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Home > Risks > Internet Auction Fraud

Internet Auction Fraud

Auction fraud is one of the fastest-growing crimes on the Internet. Although it can take many forms, the most common types of auction fraud involve either a seller failing to send an item, or sending an item that is significantly different from what was promised in the auction listing.

Auction fraud occurs on eBay, Yahoo Auctions, and all other auction sites. You can find information on the latest forms of auction fraud at FlipShark.com.

The best protection you have against Internet auction fraud is your own common sense.

The following guidelines can help you to avoid auction fraud:
 

  • Check the seller's feedback at the auction site. Since feedback generally takes a few days, be wary of feedback dated immediately following a sale — it may be fake.
  • Be careful of sellers outside the United States, because they are not bound by U.S. laws. If there is a problem with quality or delivery, you may have no one to complain to.
  • Transfer money through an online escrow service (such as PayPal). Most auction sites maintain lists of these services. Before using any such service, however, google the name of the service and make sure they are legitimate
  • Be careful of sellers outside the United States, because they are not bound by U.S. laws. If there is a problem with quality or delivery, you may have no one to complain to.
  • Alternately, you can use a credit card. Credit card payments protect the buyer, because you can dispute the charges if the goods are misrepresented or never delivered. Cancel the card immediately if you suspect fraud.
  • Never buy anything from a seller who asks for payment to be mailed to a P.O. box.
  • Never wire money to a stranger. Although wiring money is safe (in that the money will arrive at the destination), there is no way to track it once it has been picked up. A criminal can show fake identity, collect the money, and you'll never hear fom them again.

For more information, read the Federal Trade Commission's Auction Guide.

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