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Department of Homeland Security launches fake counterfeiting website

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   March 8, 2013 at 11:42 AM
DesignsFauxReal.com was launched by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the nonprofit International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition. Designed by ad agency KraftWorks, the site looks just like a high-quality e-commerce site that sells knock-off brand-name items, until you see the product descriptions.

Under a pair of jeans the description reads:

"And by bootleg we mean unlicensed, unreal and unlikely to last. Made in a counterfeit factory by child laborers. 100 percent of proceeds go to criminals, possibly even terrorists."

Next to a typical "buy now" button, the site tells shoppers, "we're anxious to collect all of your credit card information!!!"

It's impossible to buy anything from the site. If an unsuspecting shopper makes it all the way to check-out without figuring it out, they receive the message, “Really? Is this ring worth having to spend the next year and a half trying to fix the damages caused by identity theft?” If that’s not enough to stop bargain hunters, there’s a final message: “Oops, this isn’t a real check-out, just another fake out.”

Counterfeit goods are still regularly seized at U.S. ports and at the point of sale but the battle against fakes is fought mainly online. When a company wins an intellectual property lawsuit against counterfeiters, the judge typically orders the seizure of the domain names involved, and Neil Kraft of KraftWorks says they plan for those seized domains to redirect to the government-run public awareness site.

The new site also bought Google ad keywords, so DesignsFauxReal "is supposed to show up on Google if you type ‘fake [brand name] handbags,'" says Kraft. "Notice the fake pop-up if you try to leave the site."

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