Computer Crime Research Center


Police warn of Internet fraud techniques

Date: January 26, 2005
Source: KV Post News
By: Melissa Widner

JASPER COUNTY - The vague threat of Internet fraud was made real this week as police revealed a Jasper County resident was recently "scammed" out of $3,500 from an auction Web site which appeared to be legitimate, but was a trap waiting for a victim.

Chief Deputy Terry Risner with the Jasper County Sheriff's Department said the scam happened when the victim used a legitimate account with a nationally-known auction company that had been "hijacked" from its owner in the state of Kansas.

Risner said the victim sent money to an online account to purchase an item that appeared to have been put up for auction, but never received the item, which likely did not exist. The legitimate auction service found the criminal activity 36 hours later.

"Unfortunately this was too late for the victim as the money had been sent to the perpetrator's (account) somewhere in the country of Romania," Risner said.

"Evaluation of this transaction did reveal one red flag that should have alerted the victim. The item placed on auction had a much greater value than the price that was paid by the victim."

A form of identity theft, the stealing of legitimate Internet accounts is possible when users aren't vigilant about online security, police said.

Risner said recent information from the National White Collar Crime Center has warned Internet users about a recent surge in popularity of the security threat known as "phishing" ("ph" is Internet slang for "f").

"Internet security tracking labs reported that in September, 2003, they had tracked 279 phishing e-mails," Risner said. "As of March, 2004, the number tracked had reached 215,643."

Phishing sites, just like the word sounds, are fake Web sites set up to lure Internet users into providing their otherwise secure information.

For the full story, please read the January 27 issue of the KV Post-News.

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