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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 51, December 17, 2006, Article 21

CMU RESEARCHERS DEVELOP TECHNIQUES TO IDENTIFY ONLINE FRAUDSTERS

Other coin mail lists and chat rooms are rife with complaints about
fraudulent eBay auctions designed to fleece unwary collectors.  Turning
computer power against the thieves, researches have developed a system
to help identify the potential scammers among the universe of auctions.

"Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University are using data mining
techniques to identify perpetrators of fraud among on-line auction users
as well as their otherwise unknown accomplices.

"The new method analyzes publicly available histories of transactions
posted by online auction sites such as eBay and identifies suspicious
online behaviors and dubious associations among users."

"Perpetrators of these frauds have distinctive online behaviors that
cause them to be readily purged from an online auction site, said
Computer Science Professor Christos Faloutsos. The software developed
by his research team  Network Detection via Propagation of Beliefs, or
NetProbe  could prevent future frauds by identifying their accomplices,
who can lurk on a site indefinitely and enable new generations of
fraudsters.

In a test analysis of about one million transactions between almost
66,000 eBay users, NetProbe correctly detected 10 previously identified
perpetrators, as well as more than a dozen probable fraudsters and
several dozen apparent accomplices."

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story

[The software could probably be made even more effective against coin
auction scammers by teaching it to look for the hallmarks in the text
description of typical fraud lots, such as the "Aw, shucks, I'm no
noo-mis-ma-tist, but this here coin my great-grand-pappy gave me sure
looks purty." come-on.

I forwarded the article to ANA Executive Director Chris Cipoletti,
who asked eBay liaison Susan McMillan to follow up.  Thanks!  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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