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Online auction fraud doubles

Date: October 15, 2004
Source: The Herald
By: Lucy Adams

THOUSANDS of people are thought to have been affected by internet auction fraud, which more than doubled in the past year.

Officers from Strathclyde's internet crime unit have recorded almost 200 incidents this year in the west of Scotland compared with fewer than 100 last year and they believe these reported cases may be the tip of the iceberg.
Officers say internet auction fraud has become one of a number of ways criminals target the public online.

Other examples include phishing – whereby an email pertaining to be from the user's online bank asks for card details – and emails usually from West Africa offering millions to investors who can send several thousand pounds to help transfer funds.

Officers estimate that thousands of people may be affected annually in the Strathclyde area by sellers with "invisible" goods. Once the highest bidder sends their money for the car or mobile phone on offer they discover that the details of the seller have been fabricated and the goods never arrive.
People have also been sent spoof emails – which look like they are from eBay – but which take them to fake websites and ask for credit card details.
There are a total of 7.6 million registered users in the UK with eBay – the internet site credited with transforming a nation of shopkeepers into a country of virtual vendors. Sites such as eBay have more than 114 million users worldwide.

According to eBay only a tiny proportion of users have been affected but officers have seen a rise in the number of people who have not received their goods.

Detective Constable Scott Rennie of Strathclyde's computer crime unit believes the public should be more aware of ways to avoid such scams. He warned precautionary measures could not guarantee fraud free transactions but would help.

"Internet auction fraud has more than doubled in the last year but it is still widely under-reported. The amounts vary from 50 to several hundred. There may be thousands of people affected in Strathclyde each year rather than tens of thousands. There is no completely safe way but I would advise people to take certain steps to protect themselves – including obtaining and checking traders' landline telephone number and address."

Garreth Griffith, head of trust and safety at eBay, said: "Certainly the site is growing fast and on the internet in general there has been an increase in spoof sites but we advise people that our site would never ask for details in an email."


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2007-04-30 13:44:11 - If you are going to start using online... Paul
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