According to the FTC, online auctions are one of the worst internet scams, separating the most people from the most money.
Fraud runs rampant in the area of online auctions and you have to constantly be on your guard for anything that seems fishy. This is an ongoing and unscrupulous way of separating good but unknowing individuals from their money. I wanted to talk more about this scam and following are some very good tips to follow when dealing with individual selling items at on-line auction sites.
Immediately report any scam or fraud to the hosting auction site. They all want to know when certain individuals are fraudulently misrepresenting themselves or their products on your site.
Make sure you pay for your items with a money order or via one of the on-line payment processing sites. Do not under any circumstances send a check to someone you do not know and is not a nationally recognized company. If you do you have to realize you may have just given your account number to a thief. This could result in all money in the account being electronically deducted.
“Second Chance” scams
Second chance scams involves the runner-up in an online auction being offered the chance to purchase an item that they had bid on. The reason given for this opportunity is the winner of the auction dropped out for whatever reason. What’s really happened is this: a scam artist scans the auction site for big ticket items such as jewelry, cars and electronics. They grab the name of the second highest bidderand shoot them an email in which they pretend to be the seller of the item and make the second chance to buy offer. This scam is tough to spot because you know you were the second place bidder and this offer sounds perfectly reasonable.
The tip off that should make you question the offers validity is when the seller asks you to wire the money. PayPal isn’t the only way to pay for auction items but it’s certainly one of the best. If someone tells you the only way to pay for a second chance offer is by wire you should think twice. Wiring funds to purchase an item acquired online is always risky. You can also use the auction services email or message system to initiate a message. That way you’ll know where the message is going and where the reply is coming from.
Use online escrow services
For a small fee an escrow service can be used to finalize the transaction. This escrow company will accept the buyer’s payment and then will send the payment on to you when the item has been delivered and inspected. This is especially worth paying for if the item you are purchasing is rather expensive. The escrow companies can usually be found by doing a search at the auction site.
Never accept checks as payment
If you are selling merchandise on an on-line auction site do not accept checks for payment under any circumstances. Accept cashiers checks, money orders or payment via one of the on-line payment processing sites.
Before you place a bid on an item check the feedback section on the auction site, and read what comments have been posted about the seller. How many transactions have this individual done and is it all positive. This holds true if you are the seller also.