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Last Updated: Monday, 28 March, 2005, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Dozens hit by e-mail auction scam
eBay website
EBay offers millions of items for sale every day
Internet shoppers are being warned of a scam targeting customers using the eBay auction website which could cost them hundreds of pounds.

Fife Police said victims were being sent fake e-mails offering a "second chance" to buy goods.

This gives unsuccessful bidders goods if the winning bid falls through.

But officers have received dozens of complaints from customers in the past two weeks who have used the second chance and then received nothing.

The force's computer crime unit said fraudsters behind the scam were sending e-mails which appeared to be from eBay, but directed shoppers to a fake website to collect their bank details and take their money.

My advice would be never to send credit card details as a result of an e-mail request
Insp Alex Harkness

Officers urged people to beware if they were asked anything unusual and contact the company or the police if they became suspicious.

The practice is commonly known in computer circles as "phishing", due to the speculative and indiscriminate targeting of many computers.

A number of e-mails have been received by Fife residents, which appear to be authentic requests from sites like eBay and internet banking sites.

Inspector Alex Harkness said: "The people who are committing these crimes are very professional.

"They create websites with links that appear to be connected with the genuine sites, people are then conned into passing over credit card or bank details and money is then stolen from them.

"My advice would be never to send credit card details as a result of an e-mail request."

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