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Online shopping and auction fraud

Many buyers discover problems with their purchases at online auction sites like eBay or Gumtree. For example, your merchandise is substandard or different from the one offered online. 

In addition, the site did not mention certain crucial details related to the goods or tell about the terms of sale in the advert. In such offers, once you bid, there is no way to return the goods offered or get the money back, or if you are selling, you are unsure if you can get a confirmed payment for your products. 

How To Protect Yourself?

  • It would be best to be careful not to order where you are unclear about the description. 

  • You can ask the seller questions if you are unsure of something. 

  • You should know the terms and conditions of the offering and read the dispute resolution policies carefully.

  • Do not click on the sellers ' links when you want to pay for the products; instead, pay through the site or a recognised service. 

How To Spot It?

  • The trader has a poor feedback record history and has set up a new account to avoid a poor reputation. As a result, you are getting private messages to buy below the current bid rate. 

  • If you find an expensive item for sale, it is offered at an incredibly low rate. 

How Does the Scam Happen?

  • The online auction marketplaces post products and seek bids from visitors where the scammers use certain websites to advertise their non-existent or low-quality offers to get bidders. If you order such products, you may never get the orders or arrive late after multiple communications with the sellers.

  • If you try to sell, you cannot get the payment, as the buyer gives excuses like they do not know the transaction mode or ask the seller to deliver items first. In addition, some victims were asked to send IDs or, passwords or financial information to the sellers, who use such details to defraud the client. 

  • Some sellers redirect the page to another website that appears like an auction site but is created by criminals to capture your payment and private details. 

  • You should always check the website links and the address carefully to avoid paying to bogus sites. 

  • Sometimes, you get spoofed emails that look like authentic payment sites where you are registered, but the site is created only to get customers' specifications. 

  • For example - They send messages that your account has been suspended and could be activated once you fill in the passwords. Do not follow links from suspicious websites or emails that redirect you to your banking site.

  • Do not accept cheques from visitors, as the one who accepts is liable for lost or stolen cheques. Also, do not accept payment for more than you should get; otherwise, you must refund the excess amount and provide your bank descriptions to the other party. 

  • If you face any criminal issue or fraud, report it to the authorities. 

How To Protect Yourself?

  • The visitors to auction sites are not obliged to pay anything unless they place a bid. There is no obligation as a buyer or a seller before you bid.

  • Read all the terms and conditions in the process carefully before placing your bid. You should be aware of the transactions involved, or you can get insurance for the purchase and the shipment.

  • Determine if the seller is reliable if you are interested in any offer. Check the business characteristics of the sellers on various authorised websites. Search their address and examine the reviews and feedback on multiple sites.

  • The mode of payment should be consistent, and one should know how to get the payment if you are selling any service or items. In addition, you should know the procedure followed by the website if you want to file a complaint or get the payment if the buyer refuses to pay.

  • You can pay through a credit card to get the payment reversed if anything goes wrong.

  • Ask for a warranty and also find out about unexpected costs. Do not provide any of your ID-related information to the seller.

Date Published: Sep 15, 2023

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Cybercrimes can be of two types. First, it can be cyber dependent, where the fraudsters use online devices to convince the victim to accept their offers.

Advance fee fraud

If you are trying to get a loan for a house or a car, they ask to meet the provider to get the financing arrangement and pay the finder's fee in advance.

Corporate fraud

Corporate frauds can be complicated, committed either by the firm or an individual. Nevertheless, it mostly involves cheating where the employee or the firm.

Individual fraud

There are many types of individual frauds related to advance fees, investments, insurance brokers, bogus tradespeople, Ponzi schemes, pension liberation.

Online fraud

Hence the number of cases of online fraud is increasing each year, and most such cases include – account takeover, direct frauds, or scams related domain names.

Identity fraud and identity theft

The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.

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