26 Tips On How To Be Safe In Your EBay Selling And Buying

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The irony of eBay is that as it grows to be ever more successful, it draws the unsavory element of the internet towards it.
I'm talking about people who make it their business to attempt to defraud you and me in our eBay and PayPal transactions.
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s) Shill bidding
Shill bidding is where people work in cahoots to inflate the bidding on an item. A seller has a "partner" who makes bids on the seller's items with a view to bumping up the bid price. They have no intention of buying the item. Fortunately, shill bidders and their associated seller can be stupid. The shill bidder will usually makes bids on other items from the same seller. Here's how to check to see if shill bidding is a feature of a particular seller. First, look at the seller's closed auctions over the last 30 days. If most of the closed auctions have no bids, it is unlikely the seller has shill bidders working with them. If all of the closed auctions have bids, take a look at the bid history. See if the same bidder appears in the list of bidders, usually with aggressive bidding and normally at the start of the auction. If so, you may have uncovered a shill operation, so avoid that seller's auctions.

t) Keep your transaction information
Keep your own record of the transaction when you're buying. Don't just rely on eBay. You want a record of the seller's identification, the item description, and emails sent and received, plus the time, date and price of your bid.

u) "I noticed your bid...."
Never deal with anyone who contacts you after seeing your bid on another auction. They will say something like, "I saw you bidding on that digital camera. I have the same model available for sale. I don't have time to list it on eBay. It has more accessories than the one you lost out on. You can have it for xyz." If you bite, they'll probably take you down the fake escrow route. Also, if you entertain this proposition, you're operating outside of eBay and therefore have no auction protection whatsoever.

v) Changed eBay ID
Never deal with anyone who has a changed ID icon next to their name. This icon means they've changed their ID in the last 30 days. Few legitimate people change their eBay ID. When was the last time you changed yours? There's a 1% chance that an ID change is genuine, but 99% that it is fraudulent. Why take the risk?

w) Changed email address mid-stream
If a seller or buyer changes their email address on you in the middle of a transaction, stop dealing with them. It is likely their previous email account was closed down due to some irregularity - such as a previous victim reported them. If you think about it, why would any genuine buyer or seller change their email address whilst corresponding on a transaction they wish to conclude expeditiously?

x) Complications
Never get involved in any transaction where the seller/buyer tries to introduce a third person into the financial arrangements. They might ask you to pay xyz, who will then pay the seller, and you will receive a discount or commission for your co-operation. Such proposals are always fraudulent. They prey on greed. Don't be tempted.

y) Time is of the essence
This is a scam which is has more potential for success than traditional phishing attacks, as it is time sensitive. The fraudster searches for high value auctions that have just ended. The bid history for an auction contains hyperlinks to each bidder. The fraudster checks to see if the winning bidder is selling any items of their own. If so, they go to that auction and embed a request for payment from the first auction within a question for seller. This works because winning bidders are expecting request for payment shortly after an auction ends. A variation of this is to offer a bidder a "second chance". This time the "Ask the seller a question" email pretends that the real winner has backed out, and offers the item at a lower price. The buyer, believing the story, is lured into paying to whom they believe is a genuine seller. Many eBayers have heard of the second chance system, but have no experience of it. This unfamiliarity coupled with the fact that a few weeks might have passed, makes this an effective method for fraudsters. The moral of this story is never get involved in any transaction which arrives in your inbox via the Ask the Seller a Question feature.

z) EBay IDs
Never us your email address as your eBay ID, or part of your eBay ID. Fraudsters have software which monitors internet traffic looking for information such as this. If your eBay ID and email address are the same, it is simple for a fraudster to plausibly communicate with other eBay members in your name.

That's all in my list. If you have any further ideas on how to prevent fraudulent transactions on eBay, please let me know and I will promote these through future newsletters.

In the meantime, be aware, and be safe in your eBay buying and eBay selling.
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