Article: Spot fake listing on Craigslist & eBay

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by TwoCatDoctors, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    WIRED (they have magazine and are online)

    Spot a Fake Listing on Craigslist

    Most of these tips were derived from an interview with Craig Newmark, founder.

    Try to deal only with locals you can meet in person. If this is not possible, try to get a physical address from them. If the seller sends you a name and address to send payment to, look it up on a White Pages service, such as Yahoo! People Search. If the name and address matches a listing in the White Pages, that's a pretty good start. Also try looking up the person on a search engine like Google to determine whether any other information pops up about his/her reliability.

    Insist on cash. Fake checks and money orders are common, and banks will hold you – not the buyer – responsible.

    Never wire money to anyone under any circumstances. Most payments made by wire transfer are fraudulent.

    Craigslist plays no part in transactions. Any reference to craigslist “buyer protection” or “certified seller” is bogus.

    Use common sense. If an inquiry seems suspicious, disregard it. For God's sake, don't go giving out credit card numbers via e-mail!

    Spot a Fake Listing on eBay

    Many of the tactics you can use to spot Craigslist fakes can also be used on eBay. Buying items on the auction site is riskier than Craigslist because, as a buyer, you have to send your payment before receiving the goods. Whether or not the seller is actually going to ship the item you won is totally reliant on trust. And when it shows up, it may not be exactly what you were expecting. So to avoid getting burned, do your homework and side-step eBay's worst offenders.

    Examine Seller Feedback

    Is the seller reliable? Check their feedback score. Ebay assigns a community-ranking system to every user's profile. Reputable sellers will have overwhelmingly positive comments or messages from people they've done business with in the past. 100 unique comments is a good benchmark.

    Check Their ID

    If the seller doesn't have a high rating (or no rating at all) but you still want the item, check him or her out the old fashioned way. Look them up on the White Pages or using Yahoo People Search. See if they come from where they say they come from. Also, search for their name and/or eBay user name in Google. Maybe somebody's posted a positive or negative experience with the person in a forum or on a blog. This internet is a big place, so search deep.

    Test for Multiple Username Disorder

    Some sellers attempt to drive up the price of their own auctions by using sock-puppet accounts -- multiple eBay identities, all controlled by them. Check the seller's auctions that have already closed and see if the same usernames are continually bidding (but never winning) in his or her auctions. If you suspect a seller is using multiple usernames, contact eBay's SafeHarbor team and they will check it out.

    Price Check on Aisle WTF

    A Hi-Def camcorder for $100? Is that for real? Probably not. If the price you're being asked to pay for an item is unusually low, it's probably too good to be true. This only applies to "Buy it Now" prices, as opening bids for auctions will often be ridiculously low before climbing up to a more reasonable level.

    Also, if you receive an e-mail from a seller shortly after an auction closes telling you that the winning bidder defaulted and that you are now the winner, be suspicious. The seller receives a list of all of the bidder's e-mail addresses when the auction ends, so it's possible that the seller is trying to scam not only you, but some or all of the other bidders. It takes several days to default on a bid, so if it's been less than 3 days since the auction ended (the standard amount of time for a default), be wary.


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