Consumer Protection Timeline

2001 – Online Auction Fraud accounted for 70% of all fraud cases (Ranked #1 among complaints)

2001 – January – Last year, after seeing the increase in the number of fraud complaints concerning online auctions, the FTC announced a coordinated effort with the Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and state and local law enforcement agencies to combat auction fraud. The effort involved bringing charges against alleged auction scammers and educating consumers and law enforcement agencies about auction fraud.

2002 – January – 51,000 FTC Online Auction Complaints – online auction fraud skyrocketed to 87% of all fraud cases (Complaints more than doubled in a year; losses at $37 million/year)

2002 –  May – Internet Auctions accounted for 90% of all fraud cases

2003 – April 30th – The Federal Trade Commission and 29 state Attorneys General have launched a law enforcement crackdown targeting Internet auction scams that bilked thousands of consumers out of their money and merchandise. The crackdown, “Operation Bidder Beware,” coordinated by the FTC in conjunction with the National Association of Attorneys General, resulted in 57 criminal and civil law enforcement actions and a related consumer education campaign. Auction fraud is the single largest category of Internet related complaints in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database, which logged more than 51,000 auction complaints in 2002. Participants in Operation Bidder Beware include the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

2004 – 100,000 FTC Online Auction complaints (doubled again for number of complaints since 2002)

2005 – 82,000 FTC Online Auction complaints

2007 – 32,832 FTC Online Auction complaints Ranked #5

2008 – According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), more than 70,000 complaints made to IC3—about one in every four—involved online auction scams.

2012 – 30,000 FTC Online Auction Complaints (Ranked 18)

2012 – Florida with the highest per capita rate of fraud updated their auction law

2014 – Georgia with the second highest per capita rate of fraud updated their auction law in 2014

2016 – 2077 FTC Online Auction Complaints (Ranked 28)

2017 – 2,267 FTC Online Auction Complaints

2017 – March – Online Auction Fraud Guide; Clark Howard – Internet fraud is growing at an alarming rate each year, and the most common complaint by far is auction fraud.

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