Buying and Selling Online Without Getting Scammed

Home Now that that the Canadian dollar has reached parity with the American counterpart it has become even more popular to buy goods from American sellers from online auction like eBay or online classifieds such as craig’slist to get great deals on things that are ether unavailable or substantially more expensive in the local marketplace. Scam artists have made a home wherever products are bought and sold on the Internet.

The most common way that buyers get bilked out their money is when the seller collects the money and just doesn’t send the product. It may be difficult to spot a scam just by reading an online auction or classified listing because some of them are so well written. However most small time scammers are easy to spot because their listings don’t have pictures if there are pictures the are stock photos taken from other web sites. Scammers often will not provide too many details about the products that they are trying get people to buy. A vague description without a picture or a very poor picture should always be considered to be red flags.

The worst things to do when agreeing to buy an item that wasn’t well described in the listing is sending the payment with a money order or a cheque, by the time the buyer realizes they are not going to get the item they thought they were buying the scammer has made off with the victim’s money. Using online payment services such as PayPal is much safer because online payment services offer insurance so that if a transaction goes bad the buyer can get their money back. Credit card companies also insurance to protect people who fall victim to online fraud.

To get the product that has been paid for, the only protection that is available is vigilance, read auction and classified listing carefully, make sure that there is a picture that is clear, in focus and properly exposed. Check the seller’s feedback rating, if there an excessive number of negative feedbacks are a sign that you should skip the ad listing. Look at the listing for comparable items, if a listed price a lot lower then other similar items then will seem to be too good to be true and it is.

Sellers are not immune from scams. Many times that people put something up for sale and somebody offers to buy the item. When payment arrives it’s a check for an amount that is several times that of the selling price of the item. The seller asks for the check to be cashed and the difference sent back to the fraudulent buyer. The seller cashes the check and sends the item and the money. It is soon discovered that the check is a forgery and it’s the seller who has lost both the item and the money they thought that they would be making from selling the item.

Just as in buying, vigilance is required to prevent getting taken in by a scammer. When listing an item for sale, make it clear what forms of payment accepted, and if the buyer isn’t willing to use an online payment service then don’t be afraid to say money order only because money orders have better anti-counterfeiting technology than checks. For items sold through online classifieds then sellers have the option of offering items to local buyers only. If a check is received for more than what item is being sold for, then send the check back to the seller and make arrangements for some other form of payment.

While there has been a lot of attention given to scams happening in the online marketplaces but there have been scams happening in more traditional places that used items are bought and sold. Be careful and you can get terrific bargains and make money from your used stuff.

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