Shop More Safely In Online Auctions by fanzhongqing


									                                          Shop More Safely In Online Auctions

     Most auction transactions go smoothly, but auction fraud does occur.
     You might never receive the item that you paid for, or the item that you have received might not be what the seller promised.
     You might even discover that a seller has stolen your personal information.
     Fortunately, you can follow these tips to help avoid auction fraud.

1. Do research on the auction Web site.
      If you have never used an online auction Web site, read the site's Help file before you place a bid. Make sure you understand the
site's privacy statement and its user agreement.
      For example, after you place a bid, most auction Web sites require you to pay for the item if you win, even if you no longer want
the item or decide that your bid was a mistake.
      Check for insurance and guarantees. Some sites reimburse your money if you have been scammed.
2. Do research on the seller.
    Ask for a telephone number and verify it. Be wary of sellers who ask that you send payment to a post office box instead of a
physical address.
    Many auction Web sites track a seller's history and encourage comments from buyers about sellers. Ask questions before you deal
with sellers who have no comment or sales history.
3. Do research on the item you are interested in.
    Learn about an item before you bid on it. Find an expert on that particular item and ask the expert to authenticate it.
    Compare prices with other auctions or online stores regarding similar items. Ask questions if an auction price is considerably
lower than what you can find elsewhere.
4. Watch for items with shipping dates that exceed 20 days after receipt of payment.
     A delayed shipping date could be a sign of fraud.
     Many auction Web sites require sellers to ship items within a certain number of days after payment. Check the site's user
agreement to find out if the seller is compliant with the site policy. If the auction does not specify an estimated shipping time, contact
the seller. If the seller does not give you a straight answer, you should consider bidding elsewhere.
      Hint: Before you bid, ask sellers if they plan to ship your item using a parcel tracking service. If your shipment is delayed
          you can contact the seller, who can tell you exactly when your item is due to arrive or can give you the tracking information.
5. Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, especially around the holidays.
   An auction with a starting price much lower than other auctions of similar items might indicate a lower quality product, or it could
mean the item was stolen.
6. Never be lured from the auction Web site with the promise of a better deal.
     You might receive e-mail messages from strangers offering items similar to those which you have recently bid on, but at a lower
price. Some scammers use this technique to entice people away from trusted auction sites. Know that when you leave the site, you are
no longer protected by the site's privacy and security policies.
7. Choose a safe way to pay.
          Use a credit or charge card that offers cardholder protection, or a third-party payment service like PayPal, which shields your
           credit card number from sellers.
          Never use debit or ATM cards, checks (even cashier's checks), money orders, or wire transfer services (such as Western
           Union or MoneyGram).
          Be wary of requests for bank or wire transfers and sellers who want to be paid in foreign currencies.
          Hint: Be cautious of sellers who are inflexible about payment options.
8. Question sellers who ask you to send payment to an address that is different from the one in the auction.
    Some fraudulent sellers change the payment address or other details after you have won the auction. Always question these
changes, and if the sellers will not budge, report them to the auction service.
9. For expensive items, consider using an online escrow service to act as a mediator that holds your money until you
   receive and approve of the seller's item.
    The terms of escrow should be agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller. Check the classified Web site for its
recommendation, because some escrow services can be set up to commit fraud.

Shop More Safely In Online Auctions                                Page 1                                               Thursday, April 15, 2010
10. Never respond to unsolicited requests to update your account information.
     These e-mail messages might be scams used to steal your identity.
     Most legitimate companies never send unsolicited e-mail or instant message requests for your passwords or other personal
information. If you receive a request like this that you think might be legitimate, contact the auction site directly (not through the
message you received) and ask for confirmation.
11. Protect your account with a strong password.
    Strong passwords are easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess. They are at least 14 characters long and include
upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Learn how to create strong passwords.

  What to do if there are problems
     First, ask the seller to make things right. If that doesn't work, contact the Web service for help.

Shop More Safely In Online Auctions                                 Page 2                                               Thursday, April 15, 2010

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