Avoiding Auction Frauds

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Various tools exist to protect eBay members, especially buyers, from fraud.  The three tips below can help you protect yourself in your eBay transactions.

Review eBay guides. eBay provides a great deal of help and advice for common frauds within its help system. If you visit the eBay Reviews and Guides Home page and enter “fraud” in the search box, you’ll find over 600 guides on buying and selling items in almost every eBay category, including tips on avoiding fraud in that category. Other websites, such as AuctionBytes also offer help to members in avoiding auction misconduct and fraud.

Use Escrow.com. An escrow service sends a buyer's money to a seller only according to agreed-upon escrow instructions. Even though such services are not involved in dispute resolution, they often help to avoid disputes between buyer and seller when it comes to big-ticket (over $100) items. Beware of fraudulent escrow services, however. The only eBay-authorized service is escrow.com.

Buy from BuySafe sellers. BuySafe is a bonding service that guarantees a buyer will be reimbursed in the event of fraud or any other nondelivery issue with a seller. Buying from a BuySafe-bonded seller is a guarantee that you will not lose money on the transaction (at least up to $25,000). BuySafe’s seal, and the accompanying statement “Bonded Seller, Protected Transaction Guaranteed to $25,000,” can be used only by sellers who meet BuySafe’s standards. BuySafe issues its surety bonds through a surety company, Liberty Mutual, and the qualification process for sellers is rigorous.

Note: BuySafe urges buyers to click on the BuySafe seal to make sure that the merchant actually is bonded. When you verify a BuySafe seal by clicking on it in the item listing, you should see the URL http://www.buysafe.com/verifyseal.asp in your browser address bar.

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