While tracking down a stolen mobile phone, the police recently detained a youngster using the phone. Though they initially suspected that he was involved in stealing cell phones, they later realised that he was as much a victim – he had bought the phone from an online auction website.
“As this medium offers the seller anonymity and puts him in contact with potential clients, it could be exploited,” said a crime branch officer who was part of the investigation.
Another concern is the way people misuse such portals to get back at others. An officer said: “After an acrimonious break-up with his girlfriend, a teenager put up an expensive mobile phone for sale at a cheap rate on an auction portal. His ex-girlfriend was flooded with calls as he put up her number.” She got in touch with the cyber police, requesting them to ask the portal to block the ad.
In the past two months, two such cases have been reported wherein incorrect details were posted to get back at someone, said N More, senior inspector, BKC cyber cell.
Cyber expert Vijay Mukhi said: “Some online auction websites allow people to check the past record of a seller. Feedback from earlier customers can help decide whether a person is credible.”
Mukhi said that it’s best to avoid a deal if it’s a first-time seller and the amount involved is big.
Several online auction sites did not to respond to HT’s questions on their security measures.