Federal investigators in Salt Lake City shut down more than 30 Web domains Thursday found to be selling fake NFL merchandise just days shy of Super Bowl Sunday.
Local agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations seized dozens of phony websites as part of a nationwide initiative known as "Operation Red Zone." The operation targets international shipments of counterfeit football merchandise as they enter the United States. Scammers who manufacture fake football jerseys and other sports accessories overseas try to sell their goods to unwitting customers looking to buy official NFL merchandise for the big game, according to ICE director John Morton.
"The Super Bowl is one of the nation's most exciting events," Morton said in a statement Thursday. "Organized criminals are preying on that excitement, ripping consumers off with counterfeit merchandise and stealing from the American businesses who have worked hard to build a trusted brand."