Thursday, June 01, 2006

Scam, Fraud and Phishing

Scam, Fraud and Phishing – How To Avoid The eBay Plagues
by: Brigitte Jaeger-Dabek

If you surf around a little on the internet, you can’t avoid hearing of the countless people, that have been scammed at eBay. It seems as if scam, fraud and phishing mails have become the plagues of eBay nowadays.

It’s easy to complain about all those desperados and defrauders on a gigantic platform like eBay is one. The eBay empire is a hard to be controlled multi billion dollar business and a fun flea market at one time.

If you have been ripped off, in most cases you can kiss your money goodbye. It’s much easier and the best option to avoid being defrauded.

Being a buyer on eBay, it is essential to look at the feedback of a seller. Analyzing the feedback is helpful preventing scams. Sellers who have a large history of sales and a rating of about 98% positive feedback are usually professional to deal with. More than 2-3% negative feedbacks should be a red alarm. The same thing applies for those who do not have feedback ratings at all. But even if you are careful in this point, it is still possible that a scammer has hijacked an account that has positive feedback. Do your background research, knowing as much as possible about the products and the sellers is the best way to protect yourself.

As a buyer you should always make sure to have read the entire product description on an eBay listing. Things to look out for are disclaimers, damages, current item condition, and others. If this information is not specified, it would do well for the buyer to contact the seller regarding such. By the way: if the seller does not respond at all, take your hands off! The price is the next critical point. Think a bit about the value of the item you are interested in. Do a quick research on eBay and the internet. If the price for an item is too good to be true, it not only probably but certainly is. My advice: Auctions at outrageously low prices should be taken skeptically.

As a seller, you can easily avoid many scams with by carefully choosing your payment method among the existing payment processors. eBay owns Paypal, and in most cases accepting only Paypal is indeed the payment method you should use. In case of trouble this way the buyer must dispute a charge back through Paypal.

What you hardly can avoid as a seller is a buyers bidding scam. This type of scam is run with two cooperating separate eBay accounts. A very small bid is placed on your item using the first account. This is followed by a very high bid placed by the second eBay account. This high bid discourages other bidders Seconds before the bidding ends, the high bid is cancelled by the high bidder, leaving the low bid as the winning bid.This bidding scam you can only be avoided by setting a reserve price.The lowest bid that can be placed will be the same as the reserve price that you set.

As both a buyer and a seller, also beware of spoofed emails which appear to be from eBay. The email may claim that you need to verify your information, and ask you to login to your eBay account, using the link provided. If you follow that link, the site looks exactly like eBay, but it is actually a scam to get your eBay login details, as well as your credit card details.

In this connection, one point is obvious: the passing away of common sense. It’s a phenomenon not only on eBay, where more and more people disregard the most simple safety rules in handling their eBay-accounts – wether they are buyers or sellers.

Let us just look at this example: even if you have more than one email-address, would eBay ever use another than your registered email address to send you a members question? It is easy for you to checkl it. Just go to youre my-eBay-site and look, if there is a message for you. If not, delete the mail you’ve got or report it to eBay.

There are many, many scams and phishing mails which never would damage anyone, if folks would act only a little more carefully! So the most simple advice really is: be careful, use common sense and you will already avoid the majority of scams and frauds, wether you are a buyer or a seller on eBay.

Being precise:

- never, really never answer an email that seems to be sent from eBay by hitting the replay-button,

- never, really never click on a link in a mail you’ve got to log in to your eBay-account.

Take the time, type in the URL manually, log in and then proceed. This way you will avoid by far the most phishing attacks.

About The Author

Brigitte Jaeger-Dabek is a professional writer and has written the ebook “How to start selling on eBay”. She is selling ebooks on eBay and her website

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