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Avoiding the Scams

The vast majority of eBay users are legitimate buyers and sellers and no one should be put off using the site by the occasional negative and sensationalised stories reported by the media.

However, it is inevitable that a marketplace the size of eBay will be a target of the occasional online fraudster. Being aware of the scams, staying alert and taking a few simple precautions should go a long way to ensuring that you don’t become a victim of any internet scams.

Both eBay and Paypal have lots of useful security advice on their sites and I recommend that you spend some time checking it out. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you avoid falling prey to the scammers.

Take good care of your passwords

If your eBay, Paypal or other online passwords fall into the wrong hands, your identity may be stolen and thieves and scammers may access your accounts.

Always use different passwords for eBay and Paypal and don’t use a password that would be easy to guess. A combination of letters and numbers is the best.

Change your passwords periodically and never reveal them to anyone else.

What is a Phishing Scam?

A phishing scam is a fraudulent, official looking email (or website) designed to trick you into revealing sensitive personal information. A spoof eBay or Paypal email will usually request that you click on a link which takes you to a cloned website where you will be asked to confirm your password and/or your credit card details. This email scam may include a fake story to grab your attention.

If you do receive an email which appears to be from eBay or Paypal, the safest way to respond is by opening a new browser window and logging into your account via their secure ‘Sign In ’ or ‘Log In ’ links, rather than clicking on a link in the email.

Paypal and eBay will NEVER ask you for your personal details such as full name, password or bank/credit card details in an email, so if you receive such an email it is certainly a phishing scam and should be reported to the site.

Buyer Beware

With millions of users on eBay there are inevitably going to be some who are less than honest. The feedback system on eBay is far from perfect but it can alert you to fraudulent or unreliable users. If a buyer or seller has a disproportionate number of negatives in their feedback, they are best avoided.

However, this is not foolproof as some dishonest sellers will just open a new account and start afresh. The safest way to go is to ensure that you only buy from sellers who have a good feedback rating and have been an eBay member for at least a few months.

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