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Online Auctions

Online-auction customers lodged more than 20,000 complaints with the Federal Trade Commission in 2001. Such complaints are the second-most common filed with the agency. The Internet Fraud Complaint Center said auction scams account for 43 percent of all reported online fraud.
  • Check Feedback, Check a Seller's Recent Selling History, Check Seller's Advertised Location, Read the Description
  • It is common for fraudsters to boost their feedback ratings by buying and selling inexpensive items, like recipes.
  • If the seller received feedback from the buyer the same day the auction ended, it's suspicious.
  • If the seller has sold 50 identical new-in-box ibooks in the last month and nothing else, it is likely a scam.
  • If the seller is listing NEW laptops with a Buy-it-now price that is more than 10% below retail price it is likely a scam.
  • In general, do not buy anything expensive from a seller in a different country.
  • If your seller does not accept credit cards (either directly or through an online service like Paypal or Billpoint), then be very very careful.
  • The eBay average is one negative feedback for every 168 positives; Anything higher than 1% negative is a warning sign.
  • Installing any commercial software without the CDs is usually software piracy.
  Online fraud growing - Dec. 2002 InternetNews article  - Internet Fraud Resource Center 
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Online/mail order buying tips

Consumer fraud against retailers

According to an 2002 Gartner Survey,
"Credit card fraud causes e-tailers to lose about 1% of their transaction volume and sales revenue, while e-tailers reject 6% of consumer purchase requests because they appear suspicious. Gartner analysts note that 6% of sales equals $950 million in revenue for the fourth quarter alone.

The e-commerce leaders surveyed admitted that they mistakenly reject about 2% of total sales, costing them $315 million in sales."

Internet fraud rates are about 10% higher than brick-and-mortar rates. Many cases are from stolen credit card numbers.
"From a financial perspective, the merchant pays the most for these types of theft. By law, U.S. cardholders are responsible only for the first $50 of a fraudulent transaction, and MasterCard and Visa recently waived that requirement for online commerce. "

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