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PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM EBAY SCAMS [Author: wirehead]

Got this informative note in:

In this case the gentleman may have very little he can do, as it appears that no money changed hands. In the case of EBay, however, you are entering into a binding contract. I you renege on the contract and it is a goodly enough amount (over US$250) you may wish to contact the following authorities:

Send your payment via mail? Call the postal service. Mail fraud is one serious Federal Offense, 5 years and / or US$50,000 fine per offense. No joke.

Send your payment via Credit Card? Call your card company and the scammer is probably going to be in a world of hurt. Credit Card companies *hate* scams. They end up paying for most of them, so they will probably try to get as much from him as possible.

Send your payment via wire (i.e. Western Union)?: Call your local authorities, which may in turn contact the Feds or another party. Wire fraud is just as bad as mail fraud in some terms. Western Union will also most likely hold money transfers for the person in question until the problem is resolved (too late for your cash at the moment, but you may yet get it back). The trick is; they must be contacted by the authorities in an ongoing investigation for this to happen.

Remember that EBay agreement you entered into? They revised it to make it *even more* legally palatable. You are entering into a binding contract to sell something. I am not sure what can be done here as it varies state to state.

If they do *a lot* of selling, they may be subject to ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) rules. They would have to sell an awful lot though, and I am not personally sure if that requires the transfer of “physical” goods. Still it may bear some deeper investigation.

It also varies by dollar amount. Now these methods are not just good for accounts but also the virtual real estate. I think that most scammers on EBay forget that most of the time the cash is in the mail, crossing state lines, or going over the wire. These were just a few things I thought of while talking to my friend (he is a County Prosecutor). Oh, as always, keep a record of all correspondence between yourself and the other party.

The Smiling Bandit