Internet fraud is at epidemic levels. The email pouring into Sherlock Investigations indicates that most of the scams involve low-end products, but some of these are in volume, resulting in great losses.
Before Christmas, a lot of people were ordering the Xbox 360 at greatly inflated prices because electronic stores were sold out. Of course, the Xbox 360 never arrived because it wasn't there in the first place. I-pods are in the same category.
Fake Rolex watches continue to be big sellers on the Internet. Customers often believe the story the seller posts about how he got the watches. If and when they arrive, they're a cheap imitation that literally falls apart. The stem is usually the first to go.
Fake Louis Vuitton and Chanel purses are hot. The problem is that the items are so low cost ($150-300) that it's not worth bothering to hire a private investigator to track down the seller. Trying to get your money back through eBay or PayPal is often problematic.
Expensive motorcycles are also hot. We've had very good results tracking down the sellers of motorcycles and other high end items, including investments of large sums of money with bogus Wall Street firms.
The Internet is a great way to shop. I buy all sorts of things from L.L. Bean, and my groceries from Fresh Direct. Be sure to always buy from reputable companies.
Never use Western Union when paying a stranger for an item. And remember the Skipp Porteous rule-of-thumb when buying from strangers on the Internet: "Never spend more than you can afford to lose."
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