How do Auction (and online Classified Ad) Scams work?
Probably the largest and oldest online scam, scammers use various ploys to part you from your cash and/or goods. Victims are harvested from auction sites (eg. eBay) and Classified Ad sites (Craigslist etc). Runs from simply accepting payment for an item that is never sent through to wholesale fake/counterfeit goods selling. Can generate huge profits from the unwary victim. This is a list of the most common classified/auction scams:
Non Delivery of Purchase
The simplest form of fraud - you pay for an item (by check, money order or other online payment method) but the item does not arrive. May be excused by the vendor with claims of postal theft, delays or even fraud - "I sent you the item, you must have received it and be pretending it's missing".
Bounced check, fake money order - often combined with 'Overpayment' scam to compound the fraud.
Payment fo more than the item costs, with instructions to 'send on the rest' to a third party (usually Western Union, usually to a recipient in a foreign country). Often used for Cars and other large items.
Items not as described - often clothing, jewelery, purses, fashion items. Items may be virtually identical with logos, tags, price labels etc but quality is usually poor. jewelery will be sub-standard (eg. plate not solid gold, lowgrade diamonds).
Often used with vehicles. Overpayment is sent to cover shipping charges which must be sent to the shipper (see Overpayment).
Payment received and shipping confirmed but item turns out to be junk (eg. a phone book instead of a laptop). Also broken items, bait and switch items.
Here are some signs that the item you are buying/bidding on is probably a fraud.
eBay Auction Scams