How To Help Protect Yourself From Online Fraud
By far, most online auction transactions are pleasant and end in a positive way. Only a very few result in fraud. People use a variety of schemes to try to 'scam' others on the internet. To help prevent even this small percentage from happening, we offer some basic tips to use as guides to avoid fraud as you are selling, bidding and buying on OnlineAuction.com.
NOTE: Be very cautious of members contacting you by O-Mail to purchase an item that is 'urgently needed' by money order. When communications are very general and vague, scammers could be using these communications to get contact information or use counterfeit money orders to receive goods. Here is an example of these letters:
i am interested in purchase of your item and i will be making payment right away,and item is needed urgently,i will be l also be paying you for the item through western union money order (auction online payment).i will like to ask if you would be able to ship as soon as order is approved and confirmed by western union auction payments,this is item is needed urgently due to the fact the demand is high in our store,and so i will like to complete the transaction in a very timely manner way.if you can do this, email me with your name, contact address and your phone number so that we can proceed with payment right away and please mail me the total amount of the item including the shipping cost
If you suspect you have received this type of letter, do not respond to the member, but please contact us at email@example.com
with the member's user name so we can research and respond as necessary.
- Always be friendly but aware and cautious of the bidders on your items. Check the feedback of the bidders, and if they have a high percentage of Negative feedback (you set the amount you are comfortable with), be extremely cautious.
- When an item sells at OnlineAuction.com, the seller will receive an email notice with information about the winning bidder. If the winning bidder is a 'Verified Buyer', a 'verified' address for the buyer will be provided. If the buyer provides an address to send the item to that is different from this address, use caution. This 'verified' address is given to help protect the buyer and the seller in the case that another person could be using the buyer's 'User ID' name fraudulently.
- At the end of your auction, never ship your item before payment for it is received. Waiting for a personal check payment to 'clear' (about 10-14 days) is always the safest. Be aware that there are phony money orders, personal checks and even cashier's checks that a fraudulent buyer can use. If a payment you receive looks funny or you are in doubt about it, ask your bank about it.
- If the seller accepts credit cards, the billing address of the cardholder is verified by your merchant account company. This is the 'safest' address to ship to also. If the buyer provides a different address to ship to, it allows for potential fraud. Be very cautious if you ship to any address other than the verified billing address of a card.
- If the high bidder is foreign, be cautious but do not always turn them away. There are many great buyers from all around the world. Unfortunately a few particular countries are known for a large amount of scams, which include Indonesia and even Russia. Sometimes abbreviations for countries are unknown and what looks like a legitimate country may not be one at all.
- One suggested 'safer' method of payment from overseas is an International Money Order and hold item until you are sure payment clears. Another popular payment type from overseas is a wire transfer. The safest way for this to be done is to set up a specific account to only accept wire transfers. As soon as the payment arrives in this account, transfer it to your 'normal' account so money cannot be taken out of the 'wire transfer' account if someone was to use your account number without your permission.
- For large, high dollar purchases, contact the buyer for information on their bank. Contact the buyer's bank for a 'reference' about the buyer.
Other Valuable Tips For OnlineAuction.com Members
- Check the feedback of the seller of the item(s) you are interested in. If they have a high percentage of Negative feedback (you set the amount you are comfortable with), be extremely cautious or do not bid on that seller's items.
- If the price on an item (usually a high dollar item), looks way too good to be true. BE CAUTIOUS, it probably is and could be a fraud or scam. If you do become the winning bidder on an item such as this, be sure to verify the seller's address (as discussed directly below.)
- If you are the winning bidder of an item at OnlineAuction.com, you will receive an email notice that you have won that particular item. Part of the information provided in this email is the seller's address, that has been 'verified' through the seller's credit card to be a valid address for this user. If the seller provides an address to send payment to that is different from this address, use caution. This 'verified' address is given to help protect the buyer and the seller in the case that another person could be using the seller's 'User ID' name fraudulently. Check other tips below...
After an auction closes successfully, OnlineAuction.com sends an 'End of Auction Notice' email to both the seller and the successful bidder of the item. In this informative email, OnlineAuction.com also provides 'verified' addresses of sellers to buyers and 'verified' addresses of Verified Buyers to sellers. OnlineAuction.com encourages you to check this address provided and compare it (if necessary) to addresses you have received in other communications with the seller/buyer of the item of interest.
Use caution in sending a payment or the merchandise (whichever side of the transaction applies to you) if the address is not what you received in the 'End of Auction Notice' email.
*NOTE: If a buyer is not a Verified Buyer, no address will be provided to the seller at the completion of the auction. Sellers can restrict their auctions to accept bids only from 'Verified Users and Buyers' using the Verified Auction
option when listing an item.
If you encounter any form of fraud or suspicious activities on OnlineAuction.com, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible so the activities can be prevented quickly. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org