Are you an eBay seller? If you have been conducting your business in this widely popular online auction site, then chances are, you would’ve experienced some fraudulent activities perpetrated against your enterprise. Scam artists are everywhere, it seems, and the sheer anonymity provided by the World Wide Web makes the virtual world a paradise for all sorts of unscrupulous folks.
Condemning them is one thing. But you do need to positively act on the real perils of getting scammed. You have take some precautionary steps and adjust the way you operate your online business to minimize, if not completely eliminate, the risks that these scam artists present.
Let’s enumerate the more famous, or should we say infamous, of these eBay scams and discuss some ways by which you could avoid them.
* Bid shielding. Bid shielding greatly compromises the profit you could derive from your auctions. Bid shielding occurs when a bidder uses two eBay accounts. One account would bid a low price for your auction. The other account would bid a very high price for the same, thus dissuading other people from competing for the same item. When the bidding period nears its end, the second account would withdraw his bid, leaving the first account to win the item at a very low price. Bid shielding gravely jeopardizes the integrity of eBay itself. This is why the site promptly acts on any reports about possible occurrences of this scam. Pinpointing possible bid shielding is quite easy. If the current bid is grossly higher than the most recent bid, then bid shielding is probably in operation. Report it immediately to eBay, so that they could conduct an investigation while the auction is ongoing. Additionally, add a disclaimer on your auction, allowing you to cancel any winning bid whenever bid shielding is apparent.
* Bad checks. If you will take checks as payment for your auction, then you will have to live with the danger of encountering checks that would eventually bounce because of lack of funds. The solution to this scam is simpler than the rest. Do not ship your items until the checks you received have cleared. It’s the most prudent course to take. Add a notice in your auction that payments made through checks would have to clear before the items can be delivered. This would serve as due earning for your bidders that they would have to wait longer for the auctions they have won.
* Stolen payment information. Credit card fraud is rampant these days, what with new hacking technology and the abundance of spyware all over the internet. A winning bidder may pay you trough a credit card which is not his. He’ll ask you to ship the item to a P.O. box. Once the item is delivered, he’ll then close the P.O. box address to cover his tracks. And you’re left with no means to retrieve what you have lost. The best way to protect yourself against credit card fraud is to require payment from confirmed addresses only. Since PayPal accepts credit card payments, you could easily inquire from the service if a payee has entered a verifiable address. You have the option to cancel the bid of someone who’s not paying with a confirmed address.
* Drop shipping scams. There is no denying the popularity of drop shippers in the eBay business. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, wants to contact a drop shipper to increase his eBay offerings and profit. Some “enterprising” individuals have started to offer a list of drop shippers in eBay itself, as one of the many auctions in its pages. But eBay warned against these lists. 99% of them, according to eBay, would be filled with junk details like broken links, outdated information, and even fabricated entities. The solution? Do not purchase these lists. Look for your own drop shipper. You’d realize that finding one would only entail a little research of your own.
For many of us, eBay offers great income streams that serve us well. We must strive to protect the opportunity we have been given by being vigilant against scams and combating them through the implementation of precautionary measures for our every auction.
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