Many folks wonder just how safe online auctions are? If you are one of those that want to shop or sell online, but are unsure if doing so is safe or not, you are a legitimate reason for your concern. Unfortunately, a number of people use auction sites to sell their junk as is. You don’t know if the merchandise is as good as the seller claims. Moreover, there are criminal that get on the online auction sites and use them to take advantage of buyers. They love to exploit people and make lots of money by way of their schemes. You can prepare yourself for such situations. It just takes learning some safety tips.
Before you even consider getting on any online auction site, understand the risks that are involved. Here are some risks you may encounter as you get on the auction sites:
- Unknown buyer: When you get on an online auction site like uBid, Webstore, WeBidz, and eBay, you will face buyers you have never seen or heard of. There is always a risk of ordering something, paying for it, and not getting it delivered to your door. These scams happen way too often. You have to alert to them.
- Hacker Attack: There is a chance that someone could hack eBay’s system, or any online auction site, and steal your account. Then they can run up massive purchases under your name. This is another form of identity theft.
- Sharing Information: There is always a chance you could share too much information to a seller, who in turn uses it against you; like paying for the product with a check or credit card.
- Getting Wrong Item: One such problem is ordering a certain item, only to find the item you received was not the right one. The item you purchased may have had a higher price tag than what you were told or bid on.
- Phishing Emails: One of the biggest issues that you may face is with receiving phishing scams. These emails appear to come from legit sources. They ask for vital or sensitive information and you have to click a link to supply that info.
Remember these common risk factors when you go online to an auction site. By remembering the above tips, it will help keep you safe and you check out the auctions. As you do check out auctions, watch the items you are interested in. Look at the bidding, the pace of the bids, and the time left in the auction. If you see an auction that goes from perhaps $5 to $250 in one large bid, that may be a sign of a scam.
Whatever auction you are looking at, read the terms of service carefully. Find out if the site charges fees to the seller or to the buyer. Read the terms to find out if the auction company has protections in place, and what steps you have to get protected in case something happens.
When you do sign up, don’t use your own name. Use a bogus name. Don’t put in your personal information, except billing, if you have to. Just provide the important facts and nothing else. When you do sign up, create a password that is very hard to figure out. Try to make the number of characters at least 10. Mix up the password with upper and low case letters, numbers, and symbols.
When you are ready to bid, research the seller (if you are a buyer), or the buyer (if you are a seller). Look at people that have good ratings on the system. Some auction sites allow you to give feedback on your recent purchases. See if the seller has any feedback. If you are a seller, check out the buyer to see if he pays for winning bids. Never deal with a seller or buyer directly. That is a clear sign of a scam.
If you follow the tips as described in this article, you will be better prepared and protected. You shouldn’t have to deal with any kind of negative stuff on auction sites. However, there are occasions when you may experience something you shouldn’t. Prepare yourself and you should have a pleasant experience with the auction site.