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Tips to Avoid Online Auction Fraud

While most buyers and sellers on internet auction sites ... there is always the threat of ... fraud. Auction sites have had ... of sellers posting pictures ofitems for sale, only

While most buyers and sellers on internet auction sites are
honest, there is always the threat of underlying fraud.

Auction sites have had instances of sellers posting pictures of
items for sale, only to include in extremely small print that
buyers are only bidding for the photo rather than the item itself.
When the photo arrives in the post and not the product, buyers
are obviously outraged.

Steps to avoid online auction fraud

1)Check seller's feedback

One of the best ways to judge a seller's honesty is to check his
or her feedback. Most buyers will give feedback on a sale,
rating the seller in the seller's Feedback Profile. If the feedback
is negative, it will be very difficult for that seller to buy or sell
anything on that auction site in future. Check the seller's
feedback and if it is not overwhelmingly positive, do not buy.

2)Find out seller's contact details

Before you enter into a deal, try to establish contact with the
seller. On eBay you can search information on a member by
visiting the Find Members page. If you can get a phone number
or an email address, you have a better chance of solving any
future problems. You could establish contact with the buyer by
requesting further information about the nature of the product
in which you are interested.

3)Payment Methods

Credit cards are the safest way to buy anything online for the simple
reason that, in the case of fraud, most credit card companies will
cover the cost. Online payment services such as PayPal and FastPay
are also popular with auction site users because of their safety.
These are account-based systems that send money via credit card or
bank account.

4) Use an Escrow Service

For higher priced items you should consider an escrow service.
An escrow service acts as a middleman between the buyer and
the seller to ensure a fair transaction.

The escrow service holds the item and the money until the buyer
has inspected and approved the goods. Only then does it release
the money to the seller.

The only downside is that it will cost the buyer extra to use this
service. However, it is something to bear in mind when buying
more expensive items.

5) Complaints/ Fraud Protection

Most online auction sites have a complaints' procedure.
For example,if you're unhappy with the goods or you have not
received them, Ebay operates a fraud protection program. For
more information go to :

FlipShark has a useful site on internet auction scams.

The US Federal Trade Commission has a useful guide for
buyers and sellers on internet auctions which has relevance
to other countries.

To sum up, most buyers and sellers on internet auction sites are
honest. However, if you use the above tipsComputer Technology Articles, you should not fall
victim to auction fraud.

© 2003 John Lynch

Visit for a
FREE extensive auctions course on how to start a successful
online auctions business.

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