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The Federal Trade Commission believes that no place is more fraud-friendly than the web. The agency estimates that more than one in 10 Americans (perhaps as many as 30 million people in this country) have fallen victim to fraud. Last year, internet-related fraud complaints surpassed all others, comprising 55 percent of all digital malfeasance, and for the first time the net supplanted the telephone as the most popular initial point of contact for dupers to meet dupees.

An almost endless array of clever schemes exists to separate consumers from their money. There are cross-border scams that consist of fake foreign lotteries, phony prize promotions, advance-fee loan cons and the infamous Nigerian scam. Charity scams take advantage of consumers' generosity while so-called home-opportunity scams zero in on people looking for an easy way to make a few extra bucks. Identity thieves "phish" for personal information, like account numbers and PINs, which they use to sink your good credit (while sucking every penny out of your bank account). Pop-up spammers rely on nefarious methods to secretly wrest control of your PC desktop so they can pummel you with ads. Auction fraud accounts for half of the complaints the agency receives.

- "Click Fraud Threatens Web," Adam L. Penenberg http://www.penenberg.com

Directory: http://www.larryblakeley.com/Articles/monthly_articles

File Name: adam_penenberg20041013

Post Date: October 13, 2004 at 1:30 PM CDT; 1830 GMT