1. Understand how Internet auctions work.
Before you sign up to sell something you should look into buying something first. The more you understand about the auction process, the more likely you are to notice if a someone is not playing by the rules.
2. Choose your auction site wisely.
3. Check out the buyer's reputation.
The good auction sites will have a built-in system that allows you to rate other sellers according to your experience with them. You should be very careful of a buyer or seller who has negative ratings.
4. Before your auction closes, cancel bids from buyers who are known to submit bogus bids.
If you believe one of your buyers is fake, you might be able to cancel their bid, but only before the auction closes. Some auction sites even allow you to restrict an auction to pre-approved bidders or buyers only.
5. Consider using a third-party payment service.
Third-party payment services allow you to transfer money into an online account and make payments from that account without exposing your actual credit card or bank account information. These services are often preferred over using personal checks.
6. Consider using an online escrow service for big ticket items.
An escrow service acts as a go-between, holding the buyer\'s money until the buyer receives and approves of the seller\'s item. This can be a very useful service to make sure the whole process goes safe. The terms of escrow should be agreed upon by both sides; you may wish to make accepting those terms required to bid on your auction.
7. Research any third-party payment or online escrow service a buyer wants to use before you agree.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has received reports of fraudulent buyers who will insist that the seller use a third-party payment service or an escrow service, which turns out to be fraudulent. The seller ships the item to the escrow service, but never receives payment or the return of goods.
8. Call the credit card company.
If you choose to accept credit cards, contact the company that issues the card to verify that the name on the card matches both the shipping information and the contact information you have received.
9. Use tracking services when shipping.
It is usually the buyer's responsibility to pay for shipping an auction item, but the seller typically chooses the shipping method. To help ensure that your item arrives in a timely manner, and to help prevent fraudulent buyers from claiming that they never received an item (when, in fact, they did), use a shipping service that includes tracking or consider paying or charging extra for tracking services.
10. Never respond to unsolicited requests to update your account information.
These are most likely a scam that could lead to identity theft. Most legitimate companies will never send you unsolicited e-mail or instant message requests for your passwords or other personal information. If you do receive such a request that you think may be legitimate, contact the company directly (not through the message you received) and ask for confirmation.