eBay Scams -- 23 Stay-Safe Tips To Keep You Out of Trouble

The do's and don'ts of online auction trading, plus a list of other eBay scams to beware of: Internet Scambusters #322

With up to 20 million items on sale at any one time, and tens of billions of dollars changing hands every year, eBay scams are a real risk for anyone involved in online auction trading.

But, by observing a handful of safeguards and knowing where the greatest risks lie, you can reduce or even almost eliminate your chance of getting scammed. In this week's issue, we list 23 stay-safe tips.

But first, we urge you to take a look at these top articles from our other websites:

How To Prove That You Have Been A Victim Of Identity Theft: Things you can do to assure your bank and authorities that you have been a victim of identity theft so you can get the help you need.

What You Should Know Before Opting For Credit Card Forgiveness: Find out how credit card forgiveness can work for you and against you.

The 3 C's of Photo Sharing: Creative photo sharing requires that you take these few simple tips to heart.

Is A Lawn Tractor What You Need This Spring? It is never too early to be thinking about whether or not getting a lawn tractor is right for your lawn care needs.

And now for the main feature...

eBay Scams -- 23 Stay-Safe Tips To Keep You Out of Trouble

You only have to do a quick search of Scambusters articles to discover that eBay scams are one of the biggest categories of online fraud. See this article on online auction scams, for example.

Trying to discover the scale of the crime is a different matter. The company itself doesn't publish statistics but has claimed in the past that only 0.01% of transactions result in a confirmed case of fraud.

That may not seem like much, but when you consider that at any one time there are between 18 million and 20 million items on offer, that still works out at up to 2,000 potential scams on the go right now, as you're reading this!

In the UK, 8,000 eBay related crimes were reported to police in 2007. And last year in the US, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaints Center (ICCC) said that more than half of all online fraud complaints were about auctions.

And that's not the only problem. In addition, every day, crooks send out hundreds of thousands (or perhaps even millions) of bogus emails, pretending to be from eBay. Most of these have links to eBay look-alike pages, which are used to phish for sign-on and other personal information.

To be fair, the online auctioneer, which has more than 200 million members and sells tens of billions of dollars worth of stuff on a couple of dozen sites worldwide every year, is doing a good deal to cut the risk of scams.

For instance, it has its own downloadable anti-fraud toolbar, and people who sell what are regarded as high scam-risk articles, like computers, can no longer insist on cash or check payments; they must also accept PayPal or a credit card.

It encourages the use of its own PayPal payment service, which keeps credit card information away from prying eyes.

The firm itself also offers lots of advice, including tutorials on how to avoid being conned. Using this and other security information sources, we've pulled together a list of 23 eBay stay-safe tips.

Follow this advice and you'll substantially reduce or even almost eliminate the chances of becoming an eBay scam victim.

First, here are the things you must ensure you do...


Now, for the things you should make sure you DON'T do...

In addition, here are some pointers of eBay activities you need to be aware of...

Beware of:

Despite these guidelines, there's always a risk of you or someone you know being caught by an eBay scam. As soon as you suspect, report it to eBay and to PayPal (if the service was used). eBay has dispute services.

And as soon as you know for sure, tell your local law enforcement authorities and report it both to the ICCC and the consumer watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission.

There's an old phrase that's been used in the world of commerce for centuries. In legal jargon, it's called "caveat emptor." To you and me, it means "buyer beware." With eBay, the same rule also applies to sellers.

If someone or something seems suspect, it/he/she probably is. Always remember and apply that, and follow our tips, and you'll be a long way down the road to staying safe when you trade online.

That's all we have for today, but we'll be back next week with another issue. See you then!


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