The US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release that stated that in the past month “Fifteen defendants have pleaded guilty to-date for their roles in a transnational and multi-million dollar scheme to defraud American victims through online auction fraud.”  The June 11, 2020 press release entitled “Fifteen Defendants Plead Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy in International Cyber Fraud Scheme” included these comments according to court documents:

…the defendants participated in a criminal conspiracy that engaged in a large-scale scheme of online auction fraud. 

Specifically, Romania-based members of the conspiracy posted false advertisements to popular online auction and sales websites—such as Craigslist and eBay—for high-cost goods (typically vehicles) that did not actually exist. 

Members of the conspiracy would convince American victims to send money for the advertised goods by crafting persuasive narratives, for example, by impersonating a military member who needed to sell the advertised item before deployment.

…members of the conspiracy created fictitious online accounts to post these advertisements and communicate with victims, often using the stolen identities of Americans to do so. 

They also delivered invoices to the victims bearing trademarks of reputable companies in order to make the transaction appear legitimate. 

These guilty pleas should be a wake-up call to all to everyone who participates in online auctions!

DOJ News

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