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.
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.
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