FTC issues warning on fraudulent cyberauctions
by Patrick Thibodeau
(IDG) -- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission Monday warned that consumer confidence in e-commerce may be threatened by an escalating number of organizations that are conducting fraudulent auctions (see "Law Enforcers Target Internet Auction Fraud" in related sites below).
FTC officials said it received 10,700 complaints last year about Internet auctions, up from 107 complaints in 1997. Many of the complaints were from people who didn't receive what had been promised, or received something of lesser value, an FTC official said.
"The number of complaints that the FTC has received from Internet auctions is absolutely exploding," said Jodie Bernstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
"We don't intend to let a handful of rogue operators destroy consumer confidence in Internet commerce or, particularly, in the auctions," said Bernstein.
To combat the problem, the FTC said it intends to increase its training of law enforcement officers in finding and identifying fraud artists. The agency also plans to work with Internet auction sites to encourage adoption of consumer protection measures and to better educate consumers.
If the volume of complaints persists, it could lead to some kind of licensing or regulatory requirement, said Joe Curran, attorney general of Maryland, who represented the National Association of Attorneys General at today's announcement.
Consumers were urged to take steps to protect themselves by using credit cards to make purchases or escrow services, which act as middlemen in a transaction.
Coming soon: Net auctions via mobile phones
RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Online auctions: Buyer beware
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.