September 13, 2002, 12:00 AM

Auction fraud tops the list of Internet complaints, says Fraud Center

The Internet Fraud Complaint Center referred a third of the complaints it received last year to law enforcement authorities, the group says in its recently released annual report. Nearly half of those were related to auction fraud.


The Internet Fraud Complaint Center received 49,711 complaints of Internet-related fraud and other Internet-based problems such as computer intrusion in 2001, the group says in its recently released annual report. The group referred 16,775 complaints for action by law enforcement and regulatory agencies.

Topping the list of complaints at 42.8% of those referred for action were allegations of Internet auction fraud. One fifth of the complaints specifically involved non-delivery of payment or merchandise. 78.2% of those reported a dollar loss as the result of auction fraud, averaging $395.

The center, a non-profit organization that’s a joint project of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center, a group itself funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, refers only complaints it deems actionable on legal grounds. Private groups have stepped in to help resolve auction disputes that don’t reach the level of seriousness to take them to the courtroom.


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