June 19, 2003, 12:00 AM

Internet auctions accounting for bigger share of online fraud, FTC reports

Fraud on Internet auctions has risen sharply while fraud on retail web sites has declined slightly, according to an analysis of consumer complaints filed with the FTC.

 

Fraud on Internet auctions has risen sharply while fraud on retail web sites has declined slightly, according to an analysis of consumer complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission.

Internet auctions accounted for 50% of the 102,517 Internet-related fraud complaints filed in 2002, up from 42% in 2001. That compares to 13% of Internet-related complaints tied to retail web sites and catalogs, which the FTC lists under the category "Shop-at-Home/Catalog Sales," down slightly from 14.8% in 2001.

The FTC says 2% of Internet-related fraud complaints in both 2001 and 2002 were related to web site designs that misrepresented offers for products and services.

Fraud reported for other categories, in percentages for 2002 and 2001, include:
-- Internet access services, 11%, 11.9%;
-- Foreign money offers, 5%, 4.3%;
-- Internet information and adult services, 5%, 5%;
-- Business opportunities, 3%, 2.2%; and
-- Computer equipment/software, 2%, 3.4%.

The average amounts lost in each fraudulent transaction, however, declined last year to $1,295 from $1,838 in 2001, the FTC says.

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