Auction Fraud

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What is Auction Fraud?

Society is being scammed and losing money everyday as a result of Internet Auction Fraud

When people buy a product or service through the internet and get something different or nothing at all it is called Auction Fraud also known as “White-collar crime.”

Internet Auction Fraud is a growing problem; it is one of the top ten online scams. What more do we need to know about Auction Fraud? How does this affect society?

Facts about Internet Auction Fraud

In 2007, Internet Crime Complaint Center received 25,904 complaints with Auction Fraud being the most reported crimes to the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center).

In California, Auction Fraud was number one of the top ten and second highest for monetary loss ranging from $100.00-$999.99.[1][2]

Auction Fraud Case

Judge Judy is a popular courtroom television show. This show airs actual cases. One such case was Davenport v. Filkens which took place March 3, 2008. The case is about an E-Bay scam over two cell phones being auctioned. The plaintiff’s complaint was receiving pictures of two cell phones instead of the actual product. This was a scam! The defendant states she posted in small writing that what they were purchasing was a picture of two cell phones. The plaintiff won the case and restitution of $5,000.00.

The defendant thought she was smart and would not get caught. She is now being investigated by the Attorney General and E-Bay. This person has additional cases under investigation.[3]

Why You Need to Care

It is important for society to be aware of auction fraud. Due to internet shopping increasing in popularity it is imperative that the public becomes more cautious of the crimes that occur in cyberspace.Online holiday shopping increases yearly since people are too busy with work and family. Online shopping has become a better solution to the rising gas prices. Before you make a purchase online, do your homework on the seller/company and make sure it has a good standing reputation.

What is the FBI Doing to Eliminate Auction Fraud?

The FBI has a Consumer Watch list with a top fraud list and the FBI website states,” Combating major white-collar crime is one of the FBI's top priorities.” Due to the nature of criminal investigations it is not possible to obtain further information on what their investigations include and what is being done to combat the crimes. However, the Internet Crime Complaint Center is actively working with the FBI and the complaints that are issued.

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Internet Auction Fraud

Federal Bureau of Investigations recommends the following:

  • Understand as much as possible about how the auction works, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller's obligations are before you bid.
  • Find out what actions the web site/company takes if a problem occurs and consider insuring the transaction and shipment.
  • Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an e-mail address. If it is a business, check the Better Business Bureau where the seller/business is located.
  • Examine the feedback on the seller.
  • Determine what method of payment the seller is asking from the buyer and where he/she is asking to send payment.
  • If a problem occurs with the auction transaction, it could be much more difficult if the seller is located outside the US because of the difference in laws.
  • Ask the seller when delivery can be expected and whether damaged merchandise can be exchanged or if it will be covered by warranty
  • Find out if shipping and delivery are included in the auction price or if there are any other additional costs so there are no unexpected costs.
  • There should be no reason to give out your social security number or driver’s license number to the seller.

To report possible scams go to:

What to do if You are Scammed



  1.,(2007). Internet Crime Complaint Center. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from 2007 IC3
  2. Internet Fraud. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from Federal Bureau of Investigation
  3. (March 03,2008). Stupid Heffer on Judge Judy. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from youTube Braodcast Yourself Web site: