Popular online auction sites, such as E-Bay, offer buyers a multitude of benefits such as finding rare and discontinued items, money savings opportunities and the ability to sell your own items. Just make sure you purchase items from a reputable seller or else you may end up paying for nothing. Check out the FBI’s list of tips to avoid Internet Auction Fraud.
Here’s what you should know:
- Understand as much as possible about how the auction works, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller’s obligations are before you bid.
- Find out what actions the website/company takes if a problem occurs and consider insuring the transaction and shipment.
- Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an e-mail address. If it is a business, check the Better Business Bureau where the seller/business is located.
- Examine the feedback on the seller.
- Determine what method of payment the seller is asking from the buyer and where he/she is asking to send payment.
- If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.
- Be cautious when dealing with sellers outside the United States. If a problem occurs with the auction transaction, it could be much more difficult to rectify.
- Ask the seller about when delivery can be expected and whether the merchandise is covered by a warranty or can be exchanged if there is a problem.
- Make sure there are no unexpected costs, including whether shipping and handling is included in the auction price.
- There should be no reason to give out your social security number or driver’s license number to the seller
“Tips for Avoiding Internet Auction Fraud” are directly from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website