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Ebay Frauds And Scams

Apr 9, 2008
There are an infinite number of outstanding deals available throughout the genres and categories of eBay at any given time. The number of ways an honest auction patron can find to profit from trading in the eBay community is nothing short of astounding. Profiting through participation in on-line auctions and trading can be a simple hobby, or a complex business. The bottom line is that there are no ends to the opportunities that exist and continue to proliferate.

Even so, as with any free market arena, there always exist a certain number of sociopathic individuals and groups of predators who lurk in the shadows and devote the better part of their mental efforts to the planning, preparation, and execution of tortuous, fraudulent, and criminal acts against unwitting members of the community. It is unfortunate to say that the Internet is brimming with scam artists and flim-flam fraudsters who use their technical expertise and the innocent trust and lack of technical know how on the part of the general Internet population to maraud, pillage, and aggressively steal everything from personal profile information, to cold hard cash. The total number of losses suffered by everyday Internet users is calculated at many billions of dollars every year.

One should always remember that the reason people get taken, ripped off, and "conned" by scam artists, is simply because the victim doesn't see the "con" coming. I say this and offer it to you as a caveat to keep in mind as you transact your business. If it comes to pass that you find you have become an Internet crime victim, it will be because you weren't aware of the fact that you were being duped by the scumbag you were dealing with as it happened.

There is not enough room here to delineate the vast number of scams and variations that currently mar the landscape of e-commerce. There are, however, some that are simple, common, and at times avoidable.

One common scam that you should be able to recognize from a mile away goes something along the lines of the following scenario:

You are the seller of a high priced item, perhaps an auto, or a piece of electronic equipment. Upon the completion of your eBay sale, the buyer sends you payment for the item, but when you receive the payment in the form of a personal check, or money order, the amount of the instrument is far in excess of the purchase price for the item you sold. A good example is a sale I held where I sold a camera for $1,200.00. The buyer sent me a money order in the amount of $3,400.00. Upon receipt of the erroneous security device, I immediately contacted the buyer to alert him to the SNAFU. It was then that he attributed the mistake to his incompetent personal secretary and asked that I simply deposit the note into my bank account, keep a sum of money that would cover the cost of his purchase and an additional amount to compensate me for the inconvenience. He went on to instruct me to withdraw the remaining balance of the overpaid funds in the form of a cashier's check, which I was to send to him via Fed-Ex along with the item he had purchased.

Alternatively, he suggested that I could also facilitate matters even more if I would be willing to have the overpaid balance of funds wired to him via a Western Union wire transfer. The entire matter was just a silly mix-up according to him. The local newspaper quoted an FBI spokesperson that week as saying that this was one of the most common and damaging scams that had been proliferating the on-line auction community for several weeks.

The big problem was when the check from the buyer was initially deposited into the seller's bank account, it was often times a common courtesy for the seller's bank to allow the seller to withdraw the overpayment and send it off to the buyer. Of course when the check ended up bouncing, the seller, who had already dashed off the funds to the scumbag buyer, was held liable for the entire amount of the bad deposit, along with the associated fees, and in some cases, sellers were even charged with felonious counts related to Forgery, Possession of a Forged Instrument, Theft, and a host of other life destroying criminal charges.

Scary? Oh, yes. True? Very much so. A good reason to stick your head in the sand and avoid the retail revolution of the new millennium? Heck no! But just as it goes with everything else in the big blue world we live in, you have to use your thinker, and be aware. Don't become so cynical you can't enjoy the benefits of this fantastic technological development. Don't go skipping down the Internet super highway without paying attention to the traffic either. And always strive to keep yourself informed.
About the Author
Increase your credibility...and your bottom line! Sellsi helps build trust in online auctions. By representing only the best eBay sellers, Sellsi has created a network of the most reputable merchants on the web. The Sellsi Seal instills confidence and adds credibility to the seller when displayed in eBay auction listings. It's an indispensable tool used to boost sales and increase positive feedback. Learn more at www.sellsi.com.
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