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* If a buyer insists on using a particular escrow or online payment service that you've never heard of, check it out by visiting its website or calling its customer service line. If there isn't one, or if you call and can't reach someone, don't use the service. If the service claims to be affiliated with a government agency, that's a sign of a scam.
* Before agreeing to use an online payment or escrow service, read the terms of agreement. If it's an online payment service, find out who pays for credit card charge backs or transaction reversal requests if the buyer seeks them.
* Don't use an online escrow service that does not process its own transactions, but that requires you to set up accounts with online payment services. Legitimate escrow services never do this.
* Check with the Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, or consumer protection agency where you live and where the online payment or escrow service is based to see whether any unresolved complaints are on file against the service. But remember that a lack of complaints doesn't guarantee that the service has no problems.