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There are ways of preventing theft. I use these tools all the time and have prevented at least four occurrences where I could have lost money.
1. Check buyer and seller reviews in the For Sale/Wanted forum.
2. Check eBay feedback and Yahoo as well. If you want to verify their ID send an email through ebay or yahoo asking if they are who they say they are.
3. Beware when someone IM's you with offers to sell something you haven't requested to buy.
4. NEVER accept personal checks or PayPal credit cards belonging to someone other than the purchaser.
5. ONLY ship your goods to the owner of the credit card (PayPal payments).
6. Watch for conflicting stories during conversation and "corrected" addresses.
7. Beware of long absences during a deal. An honest seller will devote all his attention to you until the deal is done.
8. Watch closely for pictures that seem to be different, of the "same item".
9. Check other sites for forums that do have a WATCH LIST of bad sellers. Nine out of ten times, your seller will be doing his dirty deeds there as well.
10. NEVER make accusations you can not prove 1000%. You could destroy reputations that are good and could be civilly liable for slander and defamation of character.
11. Realize that the IFCC has limited power. You're basically out in the cold, flapping in the wind. The authorities aren't interested in frauds perpetrated unless the money involved is very substantial....somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 or more.
12. Use PayPal for your payments whenever possible. PayPal has an excellent security staff that has helped me recover funds in the past.
13. ONLY accept a U.S. Postal Service money order. They can't be stolen. Private money order companies' money orders are stolen all the time.
14. Try your best to keep a private "favorite sellers list" from past, trusted deals. Use those names first, even if the offer from an unknown name is better.
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