than 1,200 fraudulent websites targeting holiday shoppers have been shut down in an unprecedented raid.

While each site appeals to a different audience, the deceptive patterns remain constant: an online peddler promises a major discount on designer goods (clothing, jewellery). When the retail victim offers up their credit card information, they either receive counterfeit products in return or nothing at all.

Among the most prolific items featured on the site are Ugg boots and GHD hair straighteners, as well as jewellery from Tiffany & Co. and Links of London.

Operation Papworth

A Metropolitan Police spokesman informed the public that 1,219 fraudulent websites were closed by a band of investigators working under the code name "Operation Papworth." Unfortunately, no arrests have been made to date. (Source:

While some will undoubtedly praise Papworth for making holiday shopping safer this Christmas, others contend that site shutdowns provide only a temporary fix. If the online deviant sees that there are no repercussions for their behavior, a new site will surely be launched in the coming days.

While always encouraged, the need for an updated version of a reputable anti-virus program is crucial at Christmas more than other time during the year.

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