This is going to be my second post on scams. Earlier I had posted how I was about to get scammed in the posts how to avoid charitable donation scams. Last week I was reading a scam story, where a buyer bid and won three iPhones at a cheap price. The seller had good reputation and 100% positive feedback. Seller was throughout very quick to respond. Read what happened next on the here.
The story motivated me in to writing this topic for today. A little help to prevent fraud happening in your life. Everyone likes a good deal – especially on items that tend to be more expensive, like jewelry and collectibles. As such, more people are turning to online auction sites like eBay to find these kinds of great deals.
But the trouble with buying online is that there are unscrupulous sellers out there, and you need to know what to look for. Here are some tips to avoid scams when buying jewelry and other collectibles from online auction sites.
Only Use Reputable Sellers
The first thing to check when buying online is to only use reputable sellers. People who sell jewelry online, or other collectibles, know that their reputation is everything. If a buyer is going to shell out thousands of dollars, they want a sense of trust. And online, that all comes down to feedback.
Make sure that you only deal with sellers who have a positive feedback rating over 98%, and who have transactions under their belt. An example that could be a scam is a new seller, with only one or two transactions over the last week. Most sellers who sell collectibles will have lots of transactions over several years.
Also, look for sellers who have sold expensive items before. This can give you a sense that they know what they are doing. If the seller has only sold $10 electronic accessories, and is now listing a $5,000 diamond ring, this could be a red flag. The bottom line is that you should check the feedback profile carefully.
Look For Verification
Most sellers who sell coins or other collectibles of high value usually seek out verification to give buyers confidence – for example, getting a PayPal verified seal. This can give confidence that the seller has provided additional identification to eBay and their payment processor PayPal.
Verify the Description and Pictures
After checking the seller out in-depth, you need to do your due diligence on the item being sold. Even reputable sellers could inadvertently post something that is not legitimate. When buying something, look at the pictures in detail. Most sellers of high value items will post a lot of pictures and be sure to highlight all the key features. There should also be a description to match.
If something is not clear, make sure you ask for clarification. Honest sellers will provide a quick and appropriate response, where as scams will probably not answer at all, or just point you back to the listing. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t buy it!
Read the Policies
Finally, make sure that you understand the sellers policies. Reputable sellers must include a return policy per eBay guidelines. The more honest sellers will clearly post it, and make sure that the buyer knows it will be honored.
Also, make sure that you check the shipping and handling policies as well. Reputable sellers charge fair shipping and handling prices, where scams sometimes post very high “handling” charges for small items. Make sure the shipping and handling makes sense.
Read items Description thoroughly
Read each and every word on the item, does that look fake? Does the description look genuine. Does the picture of the item look real to you? If possible go to the manufacturer page and try to find out if there’s any difference between auction sellers description vs. manufacturer’s description. Any mismatch can raise a red flag!
At the end, always remember the thumb rule, if it seems too good to be true it definitely is. Wikipedia has a great resource on internet fraud, reading which I really feel that today’s scammers are brainy people, if you neglect a little bit, you’ll be scammed.
You can get enough information about avoiding scam on this federal Gov. website.
Readers, did you ever face a fraud or a scam? Want to share your experience?
Daisy @ Add Vodka says
I have been part of a scam for a brand that is frequently ripped off; I should have known better but I was young and dumb and just wanted to spend my money. Luckily, ebay and paypal gave me my money back.
eBay buyer protection is unparalleled. And I would only buy from eBay as auction site in future. I never was scammed but, this may happen to anyone anytime. Curious to know the thing you mentioned though.
Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity says
It’s like the old saying goes–one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. People can have drastically differing views on things. Like what one person describes as “gently used” may be “ruined” to another.
I haven’t used an auction site in the longest time because I just don’t have the time to sit and watch as the final seconds count down, trying to secure my win against snipers who come in at the last second attempting to steal the item.
You may try to bid for items which are about to expire. I stole quiet a few perfumes in the process, although they had “Sample Piece” written over it. Often I did find eBay auction as fun
Edward Antrobus says
Ebay was fun when it was primarily individuals selling to individuals. Now it seems to mostly be mass produced generics sold my online companies.
Millions are now living on eBay. Many small scale industries are no thriving on it.
RichUncle EL says
YEs I hear some bad stories of online auction sites, too much risk out there and no one watching out for the consumers. Places like Quibids peddling information that people can win an xbox for $6 dollars or an Ipad for $25, come on are those people serious. Just gets me mad.
Interesting, never been on quibid, its insane price! Making fool of non suspecting consumers.
Ornella @ Moneylicious says
I can’t say I’ve been part of an auction scam. I will say that Lazy Man and Money has wrote up extensive articles on this subject. You might want to check him out, too.
Yeah I know Lazy man and Money is famous for his scam related articles. Didn’t read this one, surely will. thanks for stopping by
Just this week I got an email from a nice lady who wanted to gift $6.5 million to me AND to charity. How about that, huh? I onlyhad to send her a cashier’s check for $5k to clear a few things up…
Great tips, as usual, SB!
I bet that was not a gmail account. Google now has spam filter specifically developed for scam emails like this, they’ll always go to SPAM folders. I did win way too many lotteries so far, all mega millions 🙂
Andrea @SoOverThis says
eBay actually has pages that help you tell if a lot of popular items are real or not. I used their guidelines a few years ago to buy a hair straightener and I was so glad I did – if I hadn’t looked, I would have bid on a fake one!
I also check the feedback ratings of the people who leave feedback for the seller. If many of them are brand new to eBay, it could be a set of fake accounts to inflate the seller’s feedback rating.
Tie the Money Knot says
I don’t use auction sites anymore, so I guess abstinence is the best way to avoid unwanted consequences! 🙂