Even though there are more auction sites that have been popping up over the past few years, there are several scams that involve eBay, Inc. that people often fall prey to. Needless to say, it is very easy to create a fictitious eBay account because anyone is allowed to sell anything on eBay these days. Very little, if any, precautions are taken by eBay to assure that all the auctions go through smoothly, therefore, you are left up to your own defenses to protect yourself and your assets.
The first eBay scam involves the use of purchasing unreal objects. In other words, you may be intrigued by an auction listing that seems peculiar and you bid on it just for the fun of it. Some of the more bizarre auctions that have been listed on eBay include a lunchbox full of cash, a boxful of snow, and some other select auctions that play on the intrigue and curiosity of other people. You actually may very well end up winning the auction and paying the price that the auction was ended at; however, the object, no matter how fun or interesting it would seem to be, it simply does not exist. Usually you are given the run-around after you purchase such an object and are assured that your auction object is in the mail. However, the best way you can avoid this type of eBay scam is to use your common sense and realize that if something sounds too good to be true (i.e. a boxful of cash) then it usually is!
A second eBay scam involves not the use of an auction, but through the use of a simple email that is sent out by scammers. You are sent an email asking you to verify your eBay account information. The link that is included in the email may very well be a legitimate link that you are asked to provide your details to, but what you might not know is that you are giving your eBay account details right into the hands of a scammer. However, eBay's policies will tell you that they don't use email to ask for your account details and to avoid such suspicious email activity. Another way to avoid this eBay scam is to type in the link that is provided in the "authentic" email manually into your web browser; by doing so, you will often find that the specific website does not exist. The scammer is only hiding their fraudulent site with a cover-up of a real one.
Two other eBay scams come in the form of payment arrangements. The first involves an escrow service. If you are selling some item on eBay and the winner (the potential scammer) wants you to use a payment escrow service before he or she gets his or her winning object intact, use that as your first red flag to stop the business deal. Often the scammer will require you to use her or her escrow payment account that he or she has already set up. However, more often than not it is a fake account anyway and you are only going to send the scammer the object you sold without a real promise of any money.
Another eBay payment arrangement scam involves the use of Western Union. Even though using Western Union is often used as a payment form, some people take advantage of this fact and use Western Union to only scam those who do not know enough about it. However, the scammer (in this situation he or she is the seller) requires you to send them a payment through Western Union before you are sent your winning auction item. However, once you send Western Union there is no way to get back that money, and the scammer knows this. They take the money through Western Union and run instead of sending you your winning item.
Both of the Western Union and payment escrow scams involving eBay can be avoided by having strict regulations and rules when it comes to being paid and making payments. If one is not satisfied with the many forms of payments that you accept then it would be wise to not make the business deal at all. Furthermore, standing your ground against those who demand that you use an escrow service or demand that you pay by Western Union may just be looking for their next victim.
Being aware of all the ways that one can be scammed through eBay should shed light on the fact that one should do everything in his or her power to prevent those things from happening. All of the ways that have been mentioned above in preventing eBay scams will go a long way to ensure that you and your eBay account is thoroughly protected!