How to Avoid Getting Scammed on eBay and Other Auction and Sale Sites

How to Avoid Getting Scammed on eBay and Other Auction and Sale Sites


eBay can be a great place to buy and sell used, vintage, DIY, and antique items. Unfortunately, there are also sometimes scammers on eBay, who will take advantage of the platform to cheat buyers or sellers out of their money. Although most buyers and sellers on eBay are legitimate and can be trusted, there are a few bad apples that you should learn to avoid.

Read on to learn about common eBay scams, as well as reporting a buyer on eBay and ways to avoid getting scammed yourself on the popular selling platform.  These scams are also popular on other online auction and sale sites.

Can You Get Scammed on eBay?

The short answer is yes, you can get scammed on eBay as either a buyer or, surprisingly, a seller.

There are several common eBay scams that target unsuspecting buyers. For example, not all purchases are protected or guaranteed by the platform. If you buy non-material items such as a business or website, as well as large-ticket items such as vehicles, land, or homes, proceed with caution. These, and a few other, items are not protected under eBay’s guarantee. You can pay for these items and never receive them, and the fraudulent seller will face no consequences.

Another common eBay scam that targets buyers is sending an empty box. You might see the package on your doorstep and assumed your item has been delivered, and review the purchase as satisfactory. But when you open it up, there’s actually nothing there. Similarly, some scammers will send you a package with the incorrect name on the outside so that you return it, having already paid for the item.

Sellers can also be scammed on eBay. For example, a buyer can try to pay you more than you asked for, only to send you a fraudulent check that ultimately bounces. Sellers are also sometimes scammed by buyers who want to pay through other means outside the platform, such as wire transfers. Some buyers also claim they never received an item that they did, forcing the seller to refund their purchase.

How to Not Get Scammed on eBay

If you’re wondering how to not get scammed on eBay, start by operating under the platform’s rules and regulations. Don’t send or receive any money outside eBay’s approved transactional methods. Always open up the package and confirm you received what you ordered before you confirm receipt on the platform. And as both a buyer and seller, don’t provide any personal information to anyone on eBay.

Reporting a buyer or seller on eBay is easy with the platform’s eBay Security Center. You can report scammers directly on the site, as well as reporting listings directly.