• Jun

    Beware of Internet Auction Fraud


    This is a great way to make money and to sell off old or unused items. It’s also a great business for many, but as with any enterprise, there are problems to watch out for.

    1. One of them is a scam perpetrated on sellers within PayPal. Someone buys and item, then later puts in a complaint with PayPal claiming the item doesn’t meet expectations or is defective. In many cases the buyer is refunded their money without returning the item to the seller who not only loses the item, but their money as well. Even if the complaint is legitimate, it can tie up the seller’s PayPal account for weeks (such an event happened to one of my colleagues).

    2. Another problem is when the seller doesn’t deliver what’s been promised on the auction or fails to deliver at all.

    3. When using Internet auctions, make sure you read the fine print to see how they deal with problems. Each site is different.

    4. When paying for the item, never use cash; don’t wire money, either.

    5. Don’t respond to emails that seem to be sent by an auction site. These are most likely phishing scams. See our section on phishing scams and how to deal with them.

    6. Make sure you can verify the seller’s identity/reputation. Never deal with a seller who offers you a better detail offline.

    7. Make a copy of each listing that you’re bidding on, if there’s a dispute.

    8. If you’re in communication with the buyer, make sure you keep all your email messages. You might need them.

    9. For expensive items, it’s a good idea to use an escrow service.

    10. Beware of fake checks. Never ship the item until the check has cleared your bank.

    11. Be aware of check overpayment scams, as well.

    © Nathan Segal 2013

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