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MMD > Archives > February 2005 > 2005.02.25 > 07Prev  Next

Internet Auction Fraud
By John A. Tuttle

Internet fraud - a serious look

Hi All,  Michael Woolf's posting shows that with a little effort
and help from your friends, it's relatively easy to keep from being
defrauded.  However, the burning question in my head is, "Was the
crook arrested for attempted Internet fraud?"  Unless there are
consequences for illegal activity, it will continue to grow and get
much worse.

In the case I mentioned the other day, eBay would not come right
out and say that the individuals were prosecuted.  However, they did
intimate that the authorities were "handling the problem".  (For your
information, the 'trick' to getting action is to talk -- not email --
to someone in the eBay fraud department.)

In another case, a 'would be' buyer sent me a cashiers check for
$6,000 and asked that I forward some of the money to his shipper.
Upon receiving the check, I called the bank upon which the check was
drawn.  They insisted that they could not verify whether or not the
funds existed.  I reminded them that it was a cashiers check, not a
personal check.  They said they needed authorization.  In frustration,
I ended up contacting the CIA because the customer lived in a foreign

As it turned out, the local police came to my home, photocopied the
check and stood by as I called the bank again.  After speaking to
a bank executive, we were told that the check was bogus.  Now that
a law had clearly been broken, reports were filed.  The authorities
then enlisted my help in contacting the crook and 'reversing' the scam.

Within two days, the 'shipper', who lived in the US, called and
threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't send him his money
immediately.  Now, another law had been broken.  Using the phone
company, the police located the 'shipper' in Newark, New Jersey (just
40 miles from my home), and arrested him.  I later found out that he
was a suspected terrorist.  From start to finish, the scam took one
month and cost me about 10 hours of my time.  During the month, I
exchanged a dozen emails with the 'buyer'.

In this day and age, when the prevailing attitude is "well, I didn't
get hurt" or "it's not my problem", we all need to look back and
remember 9/11.  The security of each of our lives depends greatly upon
our willingness to look beyond our own situation, get involved at our
own expense, and take action.  The people who would do harm to our
country need to live, and that costs money.  They will do anything to
get that money.  Lying, cheating, and stealing mean nothing to them.
The only way we can stop them is to be just a little smarter and a
little more clever.

I almost hate to say this, but if you don't know them, don't trust
them!  There is no such thing as being "too cautious"!  What's the
old saying, "If it looks like a duck..."

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Fri 25 Feb 2005, 14:01:57 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Auction, Fraud, Internet

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