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AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Tue Feb 7 2006 21:39:29

Fraud: What's an auction site to do?

By: Ina Steiner

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I've given this a lot of thought over the years, and member verification seems like a really good place to start. uBid contacted me to fill me in on their anti-counterfeit initiatives, and it sparked an idea for an article: what are other marketplaces doing to prevent fraud and counterfeits on their sites?

uBid President Bob Tomlinson told me today that its Certified Merchants must go through a rigorous approval process that includes reference and credit checks. All sellers must provide a Federal ID number or social security number. (Btw, uBid also collects payments from buyers and forward the money to sellers, like Amazon does. Some Amazon sellers like this.)

If eBay tightened up the requirements for selling on the site, it would mean a radical change in eBay's offerings. The fact that anyone can sell almost anything increases the risk of fraud, but it also makes eBay a diverse, fun marketplace. While I'm don't think eBay should go as far as uBid in its seller requirements, I do think eBay could do more to make its marketplace safer and to educate consumers about the risks involved.

So if you have thoughts on what, if anything, eBay and other sites should do, let me know. And I'll contact Bid4Assets, PropertyRoom and other sites that have stricter seller requirements to explore the issue further.

Comments (4) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Fraud: What's an auction site to do?   Fraud: What's an auction site to do?

by: Eren Niazi

Thu Feb 9 12:50:41 2006

Here are a few quick tips on how to avoid fraud.

1. For sellers do not ship anything till payment clears not when payments arrive.
2. For everyone do not work outside the system to save on fees on anysite. systems use its own user to user mail system with security checks that watch patterns and trigger alarms.
3. For Buyers always read the users feedback before you bid and for items over $200.00 send an email before you bid so you both feel comfortable with each other. also offers a new Social Network feature to see who they are connected to and talk with there friends.

Eren Niazi

Perminate Link for Fraud: What's an auction site to do?   Fraud: What's an auction site to do?

by: Marc Rotzow

Thu Feb 9 15:22:56 2006

We have stricter guidelines for posting to prevent fraud.  We do not allow a number of JavaScript tools that other auction site allows that are repeatedly being exploited.  Some sites passively scans for exploits, we check for them actively when you post, or before you are allowed to post.
This is a malicious type of fraud that keeps popping up in the news and yet little is done to stop it.  Just go to a search engine and type the name of an auction site and Cross Site Scripting exploit.  Articles date from 1999-2005.  

To help stop phishing attacks, our communications to customers does not contain URLs.  You know the emails that you get to tell you to log into a website, and if you click on them, they take you to someone else's website that looks just like the one you thought you were going to?  We try to stop that kind of fraud through educating our users to know that you should not expect clickable URLs from us in customer communication.  That is why we have an internal email system.

Perminate Link for Fraud: What's an auction site to do?   Fraud: What's an auction site to do?

by: Brian Cohen

Fri Feb 10 08:18:21 2006

For high end products it sounds like there is a void of service(s) for authentication  which must include authentication of funds.

Perhaps one day a company will be created that acts as an Escrow service and authentication/appraisal service all wrapped into one.

The lasrgest hole in all of this is actual proof of what is shipped.  You see someone could easily ship a 10 pound bag of sand when when in fact they are supposed to ship a 10 pound gold bar.  There is no way to prove what is actually shipped.  In fact what's scary is that a seller can ship a 10 Pound Gold Bar and the winning bidder claims they received pyrite (fools gold)and do the old "switcheroo".  Throw in Paypal and they could claim they received Pyrite.... send the Pyrite to Paypal... Paypal says... yep it's Pyrite....
You see you can prove you "shipped" but not what actually *was* shipped...
What's a seller to do?

Perhaps this same company (the new authentication service I mentioned above) could also create some sort of RFID X-Ray and/or "Black Box" (like they have in airplanes) that could actually record/prove what is shipped. Sounds like sci-fi... but wait a few years....

Here's something interesting (also sounds like sci-fi ... )


Perminate Link for Fraud: What's an auction site to do?   Fraud: What's an auction site to do?

by: Candic

Wed Jan 6 15:12:15 2010

Ahhh.. the old "switcheroo".  Just happened to us on the second transaction that I share about. We sold cell phones on ebay, the buyer claimed that our cell phones were broken and stolen,I could only provide my wireless phone bill showing I was the rightful owner of that phone, because it was 9 months old I nolonger had the invoice that came with the delivery, ebay refunded the money to the buyer holding me responsible, then the buyer did a chargeback through paypal so, they were refunded two times, and never shipped the items back to us. Very sad. I feel Ebay, and Paypal have this great protection going on for the buyer, but actually the seller is getting ripped off! Another transaction, the buyer purchased the Item a Ipod from us, claimed our Ipod was fake, then shipped back a fake/broken Ipod and kept the original Ipod along with a full refund that was given back from Ebay. We sent our records showing that the Ipod was purchased at Best Buy and was used for 6 months then resold, but they still sided with the buyer because the buyer sent them a picture of this fake Ipod they owned. I no longer sell on ebay.

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