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The Fight Against Fraud
Online Fraud Resource Center
We hope that by educating people about
fraud, we can make Cyberspace a safer place to do
bidderssite.com Recommends Only Purchasing from our
Verified Users. You can identify a verified user when
next to the sellers username.
wire transfer money to people you don't know,
including people you "met" on an auction site or
someone who "hires" you from overseas. See Western
Union's Web site FAQs about Consumer Fraud:
In the Event that a Fraudulent User is Detected By
Users or Staff They Will Be Displayed Here:
If you received any bids or
emails from this person, disregard and report the
actions to our support staff for proper credit.
HOW AUCTION FRAUD OCCURS
Both consumers and merchants can
be victims of online auction fraud. Here are some ways
that fraud occurs during or after an online auction.
Failure to deliver goods.
The seller places an item up for bidding that does
not exist of fails to deliver merchandise after the
buyer purchases it.
Nonpayment for delivered
goods. The seller sends the merchandise to the
highest bidder in good faith but fails to receive
merchandise. The seller gives false information
about the item, or attempts to deceive the buyer
concerning its true value.
Instead of a flat rate for postage and handling, the
seller adds separate charges for postage, handling,
and the shipping container, causing the buyer to pay
more than anticipated.
Fake bidding. The
seller bids on his or her own item, or has someone
else bid, in an attempt to drive up the price.
Credit card fraud. The
seller uses the buyer's name and credit card number
for fraudulent purposes, or the buyer uses a
fraudulent credit card when purchasing an item.
Black market goods.
The seller offers goods that are stolen and/or
copied (e.g., software, music CDs, and videos).
Often they arrive with no warranty, instructions or
Bogus escrow services.
After the auction, the bogus escrow service receives
payment from the buyer and pockets the money and
disappears rather than transmitting it to the
PREVENTING ONLINE AUCTION
Understand how an online
auction works before you bid on merchandise. What
are your obligations as a buyer? What are the
seller's obligations? Does the auction site provide
insurance that covers buyers up to a certain amount?
How would the auction site handle a dispute between
buyer and seller?
Don't judge by initial
appearances. It can be hard to validate a seller's
claims about the value of an item, and descriptions
or photographs on websites can be misleading. Know
as much as you can about the item you wish to
Investigate the seller as
much as possible. Be wary of sellers who provide
only an email or post office box address. Check the
seller's feedback rating if available on the auction
site. Call the seller to see if the phone number is
working, or send an email to see if the email
address is active. If the seller is a business,
check it out with the Better Business Bureau.
Contact the seller before
bidding to find out what type of payment is
required, when you can expect delivery, what the
return policy is, if the merchandise is covered by
warranty, and if shipping and delivery are included
in the price.
Try to pay the seller
directly with a credit card, so you can dispute the
charges if the merchandise does not arrive or was
misrepresented. If possible, avoid paying by check
or money order.
Consider using an escrow
service or alternate payment service if purchases on
your credit card are not disputable or the goods are
not covered by insurance. Make sure the escrow
service is licensed and bonded; fraudulent escrow
services might pocket your money and disappear.
Protect yourself from
identity theft by not giving out such personal
information as your social security number, driver's
license number, or bank account numbers, as sellers
do not need this information.
Do not send your credit card
numbers electronically unless you know for sure that
the website is secure and encrypted.
REPORTING ONLINE AUCTION
File a complaint within 30
days after the listing end-date using our
Report Suspicious Activity form.
Notify your local and state
law enforcement officials.
Notify law enforcement
officials in the perpetrator's town and state.
Fill out the online complaint
or call the Fraud Hotline at 800-876-7060, 9 a.m. to
5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through
File a complaint with
an innovative, international law enforcement
File a complaint with the FTC
File a complaint with the
Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), a
partnership between the National White Collar Crime
Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of
File a complaint with the shipper USPS
File a complaint with the National Fraud
File a complaint with the
Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org)
although this one seems to be rather useless, unless
the suspect is a BBB member, other than to maybe
warn others if they take the time to actually check.
National Fraud Information:
Federal Trade Commission:
National White Collar Crime Center:
Auction Fraud Resources
Fenton Smith's Site listing Fraudulent Escrow
Identity Theft Resources
FTC Site on Identity Theft
Mari Frank's Site on Identity Theft (for-profit site)
Identity Theft Resource Center
Hoax Emails/Phishing Scams
Associated Press Article