Thieves may have accessed Web auction site as many as 1.5 million times since May
Thieves have been using stolen passwords and a common IP address to break into users' accounts and sell goods fraudulently via Yahoo Japan, according to a report issued today.
According to a report in the Japanese news outlet Yomiuri Shimbun, Yahoo! Japan Corp.'s auction Website has been illegally accessed about 1.5 million times since May with codes and passwords stolen from members from an IP address in China.
Accessed information was used without the account owners' knowledge to sell items such as fake luxury-brand goods, and account holders were charged auction fees by the company for transactions they did not initiate, the report says.
In the past, Yahoo! Japan had declined to refund auction fees to victims of suspected ID theft. However, as the company can now identify an IP address from which suspicious account access has been made -- and confirm whether users were involved in illegal transactions -- the company has begun to process fraud claims, according to Yomiuri Shimbun.
An increasing number of the auction site's users' IDs are being used without their knowledge to sell large numbers of fake luxury brand goods, the report states. Subsequently, more and more auction users have become embroiled in disputes with Yahoo! Japan because they were charged auction fees of up to several hundred thousand yen for transactions they did not initiate.
Yahoo Japan initially claimed it did not find any internal leaks of users' personal information and told users they would have to pay the auction fees.
By Tim Wilson