The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched a website designed for reporting suspected internet auction fraud.
The watchdog group’s site encourages victims who unknowingly purchase pirated or counterfeit software to provide a web address of the sales site, as well as offer details about the incident, such as how they discovered the items were illegal and what action they took.
Last year, the BSA helped shut down more than 16,000 fraudulent auction sites on which vendors were peddling bogus goods.
"The sale of pirated software greatly harms consumers and the legitimate market, costing billions of dollars each ye.r," said Neil MacBride, BSA’s vice president of legal affairs. "We encourage consumers to be aware of the risks involved with buying software online, and hope that this new website provides a forum for consumers to tell stories on how they were duped…in the hopes that others won’t fall in the same trap."
Auction sites such as eBay encourage customers to be leery of vendors with whom they conduct transactions.
"Before you bid or buy on eBay, it’s important to know your seller," the company recommends on its website. "Always look at your seller’s feedback ratings, score and comments first to get an idea of their reputation within the eBay marketplace."
The Council of Better Business Bureaus said the new website – www.bsacybersafety.com/fraud – could help to improve the online marketplace.
"It can be very hard for consumers to avoid fakes and fraud online," said CBBB’s Steve Salter, vice president of BBBOnLine. "Being able to share and compare experiences should only make for better online shoppers, and ultimately make the web a better place to shop."