Over 44 percent of all Internet fraud complaints are about auctions according to the FBI's joint Internet crime center. What is even worse is that according to Michael Ford, President of Elite Minds and eBay safety expert, "...almost every one of these complaints could have been avoided.
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Five Mistakes Ebay Members Make

If you do not know how to identify fraudulent auctions then you will be a victim. The only question is when.

Over 44 percent of all Internet fraud complaints are about auctions according to the FBI's joint Internet crime center. What is even worse is that according to Michael Ford, President of Elite Minds and eBay safety expert, "...almost every one of these complaints could have been avoided. Yes, I am saying that almost every fraudulent eBay auction can be avoided."

The biggest problem new members on eBay face is a lack of information. They are able to join and be scammed in under 20 minutes without realizing it. New members do not know how the system works and professional criminals take advantage of this by leading them into well planned con games where the new member loses their money and possibly becomes a victim of identity theft.

New members should never:

1. Pay by a means that does not have buyer protection.
2. Focus on a great bargain while losing touch with reality.
3. Click links or run Trojan programs sent by email.
4. Bid without knowing how to check a seller's history.
5. Join eBay and immediately try to buy or sell anything.

New members frequently do not have a PayPal account to make payments and they may actually prefer to deal with someone who requests payment by check or money order because those are payment methods they understand. PayPal and Credit Cards give the most buyer protection. Scammers often request payments by Western Union, Bank Transfer, check or money order because they can run off with the money and never ship anything. New members should only pay by PayPal or Credit Card.

New members join eBay and find a great deal on something they want. Then they are afraid of losing that great bargain. The fear of loss takes over and they will do foolish things that they would never normally do to avoid losing their perceived bargain. Criminals often sell items just to obtain information from buyers.

The crooks offer items they may not even have and then use the auction as an excuse to collect information from the buyer including name, address, credit card number, and even social security number. You should never have to give any information to a seller other than your name and address so they can ship your goods.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Criminals often list popular items like vehicles, electronics, and laptops at too-good-to-be-true prices hoping to snare new members who do not know better. Never focus on a good deal ahead of good judgment.

Crooks prey on fear and confusion. They will send fake email messages claiming your eBay or PayPal account has been compromised or there is some other problem and you must click a link to login. The link then takes the unwary member to a spoof or look-alike website that looks like eBay or PayPal but was actually setup by the crook.

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