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Playing It Safe On eBay And Other Auctions!
It's fun, it's exciting, and it's rife with fraud. Knowing how to buy and sell carefully can save you money and aggravation.
For buyers, check the seller's feedback and location. Do they have any negative feedback? This isn't always bad, since things happen, but see what they were selling at the time, and where. A vendor could have 1,000 positive feedback points for selling $2 knick knacks, but a couple $250 PCs they sold never arrived. Be wary of a new seller. Everyone has to start somewhere, but someone with 0 feedback points selling just about anything for half its value may not be the most reliable source.
Never send cash, or wire money with Western Union, as they are basically untraceable. Many sellers ask for Money orders only, which are difficult to trace or get refunds. If your seller is reputable, there is no problem. Be very careful dealing with international sales and escrow services. An escrow service is supposedly a middleman for a transaction. You sent them the money, they tell the seller the money's there, and to ship the item. You then tell the escrow service you got the item, and they release the money to seller. Simple, safe? Not necessarily. A current scam is where the seller sets up a bogus escrow service and asks you wire the money using Western Union, or another service. They then take the money and skip. By the time you realize there's a problem, they're long gone. The scams are usually on big-ticket items that would commonly be escrowed.

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