Planning on doing some buying or selling online? Wired offers some tips on how to spot scammers when you’re on eBay or Craigslist.
There are three types of sellers you should watch out for:
1. Sellers who never ship the merchandise. Look for at least 100 unique messages “attesting to the seller’s reliability,” and consider using either eBay’s own escrow services or a third-party one that you know is legitimate (i.e., don’t let a suspicious seller choose the escrow service).
2. Sellers who accept really low bids. It’s likely the seller is trying to scam you and other bidders with a too-good-to-be-true offer.
3. Sellers who use multiple usernames. You can report sellers you suspect of this activity, but it’s hard to prove, writes Wired. Regardless, you should drop out of the auction immediately if you suspect the seller may be bidding on his own item under another name.
You should also take the time to familiarize yourself with the security information on Craiglist and eBay, as well as check out OnGuard Online, a government-sponsored online security resource for consumers that covers pretty much every type of online activity.