Fraud is rampant on the internet. Like a scourge, it eats away at shoppers pocketbooks with no looking back. Beware the common signs of internet shopping fraud.|
I'll tell you a story of shopping for an item myself. It all began about a week ago. I havn't used Ebay for a purchase, or any auction site before, so it was new to me. I knew the Fraud existed, but had no idea how widespread or huge a problem it had become.
In shopping for my item, I searched the major retailers first, direct from the manufacturer, from an authorized Amazon.com store, and then I decided to check Ebay to see if the prices were any cheaper. I was astonished what I found. It was as if I'd walked into a black market with a BMW selling for a Yugo (with free shipping).
My fraud indicators went into high gear, and the first rule "it's prolly to good to be true". Well, I don't like that rule, and persited with questioning the so-called merchants. I didn't limit myself to Ebay either, and also tried Yahoo Auctions, as well as UBID, and other private "so-called" stores.
In the past two weeks, I spent a good 24 hours reporting fraud. I was personally responsible for shutting down about 50 so called merchants. I must admit my skills as a programmer and as an internet technology guy helped, but common sense can help those not skilled or knowledgeable with programming or hidden internet techniques.
When shopping on an auction site, beware of the following:
Item seems way too cheap
Seller is new or fairly new, and has not sold the item or a similar item before.
Seller wants payment by only Money order or Cashiers Check
Seller doesn't live in your country.
To expand on the above, follow your instinct and gut feelings, and by all means investigate. Can't find a phone number or address for the seller? Bad news. Seller has a website that looks legitimate but has only been up for a week (use netsol.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois - to find this out)? Bad news. Seller doesn't answer all your questions in an email? Bad news.
While you're out there helping yourself, try and help out the next guy. Report what you think is fraud to the fraud teams of your local law enforcement, or Ebay, or Yahoo. Help out the other guys.
Don't worry about Sears, WalMart, Amazon, ToysRUS, CompUSA, or the big boys - they don't do fraud - you're safe to shop with them - they're tried and true.
Who knows, in the past 2 weeks I may have even helped some of you. I know I helped myself, and I wasn't taken by any of the fraud I encoutered. I hope this holiday season none of you shoppers will be either; just exercise caution and use that built in intution you all have.
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