• Feds seize dozens of Cyber Monday websites


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - ABC News reported shoppers nationwide spent an average of $423 per person, which added up to a record $59 million, over Black Friday weekend.

    Analysts expect more than a billion dollars will be spent online on Cyber Monday.

    WFTV's Daralene Jones learned that dozens of websites have been shut down by federal agents working in Orange County and elsewhere.

    Federal agents with U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were shopping online ahead of Cyber Monday as part of an operation called "In Our Sites."

    They were buying designer products to determine if they're fake or real.

    Last week agents showed WFTV boxes of fake merchandise they seized.

    On Monday they revealed that 100 websites in the U.S. were shut down for allegedly selling the knock-off jewelry, clothes and electronics.

    Shoppers who run across one of the seized websites will be greeted with a notice telling them the site has been seized by federal agents.

    Officials said they can't say how much was sold before the sites were shut down.

    Last year, agents said, the U.S lost $250 billion in revenue to similar websites. Federal agents said they believe much of that money goes to fund other illegal activity.

    "We've identified organizations involved in narcotics, prostitution," said Mark Garrand, a special agent with ICE.

    Kara Pastis, who is spending much of Monday doing online shopping, said she is thankful so many sites were shut down because she's taking a risk, shopping online for everyone in her family.

    "It certainly would be terrible to be the one who gets that gift in the mail and find out it's not authentic," said Pastis.

    Federal agents said they have not yet arrested anyone as part of the operation.

    They admitted that it's easy enough for the owners to set up another domain name, meaning the beginning of a web address, so online shoppers still have to be careful.

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    Feds seize dozens of Cyber Monday websites