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Auction Fraud & Int'l Crime Rings

In the THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 3, 2004, there is a story by Nick Wingfield about auction fraud on Ebay. Excerpts:

"By letting strangers sell goods to each other without meeting, eBay has created a marketplace of awesome breadth -- and a huge potential for fraud. The Federal Trade Commission says it received more than 166,000 Internet-related fraud complaints last year with reported losses of nearly $200 million. About half of the complaints involved online auctions." One detective in LA says alone "he's received more than 1,000 fraud complaints about eBay since 2002, with five to eight more coming every day."

"Despite those numbers, the high-tech crimes unit at the Los Angeles County district attorney's office estimates it has filed only about 15 cases since 2002 involving Internet-auction fraud. The biggest obstacle often is finding a suspect. Fraudsters, some of them in distant countries, use an endless supply of tricks to disguise their identities."

In one instance, a woman detained by police for taking payment on an auction and not delivering the item, actually "had been hired by a European nonprofit health organization to receive charitable donations in her account and forward them to Western Union offices in Germany and Romania." She had no idea that the money was coming from fraudulent auctions--and that the nonprofit was a hoax.

Posted on August 3, 2004 at 08:26 AM | Permalink


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