HSI Baltimore-led investigation leads to the seizure of domain name purporting to be the website of the US Department of Labor
BALTIMORE - Special agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore field office served a federal seizure warrant for the fraudulent internet website us-dolbids.com, in the District of Maryland January 26. The HSI-led investigation and seizure of the duplicitous website, which purported to be the official website for the United States Department of Labor, was a joint effort, in which HSI received significant assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
The seized website was purporting to be a resource for responding to COVID-19 from the Department of Labor. It also listed several fraudulent commercial contracts that individuals could bid on in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fraudulent domain purported to allow users to sign in with their business email and password in an attempt to steal business credentials that could have been utilized to illegally/surreptitiously access protected data.
The investigation and seizure of us-dolbids.com is part of HSI’s Operation Stolen Promise 2.0, which launched in April 2020 to protect Americans from the increasing and evolving threat posed by COVID-19-related fraud and criminal activity. Since the Operation’s inception, HSI has capitalized upon its unique and expansive federal criminal investigative authorities; its strong intelligence analysis capabilities and resources; its expansive domestic and international footprint; and its robust law enforcement and private sector partnerships to lead the government’s investigative response to pandemic-related crime.
The seizure of the domain was announced January 26 by Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of HSI Baltimore; Special Agent in Charge Christopher Cooper of the Division of Advanced Technology and Analytics, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General; and the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron.
“HSI will remain vigilant and adapt our tactics whenever necessary in order to stay one step ahead of criminal elements,” Mancuso said. “HSI will continue to ensure the integrity of online marketplaces and COVID-19 related websites, collaborating with law enforcement and private sector partners to proactively warn the public of scams and other fraudulent activity.”
Individuals visiting the site now will see a message that the site has been seized by the federal government and be redirected to another site for additional information.
For more information on HSI’s Operation Stolen Promise, please visit our website, https://www.ice.gov/topics/operation-stolen-promise. Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Homeland Security Investigations tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of DHS, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) conducts criminal, civil, and administrative investigations into alleged violations of federal laws relating to DOL programs, operations, and personnel. In addition, the OIG conducts criminal investigations to combat the influence of labor racketeering and organized crime in the nation’s labor unions in three areas: employee benefit plans, labor-management relations, and internal union affairs.