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Old 13-December-2007, 11:31
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News! Police email reveals Ebay investigation shambles

From PCPro, News
Police email reveals Ebay investigation shambles
8:14AM, Monday 10th December 2007
A leaked email sent to victims of an Ebay fraud has once again exposed the woeful lack of police resources devoted to solving e-crime. The email reveals:
  • A single police constable is leading an investigation into crimes totalling tens of thousands of pounds
  • A complete lack of co-ordination between different police forces
  • That Ebay has "a big problem" with a hijacked account scam being perpetrated across the UK
PC Pro reader, Andrew Holder, contacted us after police failed to act on his report of Ebay fraud. He paid 600 for electrical equipment that never arrived. "I phoned the police in Belfast, where the seller listed himself, but they said I should report the case to my local station, which I did," he says.
"They listened to the problem, but basically said there was nothing they could do - the Warminster station only had one officer on duty and he simply didn't have time and my case went to the bottom of the in-tray."
Holder decided to track down the seller himself and came across an internet forum dedicated to people who'd suffered the same fate. "Soon we set up another forum with 14 other victims and we started to compare notes, trying to track him down through bank details," says Holder.
"He was carrying out several different frauds, using several different accounts and many hijacked, legitimate accounts. He is purporting to sell everything from plasma TVs to outboard motors."
Through the forum, Holder also found that another victim had managed to get Hampshire police to take the matter seriously. The constable involved diligently collated the evidence gathered by the forum members and is updating them on his progress via email.

But in an update sent on 5 December, the Hampshire PC admits he has been overwhelmed by the flood of people reporting Ebay fraud to him. "I will be quite honest and say that I never believed the number of victims would grow so fast," his message reads. "I have been away for two days and came back to almost 100 emails."

The constable tells the forum members he can only investigate crimes that have been committed in Hampshire, and implores them to report incidences of Ebay fraud to their local station. However, he later concedes that the other forces may fail to investigate the crimes if they learn of his own probe. "DO not tell your local force that I am collecting all the crimes as they will not then start the investigation and we will lose valuable time," his message reads. "Instead, you can explain to them that Hampshire has an investigation started on certain suspects but they must make the link first."

Widespread crime
The policeman's email reveals the scale of the auction fraud. "Ebay has a big problem and there are many people trying this scam all over the UK," it says. "I appreciate that this is frustrating for you all, but you have to understand that I have to (and only allowed to) [sic] investigate crimes that have been committed in my force area."

Indeed, the scale of the victims' frustration leads the police officer to make a plaintive plea for calm. "Please continue to send me information that you feel is important... And please no swearing, some have contained inappropriate language which I then have to explain to my boss."
Hampshire Police was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Ebay insists it takes customer security seriously. "Our first priority is to maintain a safe and secure site for our customers and we work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure that any criminal activity is detected and stopped before any harm is done," it claims in a statement. "The level of transparency on Ebay is far greater than anywhere on the high street and, this year, we have so far helped to secure over 200 arrests. Anyone thinking about misusing Ebay should think again."

E-crime unit

The leaked email will reignite calls for a central police department that handles reports of e-crime. The House of Lords Inquiry into Personal Internet Security recommended just that earlier this year, but its proposals were rejected by the government. "Unfortunately, the government dismissed every recommendation out of hand, and its approach seems to solely consist of putting its head in the sand," Inquiry member Lord Erroll said at the time.
Writing in PC Pro earlier this year, Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, said the UK had become a soft touch for e-crime. "Government has got to get a grip and get a grip quickly," he wrote. "At the local level this means making it a lot easier for victims of online crime to make a report to the police directly or by other channels and know that the information they give will be used.
"The United States has had an Internet Crime Complaint Centre or IC3 for some seven years. It is long past time that we developed something similar," he wrote.

Click here to read the full text of the police email sent to Ebay fraud victims
Stewart Mitchell and Barry Collins
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Old 26-April-2008, 13:36
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Default Re: Police email reveals Ebay investigation shambles

more proof that ebay only care about their profits and not their customers!
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Old 26-April-2008, 15:01
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Default Re: Police email reveals Ebay investigation shambles

Perhaps the Police could shift some of the cops who arrest pensioners for playing bowls, or Down's syndrome boys accused of sexual harrassment or many of the other PC and incredibly stupid police timewasters ?
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