Three Romanians living in London have been jailed for their part in a worldwide fraud carried out via eBay, which netted at least 300,000 pounds.
Some 3,000 victims ranging from buyers in America and South Korea were snared by the trio into buying everything from non-existent cars to concert tickets.
The scammers conned potential eBay customers by listing false items for sale. When the auction finished they would then contact unsuccessful bidders by email outside of eBay offering them the same product as a “second chance” buy.
Victims would then send over the cash thinking they had got a deal only for the goods never to arrive.
Through a variety of aliases and using a number of forged Belgian passports the Romanians made hundreds of collections from Western Union money transfer outlets in London.
They kept about 30% of the money they stole choosing to spend the money on fast cars and a flat in Forest Gate, London. The rest they passed onto crime bosses in Romania.
Conned users where left out in the cold by the scammers because they had gone out of the eBay system, which does offer some fraud protection to its users, and got the victims to transfer the money by Western Union Transfer - again an untraceable money payment system because it's the equivalent of paying in cash.
The British police believe that the 300,000 pounds is just the tip of the iceberg, with the real total likely to be considerably higher.
Judge Duncan Matheson sentenced Nicolae Cretanu, 30, to 3 1/2 years, his wife Adriana Cretanu 23, and their accomplice George Titar, 26, to 30 months each.