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As a seller, you can take steps to ensure your own success and to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of an online scam.
To become a trusted seller...
• When placing your ad, describe your product honestly. Is it new, used, or reconditioned? Is your asking price realistic and fair. Have you posted a photo of your item that portrays it accurately? Have you specified payment and shipping options? Have you provided the buyer with enough information to make an informed decision?
• Do not place bids on your own item to drive up the final selling price. This is considered fraud and is called "shilling".
• Contact the buyer as soon as a purchase is made to discuss payment and shipping options. Once you receive payment, promptly ship the item to the buyer.
To protect yourself from scam...
• DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts.
• Use caution with buyers who offer to overpay you. A common scam involves the buyer paying you more than you ask for and then requesting a refund. Unfortunately, the original payment sent by the buyer is usually not legitimate.
• Beware of buyers who are in a hurry to get the goods. Be certain that the payment has successfully gone through before you ship the goods.
• NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service, especially if you are the seller and should be receiving money. Anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
• When shipping your merchandise, purchase insurance and provide a tracking number to the buyer so both of you can monitor the delivery. This will protect you against buyers who claim they never received the package and request a refund.
• If a buyer gives you a cashiers check or money order, have your financial institution verify it and wait for it to clear before shipping the goods. Another option is to insist upon a check drawn on a local bank so you can visit the bank yourself to ensure the check is valid.
• Protect yourself by documenting all transactions with the buyer.