The Federal Trade Commission and 29 states have launched a campaign to crack down on Internet auction fraud, federal and state officials said Wednesday.



“Operation Bidder Beware” has resulted in 57 criminal and civil law enforcement actions in a sweep involving the coordination of the FTC, attorneys general of the participating states and local police agencies, according to the FTC.



Online-auction fraud is the No. 1 type of Internet-related complaint tracked by the FTC in terms of volume, according to the agency. The FTC received about 51,000 complaints regarding online-auction scams in 2002, representing about $37 million in losses, said Howard Beales, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. That number likely represents just a fraction of the actual number of rip-offs that occurred, officials said.

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