The Compete Encyclopedia of EBay Frauds, Scams, Cons, rip-offs and Other Crimes:
Part 2: Ten Important Ways to protect yourself from criminals on EBay
If you have now completed Part 1,
which is "Ten Common Scams, Cons, Frauds and Rip-offs on EBay", you now have
some idea of what you are up against. In this second part, I'll go into detail on some
techniques you can use to make sure you don't become a victim.
Don't forget that there is no honesty test which sellers must take and pass before they can sell on eBay. In fact, sophisticated eBay criminals dont even waste the time to tap the keys and sign up when they create phony identifications for themselves. They use computer programs called bots (short for robots) to create phony identities on eBay by the hundreds. One tell-tale sign of these phony bot created identifications is their weird and random names. Real sellers typically have names like bigbill037 or fredscollectibles. The phony bot identifications are nonsense things like mqncpfbh or tkxwovzs. Be sure to watch out and be extra careful if your sellers name is some strange random string of letters and numbers that sounds nothing like any name in any language. This is actually a very important tip to remember as phony identities are the beginning of most crimes committed on eBay.
So how much crime is there on eBay? Well it depends on how you count crime - and when eBay counts it, they do the statistics to their benefit. Many frauds are not reported because the person scammed is embarrassed, some are never even recognized. Though real, these types of cases are never counted. As far as the total number of fraudulent auctions, it is likely less than 1% of the total auctions on eBay. However it is still very significant and accounts for nearly 60% of all reported internet fraud. Here are 10 rules you can follow that will do a lot to keep you out of trouble.
1. Never buy from anyone who has been registered on eBay less than 1 year. Thieves are in a hurry. Waiting a few weeks or a couple months to gain a good appearance is something they can accept. Waiting over a year is too long for most as they are just too greedy to wait. Yep, you will miss a few good deals by following this rule but you will be safe as well. Better to be safe than sorry.
2. Never buy from anyone with fewer than 100 positive feedbacks as a seller (and not less than 1000 positive feedback if the seller is operating from a third world type country). EBay suggests you use feedback to help identify real and phony sellers. Unfortunately, with the rampant fake identities on eBay, generating fake feedbacks is also no problem. Even without fake feedback, it is easy to buy on eBay and get 50 feedback as a customer. There are many items that sell for less than 50 cents, so if you're going to steal thousands of dollars each from hundreds of people, and hopefully make $20,000 to $50,000 or more, then investing 25 bucks on getting decent feedback for your phony account is worth your while. To protect yourself, you want to make sure the seller has 100 feedback as a seller. So let the other guys take the risk to be the first to buy from a new seller you wait until the seller has a proven track record. Make sure your seller has a good and reliable track record before you make a purchase. You will note that I am also recommending that you look for a MUCH higher feedback number from all dealers located in developing nations. Are all dealers from these countries dishonest? Of course not, but there are enough that you need to be wary and the dishonest ones do not have a big red blinking notices on their sales offerings letting every one know of their shady intents. Again, as in rule number one above, you'll miss out on a few good deals but you will also miss out on becoming a victim.
3. Always make payment by paypal or other credit card. Never pay with any of the following Cash, Check, Money Order, or Western Union or any other direct cash transfer. Payments by Paypal or other credit cards allow you to reverse your charges, so that if your are defrauded you can request that the credit card take the money back out of the sellers account and give it back to you. They will do so even and reverse the charges even if the seller refuses to give you a refund. This allows you an important layer of protection from thieves, and this is why few thieves will accept credit cards in any form, paypal or otherwise.
|4. Use your Common sense. Dont just blindly trust your seller - be skeptical. Know
there are crooks on EBay looking for gullible individuals, and that there is always a
potential for problems. Getting defrauded for several thousand dollars over the internet
is a very expensive lesson in common sense and a class you dont want to pay
the tuition for! Real antiques, gemstones, jewelry, gold and silver items don't sell
for a few pennies on the dollar of their real value. If it sounds too good to be true, it
almost always is. Be conservative with your money and play it safe.
5. If you ever get asked by an eBay seller to complete your transaction off eBay, run for the hills. If you stick your neck out far enough, you'll find your head will likely get chopped off. Once you are off eBay, you are totally on your own. Especially beware of second chance offers to complete the deal off eBay, as this is a common way to scam buyers. You may hear all kinds of stories as to why the seller just can't complete the transaction through eBay - some even sound pretty realistic. However, this sort of request is the hallmark of eBay criminals. Here is my advice: If you originally found the seller on eBay, you must complete the transaction with him on eBay. Never agree to take the transaction outside of eBay.
6. If you find an eBay advertisement for sale, and the verbiage on the advertisement says not to make a bid but to contact them or do something else, run for the hills this is a standard fraud technique. There are many conmen using eBay to find dupes for their illegal Pyramid schemes. After all, eBay is the site where people go to get something for nothing - or at least almost nothing. As a conman, what better place could you go to find new folks to rip off? So if you see an offer that tells you not to bid, but to do something else, just turn away and ignore that offer, no matter how good it sounds.
7. Never log on to PayPal or eBay through your e-mail system. Always logon only through PayPal directly or through your “My eBay” page. Phishing emails can look very realistic and sound just like legitimate contacts from eBay. These very slick appearing letters look completely authentic in every way - if you don't scan them for every detail you may well be taken in. What they do is require you to log on to do something (whatever they are tricking you to do) when you log on, you are giving them your password. They can then use your account and place phony items up for bid, chance you settings so your money is sent to them, etc. The one thing about these phony emails is that after you've logged in and given them your password you will not be taken to the eBay site you expected - you will be dumped somewhere else. This is the red flag that you have just been scammed. If you make a mistake, and give your password to these criminals, you have a matter of minutes to go quickly to the real eBay website, log on and change your password before the con artists get there first. I was fooled one time, and I was lucky enough that I realized what had happened, went to my settings on eBay, and changed my password before the thieves could take advantage of my mistake. To avoid all these problems, NEVER log in from an email. Only log in to respond directly from your “My eBay” page or paypal account page. In the same way, second chance offers should never be considered except by going to your “My eBay” page and reading any offers in the mail there.
|8. Absolutely use an escrow service
for all high dollar transactions. This
is not necessary
for $10 or $50 kinds of transactions, because there are some significant fees charged to
use the escrow service. However, if you are going to risk upwards of five hundred dollars
or more on purchasing laptops and expensive computers, diamonds, gold, or other very
valuable items, you want to use an escrow service to ensure you get what you paid for.
EBay offers an approved escrow service that holds payment according to instructions agreed
to by both the buyer and seller until the buyer is satisfied with the transaction. If you
do make such a purchase, be sure that any expensive jewelry or valuable antiques you are
purchasing are verified as genuine by an expert that you find and hire dont
take the sellers word for it or trust their experts. The eBay escrow service is easily
accessible right through eBays own web page. Never spend more than $500 on any
purchase without using the escrow service - this is an extremely important tool to prevent
you loosing big money, so protect yourself. Don't make any exceptions to this rule. Any
legitimate eBay seller offering high dollar items will know this process and agree to use
it with expensive purchases, and no crook would ever even consider using it. Use EBay's
approved escrow service and no others - there have been a number of eBay scams based on
phony escrow services.
9. Never, never, never, give out your personal information. This includes all credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers, driver's license numbers and the like. No one from eBay will never ask, via e-mail, for information such as a credit card number or an e-mail password. Many eBay crooks will try this by sending out thousands of phony emails, and once it a while they catch someone off guard. I was once asked by one of my buyers to give him my bank account number so he could transfer money into it. He was located overseas, and absolutely refused to pay for the auction he won by any other means. I realized he was trying to steal money and refused. Even though I did not take the time to report him, he was banned from eBay very shortly thereafter. The sale did not go through, but my bank account was not emptied, either.
10. Always read the fine print, and the full terms of the bid offer. There is a whole raft of eBay sellers who will put an item genuinely worth say $30 up for bid on an auction at $1, while hiding in the fine print the fact that they are charging $25 for a shipping and handling fee. People then bid up the item to say 20 or more dollars, thinking that since it's worth 30 they are getting a great deal. Only afterward do they read the fine print to find out shipping and handling is an additional $25, they will have to pay a total of $45, and they have been scammed. Sometimes these guys will give a refund, but the fine print says the won't refund the exorbitant shipping fee. Always be sure to very carefully read all the details of the sellers return policy legitimate sellers ALWAYS offer a money back guarantee of your satisfaction and reasonable, normal business terms. If the seller wont accept returns for full refund, then there is no question that you don't want to bid on those items or do business with that seller.
now you know some methods to help you have safe and secure purchases on eBay. To
Learn more about what you need to do if you've already been ripped off on eBay see my nest
part on page 3,
" Page 3: 5 Things to do if you've already become a victim of crimes on EBay "
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