holiday shopping

Government Warns Shoppers of Rise in Counterfeit Retailers During Holiday Shopping Season

Officials have seen an increase of counterfeit goods being sold directly to customers as well as a rise in the use of the dark web.

As America’s major shopping season shifts into gear with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, the Department of Homeland Security is warning shoppers to not get “fleeced by fakes” and avoid online scammers.

The department confiscated more than $500 million worth of counterfeit goods in the past year, ABC News reported. Investigators pointed to two recent stings that involved a website illegally selling counterfeit New York Jets jerseys and another retailer offering “free shipping all over the world” for baby carriers. The agency took down both sites after they were flagged by users.

Scammers often use extreme discounts and giveaways to entice customers to visit their sites, leading customers to purchase counterfeit clothing and other materials without knowing the source.

“We’re seeing a tremendous influx of counterfeit goods going directly to consumers,” Steve Francis, assistant director of the DHS Global Trade Investigations Division, told ABC News. He added that the agency has seen an increase in the use of the “dark web” to sell illicit goods as well as the use of online currencies like bitcoin.

Criminals know that they are unlikely to be prosecuted for their crimes because of the incredibly large amount of online retailers, Francis said.

“The risk of being arrested and prosecuted is low but the profit is extraordinary,” Francis said.

Customers looking to reduce the risk of being scammed by retailers selling illegal or counterfeit goods should make sure to keep their receipts and check to see if they were overcharged for a product purchased online. In addition, experts warned Americans to look out for people trying to use publicly available information (including social media profiles, addresses and names) to hack online orders and access their bank accounts.

On Twitter, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told consumers: “If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.”

Shoppers should also avoid websites that have unusual addresses or lack contact information for the seller. Another red flag, the agency said, is websites that offer different designs or models than those that are sold by major online retailers.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.


  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Survey: Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

  • Mobile Applications Are Empowering Security Personnel

    From real-time surveillance and access control management to remote monitoring and communications, a new generation of mobile applications is empowering security personnel to protect people and places. Mobile applications for physical security systems are emerging as indispensable tools to enhance safety. They also offer many features that are reshaping how modern security professionals approach their work. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • Mobile Safe Shield

    Mobile Safe Shield

    SafeWood Designs, Inc., a manufacturer of patented bullet resistant products, is excited to announce the launch of the Mobile Safe Shield. The Mobile Safe Shield is a moveable bullet resistant shield that provides protection in the event of an assailant and supplies cover in the event of an active shooter. With a heavy-duty steel frame, quality castor wheels, and bullet resistant core, the Mobile Safe Shield is a perfect addition to any guard station, security desks, courthouses, police stations, schools, office spaces and more. The Mobile Safe Shield is incredibly customizable. Bullet resistant materials are available in UL 752 Levels 1 through 8 and include glass, white board, tack board, veneer, and plastic laminate. Flexibility in bullet resistant materials allows for the Mobile Safe Shield to blend more with current interior décor for a seamless design aesthetic. Optional custom paint colors are also available for the steel frame. 3

  • A8V MIND

    A8V MIND

    Hexagon’s Geosystems presents a portable version of its Accur8vision detection system. A rugged all-in-one solution, the A8V MIND (Mobile Intrusion Detection) is designed to provide flexible protection of critical outdoor infrastructure and objects. Hexagon’s Accur8vision is a volumetric detection system that employs LiDAR technology to safeguard entire areas. Whenever it detects movement in a specified zone, it automatically differentiates a threat from a nonthreat, and immediately notifies security staff if necessary. Person detection is carried out within a radius of 80 meters from this device. Connected remotely via a portable computer device, it enables remote surveillance and does not depend on security staff patrolling the area. 3

  • Connect ONE’s powerful cloud-hosted management platform provides the means to tailor lockdowns and emergency mass notifications throughout a facility – while simultaneously alerting occupants to hazards or next steps, like evacuation.

    Connect ONE®

    Connect ONE’s powerful cloud-hosted management platform provides the means to tailor lockdowns and emergency mass notifications throughout a facility – while simultaneously alerting occupants to hazards or next steps, like evacuation. 3