Feeds

Site aims to quash auction fraud

'eBay don't like us, we don't care'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Small business fraud buster Early Warning is targeting auction scams with the launch of a new website. ReportAuctionFraud.com - which goes live 15 March - offers fraud screening for auction site users, allowing registered users to search a live database of fraud data. Each fraud search costs 50p.

Registered users can also add their own fraud data to the database, helping to keep the system as up to date as possible. No charge is made for using this feature. Early Warning reckons that the vast majority of people likely to use its site are honest and unlikely to abuse this facility. Even so it has built in measures to help ensure bogus reports are weeded out. It has also established a procedure for parties to challenge the accuracy of its listings.

Early Warning maintains the CardAware database, a similar scheme designed to help retailers prevent losses from CNP (card-not-present) credit-card fraud. Andrew Goodwill, Early Warning’s managing director, said: "Our CNP fraud screening product, CardAware, has saved retailers just under £4m over the past two years. We are now extending the CardAware concept of sharing fraud data into the online auction market. Online auction fraud has now reached pandemic proportions. Our new website will make a significant contribution to reducing this problem."

Neighbourhood Watch

Online auction sites such as eBay have a feedback scoring system designed to indicate the reliability of a buyer or seller. Early Warning argues this facility is unreliable because a prospective fraudster can get his associates to give him favourable feedback.

Rather than being embraced by online marketplaces, the people behind ReportAuctionFraud.com expect to be criticised by auction sites for running an unnecessary service, at least initially. "Auction sites like eBay may say they are doing all they can to prevent fraud but we know different. Fraud is a major problem on online auction sites," Early Warning’s Goodwill told El Reg.

The ReportAuctionFraud database contains the details of individuals who have actually committed auction fraud before. Users have the ability to search on different criteria; name, email address, telephone number, postcode, username and auction item number. By searching the database a user can find out if a match exists for the buyer or seller who they are dealing with. In the course of beta testing, 5,000 records have been added to the ReportAuctionFraud database.

Grey market

Official figures for online auction fraud are hard to come by, particularly as auction site users can be reluctant to report small-scale frauds. However, in 2003 the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) released a report on Consumer Fraud and ID Theft, which claimed Internet auction fraud alone accounted for 48 per cent of Internet-related fraud complaints, generating losses of $437m. A recent FBI report cited by Early Warning reports that 250,000 of an estimated 12.5 million transactions run through auction sites worldwide every day were fraudulent. Common frauds include the non-delivery of purchased goods, misrepresentations of the item for sale, non-payment for goods, the sale of stolen goods (which might later be confiscated) through online auction sites and various bidding scams. ®

Related stories

Beware auction sites, says Citizens Advice
eBay fraudster faces possible jail
eBay provides backdoor for phishers
eBay plays down 'shill' bidding allegations

External links

ReportAuctionFraud.com FAQ

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.