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Auction fraud is the most prevalent of Internet crimes associated with Romania. The subjects have saturated the Internet auctions and offer almost every in-demand product. The subjects have also become more flexible, allowing victims to send half the funds now, and the other half when the item arrives.
The auctions are often posted as if the seller is a United States citizen, then the subject advises the victim to send the money to a business partner, associate, sick relative, a family member, etc., usually in a European country. The money is usually transferred via MoneyGram or Western Union wire transfer.
The most recent trend is a large increase in bank-to-bank wire transfers. These wire transfers go through large United States banks and are then routed to Bucharest, Romania or Riga, Latvia.
Similarly, the sellers also occasionally direct the victims to pay using phony escrow services. Sometimes actual escrow websites are compromised and other sites resembling them are created by the subjects. Once the funds are wire transferred to the escrow website, the seller discontinues contact.
- ↑ In order to receive funds via Western Union, the receiver must provide the complete information of the sender and the receiver's full name and address. The funds can be picked up anywhere in the world using this information. There is no need to provide the money transfer control number (MTCN) or the answer to any secret question, as many subjects have purported to the victims. Money sent via wire transfer leaves little recourse for the victim.