How to Avoid Online Auction Scams | Ways to Avoid Auction Scams & Fraud

How to Avoid Auction Scams

When buying things at online auction sites it's important to avoid Internet auction scams. Scam artist are everywhere and this includes online auctions. When buying on eBay or any other auction site you should pay attention to detail and be sure not to fall victim to an auction scam. There are many different things to be aware of when buying online. Here you will find tips to avoid online auction scams and fraud. You will leave here ready to use your favorite auction site and feel confident in knowing you are taking the proper steps to avoid scam artist and con artist. you will be well on your way to save your money and having that perfect item from any online auction.

Sales by Auction! by George Cruikshank
Sales by Auction! by George Cruikshank

Ways to Avoid Auction Scams

Internet auctions are a great way to find deals on all sorts of products. You can find new and used items at auction sites. The sad part about buying anything online is that there are people out there trying to scam you and steal your hard earned money.

Scam artist are constantly looking for new ways to take advantage of unknowing victims and the Internet is no different than anywhere else. The Internet in fact has opened many doors to those looking to make a not so honest living. Always be aware of how you handle buying from online auction sites.

Consult the Better Business Bureau

Check out an auction site with the Better Business Bureau. If you find that a certain auction site is not a member of the Better Business Bureau does not mean that they have no information on the company. They keep tabs on some business even if they are not members and just because a business is not affiliated with them does not mean they are untrustworthy.

Doing a search with the Better Business Bureau on any company you plan to do business with is always a good idea. They force business to be truthful and reliable by holding them to a higher standard of product quality and customer service.

The Better Business Bureau Start with Trust

North American Scam Alert: Scams to Avoid

Become Familiar with the Site

Another good place to start is reading the sites terms of service. When reading the terms of service look for things like refund policy, buyer protection and seller feedback. The site might also include guides they have published or offer third party information on how to safely buy products on their site. After reading this information you may feel better about using their site to complate the purchase of the products that you seek.

Research the Product

When taking part in an online auction the thrill of competition can get you cared away and sometimes means you end up paying far more than the product is actually worth. a good way to avoid this is to do a little research on the product you plan to bid on.

Check multiple sites for prices and discounts. You may end up finding an item at a much lower price. The other sites you find the item on may even include a discount that is not applicable with the item at an auction site.

Is the Item New or Reconditioned

When looking for certain products at auction sites make sure you find out if the item is new, used or reconditioned. Used or reconditioned items tend to be cheaper than a brand new item. Some people try to pass off used or reconditioned items as new.

If you are unable to find information on whether or not the item is new and you want that item to be new you should probably move on to another auction and find this information there. In some cases however a used or reconditioned item can be a good buy. It's all really based on your expectations of an item.

Use an Escrow Company

After winning an auction you might want to suggest to the seller that you use an escrow service to complete the transaction. The way this works is the buyer first pays the escrow service. The seller then sends the product to the buyer. The buyer receives the product and verifies that everything is fine and the escrow company sends the money to the seller. If you receive the product and inspect it and find that it is not what was advertised you send it back to the seller and the escrow company sends your payment back to you.

There are many escrow companies out there but one of the most trusted and easy to use is You should find that they are the most reliable. Secure Online Transactions

Beware of Second Chance Offers

Although many second chance offers happen every day and are done legitimately there are scams that run and completely thrive on the second chance offer. In this case one of the best ways to be sure the second chance offer is legitimate you should check the sellers feedback and make sure they are a trusted online merchant. You should be cautious of sellers with a low or non existent feedback score.

Print Your Receipt

When you have completed your transaction print you receipt. This will give you physical evidence of what you have purchased in case any litigation takes place. You should do this anytime you make an online purchase. When you print your receipt make sure to place it somewhere you will remember and keep these types of items in the same place.

Print at least two receipts this way you can have a copy and you have a copy you can send back in case the person you are buying from requires the receipt with your return. Now you have proof that the purchase was made and the seller now has a copy of the transaction and can now send your money back.

More by this Author

Comments 1 comment

Ulf Wolf 6 years ago

Great post (How to Avoid Internet Auction Scams), great advice.

Perhaps I can just add to this that the best way I know to guard against being ripped off by online sales or auctions of any kind, Craigslist and eBay included—and whether seller or buyer—is to use a *bona fide* online escrow company. Especially for pricier items like antiques, jewelry and autos. Although it does add some cost, it takes the uncertainty out of the transaction, and that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

For my money, the best bona fide online escrow (and there seems to be ten fraudulent escrow sites for every bona fide one) is probably ( In fact, it’s the only one that eBay recommends, and is the only online escrow company that is licensed to provide escrow services all across the United States.

Take care,

Ulf Wolf

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article