Watch for fraud in Web auctions

Reality Check

Your Money

February 13, 2005|By Lorene Yue | Lorene Yue,Your Money

Lots of buyers and sellers have discovered the fun and profit of dealing with Internet auction sites. Unfortunately, so have plenty of crooks.

Fraud represented 61 percent of the more than 635,000 consumer complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission last year. Fraud related to any type of Internet activity dominated, while problems specifically tied to Internet auctions (nondelivery, lower value than promised, delays) ranked highest among complaints.

Experts recommend a thorough reference check before doing business with an unknown seller, avoiding wire transfer services for making payment and being leery of escrow services suggested by the seller.

Check out the FTC's shopping Web site at for more tips on how to avoid Internet fraud.

- Lorene Yue, Your Money

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