Online Auction And Retail Scheme
There are many variations of online auction and retail schemes in which the scammer steals money from its victims through a variety of illegal means. The victims often don't know they have been scammed until it is too late, and these people who are committing fraudulent activity, either claims it was a "mistake" or cut off communication. It is often hard to find them even if the incident is reported, because the scammers know enough about the Internet to use fake identities, ISP addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information.
The most common auction scheme does online starts with the scammer creating a new account on an auction site such as Ebay. They will post several items that appear to be high-quality, high-priced items that are offered at a low cost to lure in customers. Items often include brand-name clothing or shoes, computers, collectibles or jewelry. After the transaction has been complete, the scammers will most likely not to send the customer any goods and either cut off communication after the completed transaction or claim the items were shipped. Additionally, the scammer might send goods but worth much less than what the auction item claimed. To make it even harder for the customers to notice this company is fraudulent, they may "sell" items to fake people on Ebay and have them give their account positive ratings.
The online retail scams work in much the same way, where the scammer will create an online site which seems professional, using expert web design and include a variety of products in which they stole the information and images from other sites. The scammer will list these items at a lower price than their competitors, and when they receive payment, they will not send the goods and claim they must have gotten lost in the mail. Shortly after, they will stop communication with the customer and keep their money.
Phishing techniques, or a way for scammers to gather credit card and personal information but people on the Internet, will often be used in correlation with retail and auction scams. They will hack into someone else's Ebay or other auction site's account, and use that account to receive funds from various buyers for the goods already listed on that site, and never send the goods as they never had them to begin with. Not only does the customer lose money and never receive their merchandise, but the original seller whose account got hacked into, will receive poor comments and take the blame for what has happened.
Be very cautious and do your research before purchasing items on the Internet, whether it is through an auction site or a general online retailer. Auction sites often have the seller's history include previous transactions, customer's reviews and ratings. If the user has poor ratings or comments, avoid buying anything from them. Also, if they are a new user with little to no transactions, it is best to look for another user with more decent sales. Even if a user has good comments, look at a few of them to see if those customers purchased from other people on the same site; this is a good indication that they are not faking the review. For retail sites, look up the company on the Better Business Bureau and research the online store for customer reviews or feedback before making a purchase.