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Fighting Fraud: eBay scam highlights online risks

Barely a day has passed since we launched our campaign to stamp out cybercrime.
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

Barely a day has passed since we launched our campaign to stamp out cybercrime.

Yet, already news of another internet fraud incident has hit the silicon.com news desk. A bogus eBay dealer has been suspended after offering antique coins, raking in thousands of dollars, and then failing to deliver anything to eager collectors. eBay quickly washed its hands of the incident and handed the case over to the police. But silicon.com has discovered the bogus dealer is alive and well and still dealing from Illinois. Any wannabe coin collector simply gets re-directed to another site that operates under an unrelated name. And there is nothing to stop suspected criminals from trying their luck again with other auction sites. As the value of dot-coms slides further, many bona-fide, well-recognised e-tailers find themselves too desperate to turn away these virtual Del-boys. eBay is one of the most recognised and trusted internet brand names. But does the auction site really know if all six million items traded daily through its site are legitimate? And can victims of cybercrime who acted in good faith and handed over their money or credit card details rely on online trading again? Today saw the launch of UK's very own army of cybercops with Home Secretary Jack Straw as its top dog. The Hi-Tech Crime Unit has taken on the ambitious task of policing the net. But it's possible that the unit will be too busy frying all the big fish to protect regular punters. At the moment there is no single point of contact where regular people can get information and report cybercrime and we have made it clear we think it's time an alliance of interested parties - including the IT industry - shows the way forward. silicon.com is campaigning to create a single body which covers the whole spectrum of online crime. It could well be a version of the US Internet Fraud Complaints Centre (IFCC). UK consumers and businesses need a real resource, providing information about fraud and a central point of contact where they can report crimes. It's time to act to create a unified front against cyber criminals. Scams such as the latest one at eBay aren't about to disappear, and we need safeguards.
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