Internet Fraud

The Internet is teeming with fraudulent schemes, and swindlers find it easy to exploit innocent victims online. Fraud on the Internet results in mail fraud when “cyberscammers” receive payments and ship items via the U.S. Mail.

For example, winners of online auctions may never receive the advertised item: After dishonest sellers receive payment, they fail to ship the item. Online crooks use the anonymity offered by the Internet and a rented address at a commercial mail receiving agency to hide their identities. In general, it can be difficult to know with whom you are dealing when conducting business online.

Cyberscammers may also bid on their own auction items, under another user ID, to raise bid amounts. Or they may contact bidders from an auction to inform them that the winner failed to make payment and the item is still available. Again, despite a mailed-in payment, no merchandise is sent. The advantage to con artists using this tactic is that the online auction site is not involved and the victim is unable to seek help with the problem.