The FTC Web site has useful advice about checking up on the validity of charities. One piece of advice: "Beware of organizations that use meaningless terms to suggest they are tax exempt charities. For example, the fact that an organization has a
tax I.D. number doesn't mean it is a charity: all nonprofit and for profit organizations must have tax I.D. numbers."
AuctionWatch Slashes Staff, Discontinues News Service
As we reported in the September 19th Newflash newsletter, AuctionWatch has laid off a large percentage of its staff; AuctionWatch President Rodrigo Sales would only tell us that it laid off "fewer than 50%" of its employees. AuctionWatch will no longer update its "News & Information" feature on its Web site. Sales said they are still evaluating whether to continue their discussion forums.
FREE Delivery Confirmation on USPS Priority Mail
(This first ran in the Newsflash newsletter on September 17, 2001)
You can create and print USPS Priority Mail labels with bar-codes from your computer with no special forms required. These labels allow you to have FREE delivery confirmation. The "label" will print out on regular 8.5" X 11" laser-printer paper. You can see a sample by going to the Web site, filling out the form, and checking "Create an online label as a sample (not to be used for shipping)."
Online Payment Services - Lacking in Fraud Protection
When I contacted online payment service PayPal about a case of fraud, a spokesperson told me that if user is defrauded by someone through the use of PayPal, the user can:
b) if the account has no money, the user can contact legal authorities to pursue further recourse.
PayPal cannot access someone's bank account for recovery, and the only time it charges a credit card on file is for chargeback liability. From what I can understand, in most cases users must pursue recovery through other channels (legal, fraud insurance claims through auction sites, etc.).
I recently read an article about person-to-person (P2P) online payment systems. "The anonymity of P2P, the lack of user verification, and an unregulated market, mean that 'crooks need only set up multiple accounts under different names, transfer funds from one account to another, and then withdraw the money.'" This statement comes from Lafferty Publications, which sees P2P as "the ultimate money laundering tool," according to an article in ePayNews.
The point is, don't assume you have any special protection when you use an online payment service - many users are unverified!
UPDATE: Right before going to press, there was a happy ending to a fraud story I was following - PayPal was able to recover funds from the perpetrator's account.
Auction Crossword Puzzle
Want to take a break from listing auctions? Grab a cup of coffee and relax with an online crossword puzzle!
The subject of the latest AuctionBytes Crossword puzzle is Photography and was submitted by Sharon Devine. If you'd like to submit a crossword puzzle, email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. If we use your puzzle, we'll send you $20 and an AuctionBytes Mug (while supply lasts)
New Marketing Insert for Auction Sellers
David has created another customizable marketing insert for sellers to use inside their auction packages http://www.auctionbytes.com/insertmenu/insertmenu.html. This one is a chart of commonly used online abbreviations. You can read more about marketing yourself with inserts at http://www.auctionbytes.com/Email_Newsletter/45/45.html#insert.
The suggestion for this insert came from "Abovethemall." If you have a suggestion for a marketing insert, drop an email to David at email@example.com.