Computer Crime Research Center


Auction Internet Fraud

Date: February 16, 2004

Selling or buying things over the internet is fast and easy, but it's also dangerous.
The FBI has had several internet fraud complaints in our area and they want the public to be careful when before clicking the Buy bottom.
Art Werge, FBI Spokesman, "But the internet can be used as a great tool to perpetuate fraud and as a result that's an area we are investigating quite a bit."
Thousands of consumers have fallen victim to internet auction fraud. In 2000, 65-percent of all internet fraud was related to auction sites. Texas is one of the states with the largest number of victims. It's happened here locally and in Las Cruces too.

Victim, "It retails around 10-thousand dollars. He was selling it for $5,000."

The unidentified Las Cruces man thought he had just sold his car to an overseas buyer . Turns out the check he got for close to $10,000 was counterfeit.

Steve Silvester-FBI, "There is a lot of information out there nowadays on computer, on the internet for example, everybody .. there is a piece of information on just about everybody out there. And you are savvy enough you can go out there and find it."

The same type of scenario was used to try and trap an El Paso couple last month.

Enrique Alvarado, "As soon as I get it I want you to get the check cashed at any grocery store or check cashing place in your vicinity instantly."

Enrique Alvarado and his wife knew something wasn't right and did not go through with the deal, but could have become one of the thousands of victims of internet auction fraud.

Werge, "The most prevalent type of crime is auction fraud the sums may be very low agency may not know how to investigated, so people don't know what to report or where to report it."

Law enforcement officials say the best way to prevent this type of fraud is to get educated.

The FBI has a website where you can obtain information on the most common frauds occurring over the internet and you can also file complaints.
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