National Consumers League

Personal Finance

Hot Topics in Personal Finance

Online auction scams: Scammers set their sights on sellers

Don't get scammed in an online auctionPayPal appeals to many consumers by offering a safe, hassle-free way to purchase items online without handing over personal information, such as credit card numbers, to merchants. Unfortunately, enterprising scammers are impersonating PayPal to take advantage of that trust and swindle unwary online sellers.

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Online auctions: An in-depth look

Online auctions are wildly popular; nearly one third of adults in the United States who go online have participated in them—an estimated 35.6 million people. Most auction-goers are happy with their experiences and confident that they won’t run into trouble. However, at NCL’s Fraud Center, online auctions have consistently ranked as the top complaint since that category was added to the database in 1997.

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Going once, going twice ... scammed!

For more than a decade, online auctions have been one of the top-reported frauds to NCL’s Fraud Center. Both buyers and sellers can benefit from online auctions; many people make their living selling items online, and millions of consumers have had positive experiences making purchases. But there are many risks as well, and both buyers and sellers can take steps to avoid becoming a Fraud Center statistic.

Read more: Going once, going twice ... scammed!