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How can you tell when there is a case of internet auction fraud?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | White Collar Crimes |

Residents of Michigan may enjoy buying or selling things at auctions. Sometimes, it’s preferable to do that right from the safety and comfort of home. However, there are instances of fraud on the internet. It’s important to know how to identify this white-collar crime.

Use only familiar websites

There are well-known auction websites that have good reputations. Many offer protection against fraud and other white-collar offenses. If you use your credit card, you should also have some level of fraud protection.

Get familiar with the product

If you’re considering bidding on a product, you should learn about it beforehand. View all the photos and read all the details about the product, including the fine print. You should also know whether the product is new, refurbished, discontinued, closeout or off-brand and have your guard up if the price is too low. Usually, in that case, the product might be a fake or might not even work.

Investigate the seller

Before you bid, you should know the seller’s credentials. You should investigate the seller and know all about them. The higher their rating, the better. If a seller doesn’t have any feedback, you should be wary. Read up on the feedback they receive to ensure that they’re legitimate.

Check the costs of shipping and handling

Sellers on auction sites typically state the costs of shipping and handling. They may also charge extra for express delivery. If there is nothing mentioned about delivery, you should take it as a red flag.

See if purchases can be returned

Legitimate sellers allow purchases to be returned. Contact the seller and inquire about a possible refund and if you will be responsible for a restocking fee or return shipping. If a seller is honest, they will also try to correct a problem with a purchase. For example, if something is damaged when you get it, they might replace it with an identical product.

Sellers can also be victims of internet auction fraud. Fraudulent buyers can target those who sell high-end items by sending counterfeit checks.

Sometimes, legitimate mistakes may happen. If there’s a dispute or misunderstanding after a transaction through an auction site, the best thing to do is try to resolve it before taking legal action.