Second-chance fraud

Consumers Reports Money Matters flyer this month has an article on avoiding fraudulent "Second-Chance" offers on eBay. Reading the article I thought it should have taken a bit different approach. The bulk of the article focused on the high rate of fraudulent offers that attempt to mimic eBay's legitimate program.

The bottom line is this. If you use eBay to buy or sell do these two things:

  • Always handle transactions by going to and logging in to the site with your username and password.
  • Always pay with Pay-Pal or a credit card. Anybody who is a legitimate seller in this day and age must accept these forms of payment. Most won't take anything else

eBay has some more tiips.

There are also several things you should never do:

  • Never pay with cashier's check, cash or other cash-equivilents
  • Never click on a link in an email claiming to be from eBay. - Even though there are legitimate emails from eBay why take the chance? Go to the website and login - then see if there are alerts posted for you. This one change could prevent most identity theft attempts for eBay.
  • Never buy an item without checking the seller's history. It's not generally a good practice to purchase from someone with no history. If somebody wants to get into selling online they can at least make a few small purchases to make a commitment to the system working well

Buying and selling on eBay can be fun, safe and profitable for all. With a few basic steps it is possible to make sure you keep your information and your money safe. Above all else remember the adage that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.