Online check for auction fraudsters
Consumers can check the honesty of buyers and sellers at online auctions through a new service from Early Warning.
The organisation, which monitors online and credit card fraud and advises banks, retailers and the police, said this new online service at reportauctionfraud adds another tool to help people and the police combat online auction fraud.
Typical scams include sellers with non existent goods, buyers giving bogus credit card details or people selling stolen or counterfeit goods. Early Warning said its figures show these make up around one in 50 daily online auction transactions. Worryingly,this figure is rising because criminals find it so easy to get away with.
Registration for this service is free, after which checks about the buyer or seller a person hopes to do business with cost 50 pence. Details of known fraudsters are verified immediately by an up-to-the-minute database established by Early Warning.
People who have been victim of fraud can report this to the service, which will help build the database, so others can be warned about a buyer or seller. To protect against malicious reports or those that were not real fraud but disputes, the organisation said it had technical safeguards in place to weed these out.
The site will also help consumers avoid falling for some of the phishing emails that some people get at the end of an auction. Suspect emails can be forwarded to the company, where the grammar, text and IP addresses are checked.
Andrew Goodwill, managing director of Early Warning said as well as helping consumers avoid known fraudsters, the service will also help police track down these criminals in the UK.
"The police are already interested and look at the data on a daily basis," said Mr Goodwill.
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