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US shuts down 300 websites for selling fake products amid pandemic

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it received a temporary restraining order against three defendants in Vietnam who are accused of operating more than 300 fake websites that exploited victims amid the pandemic.
(KFYR-TV)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:37 PM EDT
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(WVLT/WTSP) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it received a temporary restraining order against three defendants in Vietnam who are accused of operating more than 300 fake websites that exploited victims amid the pandemic.

Officials said the defendants’ websites claimed to sell health and safety products that were difficult to obtain, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes; however, it was an elaborate scam, and victims never received any merchandise.

WTSP reported that, according to the DOJ, people in every state in the country were scammed and attempted to make purchases from the websites. Officials said that the defendants also put fake contact information on their websites, leading to floods of complaints from victims to random people and businesses in the U.S.

“The Department of Justice is committed to preventing fraudsters from exploiting this pandemic for personal gain,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Ethan P. Davis of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “We will use every resource at the government’s disposal to pursue scammers who are stealing money from citizens amidst the ongoing public health crisis.”

The temporary order shuts down all the website while the investigation continues.

According to the Department of Justice, Vietnamese authorities also conducted their own investigation and have arrested defendants Thu Phan Dinh, Tran Khanh, and Nguyen Duy Toan.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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