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Don't be a Victim of Online Auction Fraud
By Stephen Bucaro
The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) reported that
last year 7.7 million dollars was lost through online
auction scams. The actual losses are much greater. Most
auction scams are not reported because they involve only
small amounts of money.
Most auction Web sites are aggressive at fighting fraud.
eBay has a fraud investigation unit that has helped them
hold down fraud to only .01% of its transactions. If you
paid for an item and never received it, or if you received
the item but it was less than what was described, eBay's
Fraud Protection Program will reimburse you up to $200,
minus a $25 processing charge. In order to qualify for
Fraud Protection coverage, you must submit an Online Fraud
Complaint with eBay after 30 days and before 60 days from
the time the auction ended.
After making a purchase, buyers can leave feedback about
their experience with the seller. Before you bid on an
item, check the seller's feedback profile by clicking on
the number next to the their User ID. There is also a
feedback forum and discussion board.
Below are a few actions that you should take to protect
yourself from Internet auction fraud.
- For a high cost item use an escrow service.
- Avoid sellers who request payment by electronic transfer.
- Never provide your Social Security Number or Drivers
- Verify the delivery data and the sellers return policy.
- Review the online feedback on a seller.
- If the seller is a business, check with the Better
Business Bureau www.bbb.org.
- Prefer sellers who accept credit card payments. When you
use a credit card to pay for a purchase, federal law
limits your liability for an unauthorized charge to $50.
You can also request your credit card issuer to make a
- Be cautious about buying from a seller in another
country. If you buy from a seller in another country,
understand the difference in laws governing auctions
between that country and the US.
If you become a victim of Internet auction fraud, you can
submit a complaint report with an online form at the
IFCC Web site www.ifccfbi.gov. The IFCC will review your
complaint and refer it to the proper law enforcement
Internet Auction fraud is a large and growing problem.
Take the measures outlined above to prevent yourself from
becoming a victim.
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