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Guide 2 Auctions   >   Selling Items   >   eBay & Avoiding Scams

Avoiding eBay Scams for Sellers


eBay is a relatively safe marketplace. Unfortunately, like most marketplaces, online or offline, there are some dishonest people out there, who will happily scam others. eBay tries very hard to prevent scams occurring, but with hundreds of million members, and millions of dollars moving through the site every single day, it's a Herculean task. With the best will in the world, and despite their best efforts, it's simply not possible for eBay to monitor and predict everything that scammers might do - so sometimes scams do occur.

As a seller, one of the best ways to protect yourself is by only accepting PayPal . This will eliminate the chances of receiving a bad check, and greatly reduce the chances of having the buyer dispute a credit card charge. Instead, they must dispute the charge through PayPal , and you of course will be able to prove that you shipped the product. Even so, you will not be able to prove that the product arrived in the condition that was expected - so if that is the point of dispute, you should require that the product be returned to you before a refund is issued.

A particularly nasty scam to be aware of is, is one where the buyer over-pays you, and then asks you to refund the difference. Typically they either claim to have done it by accident, or because they already have a check, banker's draft, etc., which can not be split. In reality, what happens is that the check or banker's draft is either forged or will bounce - eventually - but in the meantime they hope to not only get the goods from you, but also get money from you, as their "refund" for the supposed over-payment.

Another common scam that some buyers use is the bidding scam. This type of scam is used to get goods as cheapily as possible, while also driving legitimate customers away from your auctions. The way it works is that the scammer uses two separate eBay accounts with one person in control of both of them, or with two friends with separate eBay accounts working together. First a very small bid is placed on your item, using one account, and then immediately afterwards a a very high bid is placed from the other eBay account. The very high bid acts to deter other people from bidding on the item. However, just before the bidding ends, the high bid is cancelled or withdrawn, which leaves the low bid as the winning bid. Fortunately, you can stop this tactic from being successful very easily - simply remember to set a reserve price (which is of course the minimum that you're prepared to sell for).

The final type of scam to be aware of, are "phishing" scams. In these scams, criminals send out emails that pretend to be from eBay or PayPal (or your bank or credit card company) requesting that you log-in to a web site or otherwise verify or update your details. In fact, what happens, is that you get sent to a fake web site, that looks just like the real web site, but which captures your password and log-in details, so that these criminals can access your accounts! In reality, eBay , PayPal , banks and credit card companies do not send emails requesting you log-in, so if you do receive such emails, it's virtually certain that they are fake and somebody is trying to scam you!

There are of course many other types of ways that a buyer might try to scam or deceive you. So, while it's true that most eBay users are honest, you should use a litte bit of caution and be on the look out for suspicious activity. Don't be afraid to contact eBay directly if something is concerning, and you might also consider placing a notice on each of your auction pages, stating that you have the right to back out of the sale if you suspect potential fraud.


 
 
 
 

 
 
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