Be On Guard When Shopping Online

There are many types of online auction frauds, but the most common is where you send in your money and get nothing but grief in return. Or they may take your money but send you a faulty or worthless product instead. Fraudsters can also pretend to be selling a product — often very cheaply — to steal your credit card or bank account details. The anonymous nature of the Internet allows criminal element to look respectable enough to impress a potential victim a false sense of security.

Common Tricks

Most online auctions and shopping platforms take measures to protect deals from scam, that is why scammers will often try to get people to make a deal outside the auction site. They may say that the auction winner has pulled out, and then offer the item for sale to you. Once they get your money, you will never hear from them again.


If you are a seller, the scammer can enter a low bid followed by a very high bid under another name. Just before the auction closes, the high bid will be withdrawn and the scammer’s low bid will win. When you are buying an item, the fraudster can arrange for ’dummy bidders’ to raise the price up.

Handful online shopping scams include the sale of a product that does not live up to its claims. It may be a miracle cure or weight loss product. It is virtually impossible to get your money back.

Danger Signals

Use your common sense. The offer may be a scam when:

  • An item is offered at a very low price.
  • A seller have a very poor rating on an auction website.
  • You are offered to complete the sale outside of the auction site.
  • A seller requests immediate payment, or payment by electronic funds transfer or a wire service.
  • A shopping website does not provide adequate information about privacy, terms and conditions of use, dispute resolution or contact details.