Cut-price cars and instant degrees too good to be true? Via phone, internet, or simply door-to-door, fraud is on the rise and now accounts for just under four per cent of all crimes committed in Italy. Sergio Scicchitano, Rome city councillor for consumer rights, made a special announcement about the problem at the beginning of September, describing todays most common confidence tricks. For example, more than 600 degree certificates from Berkley University (as opposed to the genuine US school of Berkeley) have been reported to city authorities since the start of 2005 each costing around 2,500. However, the biggest cases of fraud still concern houses and cars, says Felice Addonizio of Rome city police. He says people have been cheated out of as much as 200,000 by conmen, even on the advice of friends who were unaware of the original fraud. Older citizens are most often cheated by people impersonating bank and utility company employees, while the younger generation is more often taken in by people offering luxury goods at knockdown prices.
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