While the vast majority of online transactions are completed without complication, fraud and dishonest sellers are a fact of internet life. PayPal takes fraud seriously and provides the guidelines below to help you decrease your risk of transacting with a fraudulent seller.
Check the Seller's Reputation
Most commerce sites have forums where buyers can leave feedback on sellers' business practices, speed of shipment and general experiences. Use extra care in placing orders with new sellers.
Look for sellers with long histories of successful transactions who have a number of positive comments from other buyers.
See if the seller is a Verified member of PayPal and has been a PayPal member for at least a couple of months. To check PayPal membership status, go to the "Send Money" tab and initiate a payment to the seller. On the "Check the details of your payment" page, before the payment is sent, you'll see the seller's reputation link (e.g. Verified Premier Member) next to his email address. Click the link to see more information about the membership status.
Use Extra Caution with High Value and Popular Items
Certain types of items (e.g. computers, jewelry, electronics, etc.) carry a higher fraud risk and require additional checking before completing the sale. Do additional checking, especially with popular items that tend to be sold out in stores.
Be suspicious of deals that seem too good to be true. They usually are.
Be suspicious of sellers offering very low prices for hard to find items who seem to have a large number of these same products.
If a seller is offering a number of the same items, ask to speak with the seller's supplier. Independently verify that the supplier is a legitimate business with the correct address and phone number through a telephone directory or by calling directory assistance.
Be Wary of Unsolicited Offers from Unknown Sellers
If you receive an unsolicited email from someone selling the same product that you recently made an offer on, be careful about buying the product. While the seller may be offering a lower price, con artists often use this tactic to get around the official controls and consumer protections that commerce sites provide members.
Be Wary of Items with Delayed Shipment
Exercise caution when purchasing items with a significantly delayed delivery date. Delivery dates further than 20 days after your payment involve more risk. Be aware that PayPal sellers are not allowed to sell goods with delivery dates delayed more than 20 days from the date of payment.
When buying collectibles, such as sports memorabilia, please take steps to confirm that the item is authentic before purchasing.
Ask Before You Buy
If you have questions regarding an item, contact the seller before making an offer. Sellers prefer that you ask questions before you buy and good communication will make the transaction smoother for all involved. We are always available to assist you with suspicious transactions. If you have concerns about a transaction, contact us before you complete the purchase. Working together we can eliminate PayPal fraud.