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Cyber Crime - Internet Fraud

credit card online consumers

The electronic marketplace allows consumers to purchase a wide variety of goods without ever leaving their homes. Just about anything available in stores is available online. The e-market allows businesses, at low or no cost, to reach consumers worldwide. By the early 2000s people with Internet access were becoming more and more comfortable purchasing items online. At first, many online customers were afraid to give out their name, address, telephone number, email address, and a credit card number to the Internet seller.

A woman sits in front of piles of unauthorized credit card bills that were charged to her name. In one week, thieves had charged more than $30,000 worth of merchandise on credit cards obtained using her identity. (AP/Wide World Photos)

As the number of Internet transactions increased, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is in charge of recording consumer complaints, received complaints of fraud. Fraud is the intentional deception of a person or group for the purpose of stealing property or money. Internet fraud includes any scheme using Web sites, chat rooms, and email to offer nonexistent goods and services to consumers or to communicate false information to consumers. Customers then pay for the fraudulent goods over the Internet with their credit cards. Internet fraud involves a wide variety of schemes limited only by the imagination and creativity of a seller intent on deceiving a buyer. Bogus products such as magnets for pain therapy and weight loss products can be purchased over the Internet.

Online auction fraud is one of the most common complaints received by the FTC. Online auction schemes get thousands of consumers to bid on items, then notifies them that they have the winning bid and should send their money to the seller. The item they bid on and paid for never arrives.

Identity theft has also become a growing concern for Americans as more and more give out their credit card numbers to purchase items from the Internet. There are frequent news reports about people falling prey to online identity theft. Electronic thieves, or e-thieves, access an individual's personal information including credit card numbers. The e-thief then uses the stolen card numbers for services or purchases. Valid credit card holders are responsible for only $50 of unauthorized charges, so the merchant or company selling the products or services becomes the victim.


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over 11 years ago

is it a crime for someone to pose on the net as a police officer to gain peoples trust and take them for money , gifts in alabama ? thank you