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FBI says online ad fraud costs consumers millions of dollars

Internet scams are costing US consumers millions of dollars, the FBI warns.

Published Sat, Nov 15 2014 4:23 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Jun 16 2020 4:29 PM CDT

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received 6,800 complaints of online ad fraud-related activity, costing consumers upwards of $20 million from June 2009 to June 2014. The criminals post fake Internet ads for cars, boats, heavy equipment and other expensive items, with each ad including a fake phone number.

FBI says online ad fraud costs consumers millions of dollars | TweakTown.com

Once a criminal has someone lured in, they respond with a text message and ask for an email address - and the criminal tells the victim a deal needs to be put together rapidly, typically saying they will use eBay as a legitimate means for transaction completion. Unfortunately, instead of using eBay, the victim wires or otherwise transfers money to the perpetrators and no longer receives follow-up contact once the deal is done.

These types of Internet scams are typical - but as cybercriminals continue to evolve their tactics - Internet users need to be extremely careful when making purchases. Try to verify seller information, look into company policies, and if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Possible scam victims can report incidents to the IC3 website.

An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog, AlamedaTech.com, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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