Internet auctions, internet access services, credit card fraud, international modem dialling and web cramming were ranked as the top five dot-cons reported by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this year.
Multilevel marketing plans and pyramids, travel and vacations, business opportunities, investments and health care products and services rounded out the top ten list.
The FTC also reported that 31 per cent of the more than 20,000 fraud complaints they received for the first nine months of 2001 were internet-related.
Con artists have gone high-tech, using the internet to defraud consumers in a variety of ways. The FTC said it identified the top dot-cons on complaints to Consumer Sentinel, a consumer fraud database.
According to the FTC, consumers are complaining most about internet auctions, the virtual marketplace that offers products at great deals. But after sending their money, consumers said they've received an item that is less valuable than promised, or, nothing at all.
In the case of international modem dialling, the FTC said users are promised free access to adult material and pornography by downloading a 'viewer' or 'dialler' computer program.
Consumers complained about exorbitant long-distance charges on their phone bill and reported that through the program, their modem is disconnected and then reconnected to the internet through an international long-distance number.
Jodie Bernstein, a spokesperson at the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, said: "We want the dot-con artists to know that we're building a consumer protection coalition that spans the globe. We aim to make the net safe for consumers."
The FTC is urging all consumers who have fallen victim to web-related scams to file a fraud complaint.
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