John Mehrmann
John Mehrmann is an author, speaker and industry expert with Executive Blueprints Inc.
John Mehrmann has written 9 articles for SB Informer.
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Buying or Selling on the Internet


John Mehrmann

July 26, 2007

1.0/5.0 (1 votes total)

The facts and figures from Symantec Security Response and the Internet Crime Complaint Center are both fascinating and alarming. If you have thought about buying or selling on the Internet, especially with Internet Auction Sites, make sure that you are aware of the best practices and the potential pitfalls before you do. An identity is a terrible thing to waste.

How much for your identity? According to a Blog from Symantec Security Response, the following is the cost for your identity on the black market $14-18 for your complete identity $1-6 for a US Credit Card $2-12 for a UK Credit Card $10 for a World of Warcraft Account

Internet Crime Complaint Center

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) was established as a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to receive, develop and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. IC3 released the sixth annual compilation of complaints received and referred to law enforcement or regulatory agencies for appropriate action.

The following statistics are based on the IC3 2006 Annual Report Complaint submissions decreased by 10.4%, from 231,493 in 2005 to 207,492 in 2006 Total Dollar Amount of reported losses increased from $183.12 Million in 2005 to $198.44 Million in 2006

Most Common Reason for complaints 44.9% Internet Auction Fraud 19.0% Non-Delivered Merchandise and / or Payment 4.9% Check Fraud 4.8% Credit / Debit Fraud

Most Common Amounts of reported loss 39.3% reported loss between $100 to $1000 31.6% reported loss between $1000 to $5000 15.6% reported loss less than $100

Of those who reported a loss, the Average (median) amount of the reported loss $5100 Nigerian Letter Fraud $3744 Check Fraud $602 Internet Auction Fraud $585 Non-Delivered Merchandise and / or Payment $427 Credit / Debit Card Fraud

Most Common Methods of Contact: 73.9% Email 36.0% Web Page 17.7% Telephone 12.0% Instant Messenger 10.3% Postal Mail

Best Practice to Buy on Internet Auction Sites

Learn your obligations as a buyer before you place a bid.

Find out what actions the seller will take to insure the transaction and the delivery.

Research the seller, especially if the only available information is an email address. Check with the Better Business Bureau if it is a business. Use Google search, Yahoo and other web sites to investigate the seller.

Try to obtain a physical address. Be wary if the mailing address is a Post Office Box number.

If there is a telephone number provided, call it to make sure that it is working and legitimate.

Send an email to validate that it is an active email address. Be wary of sellers that use free email services that do not require a credit card to open an account.

Check Seller history and be wary if there is previous negative feedback.

Use common sense when assessing the method of payment.

Be cautious and aware of laws governing sellers is other countries, international sales may have a dubious outcome

Ask for written confirmation regarding expected delivery and warranty or exchange return options

To avoid unexpected costs, find out if shipping and delivery are included or additional cost

Never give out your Social Security Number, Driver's License Number, Bank Account Numbers or personal information to the seller, they do not need it

Be very cautious of special offers that arrive by unsolicited email, you are typically better to delete these without opening them, especially if there are attached files

Do not give your credit card information over the phone

Do not make purchases online if you are using an unsecured wireless access point

If you are a victim of fraud, report it to your credit card companies and to the authorities immediately

Best Practice to Sell on Internet Auction Sites

Take a little time to understand how Internet Auctions work and what your obligations are as a seller.

Use secure web sites. If you sell from your own web site, then investigate how to offer secure credit card transactions

Publicly list the actions that you will take to insure the transaction and the delivery.

List contact information and street address if you are a business. Provide a daytime phone number and email address for inquiries. Make it easy for the consumer to validate your authenticity.

Take care of your customers and ask for feedback, especially if the transaction resulted in a satisfactory experience.

Be cautious and aware of laws governing buyers in other countries, international sales may have a dubious outcome

Post your policy regarding delivery options and related fees, warranty or exchange return options, and payment terms and conditions

Build reciprocal links with other reputable merchants to establish your authenticity

Post pictures of the merchandise

Provide detailed descriptions of the merchandise, including specifications, features, new or used, etc. Research other listings for similar merchandise to see what information your competitors are providing so you will have some additional insight into what your customers may need to see and compare

Words of Wisdom

"Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year and spends very little on office supplies." - Woody Allen

"There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge, and fox, and squirrel." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The scars of others should teach us caution." - Saint Jerome

About the Author: John Mehrmann is a freelance writer and President of Executive Blueprints Inc., an organization devoted to improving business practices and developing human capital.


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