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Authorities to Crack Down on Online Fraud

State and federal officials are set to announce several arrests and lawsuits in a sweeping crackdown on online-auction fraud, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Citing people who have been briefed on the cases, the newspaper said the lawsuits target fake online-escrow services, as well as identity theft on auction sites. The effort by the Federal Trade Commission and more than two dozen state attorneys general is intended to fight what officials say is a rising tide of Internet fraud. Law-enforcement officials say that more than 48,000 online-fraud referrals were made to state and federal agencies last year, triple the number in 2001. Nearly half involved online-auction fraud, according to a study by the FBI. Web auction house eBay Inc. EBAY.O is cooperating with state and federal officials on the effort and will appear at a news briefing on the issue set for Wednesday. As the largest online auction site, eBay is the forum on which much of the fraud unfolds, the Journal reported. Full Story

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