Cyber scamming

For some unknown reason, many people believe that a Web-based community would be one in which everyone gets along and the crime rate is low. Everyone knows e-commerce is hip and user-friendly. The thinking goes that this new cyber world is so much more intelligent that those street-level scammers would stay away. But any market place that deals in anything of value is a place where one predator will take from another. A fool and his cyber money, it seems, are soon parted.

EBay, the first and largest auction site, is described as a “dynamic pricing online trading platform” which means you can auction and bid via computer, a place where sellers and buyers are brought together in an easily accessed cyber world. It doesn’t mean that the sellers actually own what they are selling or will deliver said items. Or that the item is worth the price.

The FBI reports that online auction fraud is the number one scam on the Internet. The auction rip-offs accounted for 64 percent of the complaints filed with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center. In one recent six-month period auction fraud was reported to total $4.6 million. That doesn’t sound too friendly.

The two biggest auction crimes are non-delivery of the item sold and shill bidding, where a seller and his partners bid up their item to artificially drive up the price.

One of the biggest shill-bidding scams took place right here in Sacramento (read “Prisoner of Love,”). In this story we find that not every victim of an Internet scam loses money. In this case she lost her heart.