Avoid Online Auction Fraud by Following These 5 Simple Tips

By following a few simple tips, you can auction fraud from happening to you

There are bargains and deals galore at online auction sites. There are also frauds galore. Avoid becoming a victim by following these 5 tips.

Tip #1 -- Buy from Top-rated Sellers

If possible, buy from top-rated sellers. Most seasoned auction sites have a rating system for their sellers. For example, on eBay the top sellers have a blue ribbon by their name. This lets you know the seller has a good track record with the site and is a dependable seller.

Check the auction you're interested in and see if they have any type of rating system or a comment section where disreputable sellers are reported.

Tip #2 -- Know What You're Bidding On

If you're bidding on an object or product, you're going to be familiar with it. But with online auctions, you need to take it one step further. Do some comparison-shopping. Know the going price. Check to see what warranties and guarantees the product has.

Be sure to ask what's included in the price. Many times auction pictures are deceiving and show additional objects in the picture that aren't included for that price.

A common trick is to auction off only the box of an object. For example, when Nintendo Wiis first came out, some unscrupulous people auctioned empty boxes off. If you read the fine print, it was legal, but very deceiving.

Tip #5 -- Don't Get Personal

Never give the seller any personal information. On reputable auction sites, there is no need for sellers to request your social security number, bank account, or driver's license number.

Tip #4 -- Beware of Phishing Thieves

Auction sites are popular for phishing thieves. These individuals will surf the auction site and send fake emails to bidders telling them they won the auction. The emails look authentic and professional, but they're not. The thief will request you send payment in some other way than through the auction site and will most likely have an excuse ready as to why you need to do this. Only make payments through the site.

Tip #5 -- Use Credit cards

The safest way to make purchases through online auction sites is with a credit card. With a credit card, you'll have more protection if problems occur. If you pay with a credit card and the merchandise isn't up to par or you don't receive the product, you can with hold payment.

Buying from online auctions is both and economical. By surfing auctions sites, you can often find some great deals. Before you place a bid on the great deal, review these tips and stay safe from fraud.

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