Illegal Scams Prevalent on Auction Sites

Fair warning! Your "Buy it Now" Ebay auction is possibly going to be purchased by a crook wanting to commit a crime! Some sellers on auction sites such as Ebay are beginning to discover they are a target for an illegal scam. Best way to protect yourself as a seller is unfortunately by limiting your potential bidding market. If you are in the USA and you want to lessen your risk for the fraudulent offers then it's best to mark your seller options for only accepting bids and payment from US customers, and possibly Canada. Although there are many good buyers within the UK and other countries there has been an increase of inappropriate activity coming from numerous other countries.

If you are a seller on an auction site such as Ebay, (there was) a forum discussion which pointed out 10 red flags to watch out for. Although this specific forum discussion is from 2004 the information is certainly not out-dated as the problem is still very much alive on auction sites today.

The criminal activity is not limited to the Buy it Now type of auctions, but to all auctions. On auctions which do not offer the Buy it Now option, sellers are contacted by individuals who want them to close the listing early to accept an offer much higher than what the seller is listing the item for.

In the forum thread discussing the 10 red flags, there is a funny story where a crook wanted to purchase the sellers laptop for sale. I guess the seller figured two could play their game so the seller created a fake laptop from cardboard and shipped it to the address the buyer provided.

When encountering this sort of activity it is best to not respond to the prospects emails offering to purchase your item off the auction format. A better response is none at all and you should forward their email to the auction site with the persons user ID and let them deal with the individual. The auction site can then delete their registered user ID and block their IP address from registering under another ID.

If you are a seller online, sell smart and keep your eyes open for fraud. Never be so anxious to sell something that you fall prey to the illegal tactics that can plague an Internet site such as an auction website. Hopefully the next time you have a customer "Buy it Now" they are a legitimate customer to sell and ship to. Otherwise, watch out for phishy activity!

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