The country of Romania is the top source of organized scams on the auction site eBay. The company has sent over equipment and a team to help the authorities there.
EBay, which doesn’t even operate a site in Romania, won’t talk dollar figures but acknowledges that the country is the No. 1 source of “professional fraud.” On a November 2006 visit to the Romanian capital, Bucharest, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the vast majority of Internet fraud committed on “one prominent U.S. online auction website is connected to Romania or Romanians.”
That poses a problem for EBay. The San Jose-based auction giant has built its popularity and staked its reputation on self-policing feedback. Its system depends on buyers and sellers trusting one another — to send money and to deliver the goods. Yet EBay users are the daily targets of phishing scams, spoof e-mails and fake listing attacks. Such schemes don’t cost EBay any money. But some of its customers pay dearly. And they expect EBay to do something about it.
The story in the Los Angeles Times details how eBay and the US Secret Service are working with the Romanian government and Police to track down the perpetrators of fraudulent eBay auctions and buying offers.
“The fraudsters need to know we’re coming after them,” said Rob Chesnut, Spasova’s boss and a former federal prosecutor who set up EBay’s Trust and Safety division. “EBay doesn’t have a product. We are in the trust business: making people feel comfortable doing business with someone they don’t know,” he said. “If the bad guys have no fear of prosecution, they will continue to try to defraud users. So there has to be a cost to trying.”
The story is very interesting and details how hard eBay works to maintain thier reputation.
So, the next time you read a headline which details how eBay does not do anything to prevent rampant fraud on its site, just remember this article and know that eBay scours the World looking for criminals and ways to work with the authorities to shut them down. Good for eBay!