Internet auction fraud a growing concern in Miami

Internet auction fraud, and fraud involving online auction sites like eBay, continues to make news in the Miami area. As we reported last week on Miami Criminal Attorney blog, online auction fraud is a significant contributor to the 336,655 Internet crimes reported nationwide in 2009. In all, Internet fraud cost $560 million last year.

Auction fraud involves fraud attributed to misrepresenting a product for sale through the Internet or failure to deliver or pay for a product purchased through an Internet auction site.

Nearly 3 in 10 Internet criminals identified last year were residing in Florida — more than any other state in the nation except California. And in February, a former Miami-Dade man was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison for scamming eBay customers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Miami Herald.

The following behavior can provide warning signs about possible fraud:

-Sellers who claim to be auctioning an item from within the United States but then claim to winning bidders to be outside the country for business reasons, or because of a personal emergency.

-Be aware of sellers who post an item for sale under one name but request payment under a different name.

-Sellers who request money be directly wired by Western Union, MoneyGram or bank wire transfer. Payment by this method is virtually unrecoverable and offers no recourse for victims who do not receive promised merchandise.

-Sellers acting as company representatives or authorized dealers who are located in foreign countries where such dealers would not be located.

-Buyers requesting shipping or other arrangements for payment or delivery that are designed to avoid customs, taxes, etc., should be avoided.

-Be suspicious of credit card payments where the address of the card holder does not match the shipping address. Always secure cardholders permission before shipping any products.

eBay offers its own advice and resolutions center, available by clicking here.