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Avoiding Scams and Frauds Online Posted On: 04/06/2011 Last Updated: 04/06/2011


You probably know of at least one person who has been the victim of an internet scam or fraud. Unfortunately, regardless of where you sell online, you will be open to potential scams. Scams can devastate a business, so it's important to learn how to protect yourself without limiting yourself.


Payment method Scams


One way potential scammers can attack your business is though your accepted payment method. If you accept checks, money orders, and cashier's checks, it is important that you are on the lookout for potential scams from customers attempting to pay with these methods.


Accepting Checks


Accepting checks can enable you to serve a larger customer base, but you will need to tread carefully in order to avoid potential scams. Keep the following pointers in mind when accepting checks as a payment method:


-Make sure the check has cleared before you send out your item. Banks don't always catch bad checks at first, so make sure it has cleared before you mail your item.  This can take up to three weeks, so make sure you check with your bank. Keep in mind that just because your bank has accepted the check, doesn't mean the issuing bank has honored it.


-Never accept checks for more than the agreed upon price. This type of scam has devoured businesses and bank accounts. Accepting this sort of transaction will most likely leave you owing the entire amount of the check back to the bank, including the overage you refunded to the buyer.


-Never accept postdated checks or checks dated for a future date.


-Never agree to hold a check.


-Never accept third-party checks, or checks written by someone other than the buyer.


-Be extra careful when accepting a check form a buyer purchasing without an ArtFire account.


-Save all your paperwork, you may need it if something goes wrong.


If you do receive a bad check please contact our support team to let them know so we can take steps to contact other sellers who may be affected and attempt to mitigate future harm.


Accepting Money Orders and Cashier's Checks


Money orders and cashier's checks function a bit differently than personal checks. Money orders are issued for an amount that has already been paid to the issuing company. Cashier's checks are similar, but they are also guaranteed by the issuing bank. Though these have been considered safer than accepting personal checks, recent scams involving counterfeit money orders and cashier's checks have forced merchants to be extra cautious. Here are a few things you can do to prevent becoming a victim of money order or cashier's check scams:


-Wait for the money order or cashier check to clear before you send out your item, as banks might not always catch it when you deposit it. This can take up to three weeks, so make sure you check with your bank. Keep in mind that just because your bank has accepted the money order or cashier's check, doesn't mean the issuing bank has honored it.


-Request that the payment come from a trusted, domestic bank, and be especially wary of money orders from banks you've never heard of.


-Never accept money orders or cashier's checks for more than the agreed upon price, as this could be a common scam in which the buyer had forged a money order or check and expects you to pay the excess back.


-Save all your paperwork, you may need it if something goes wrong.


-Be extra careful when accepting money orders or cashier's checks from a buyer without an account set up on ArtFire.


If you do receive a bad money order or cashier's check please contact our support team to let them know so we can take steps to contact other sellers who may be affected and attempt to mitigate future harm.


Phishing


Phishing refers to the process of sending out fraudulent emails in an attempt to acquire personal information such as bank account numbers, credit card details, usernames, and passwords. Many of you have received a phishing email at one time or another. Most likely the email was regarding an unclaimed prize or asking you to update information for an account you may or may not have. Often times these phishing emails may include logos from companies you are familiar with.


 

Most of these emails end up in your spam folder, but every once in a while a convincing phishing email will show up in your inbox. Here are some tips to avoid getting "hooked" by a phishing email:


-Never click links within a questionable email, even if the email appears to come from a reliable source. Instead, go directly to the site's main page in a different window and attempt to make changes to your account from there. For example, if you received an email that appears to come from your bank, asking you to update your personal information, just go to the bank's main page and update it from there, rather than clicking the email link.


-Only open email attachments if you're familiar with the sender. Often enough, attachments on questionable emails could be a virus. Never open an .exe file unless you were expecting it.


-Always be suspicious of emails which state that you've won a huge amount of money or are from someone in a foreign country wants to transfer money to you. These are almost always fake and should be deleted immediately.


If you think you've been a hooked by a phisher and may have accidentally given out passwords or account information,act immediately by contacting the companies with whom you have the accounts.The faster you act, the quicker these companies can take steps to protect your information.


Money Laundering and General Rules to Remember when Selling Online


-Be wary of requests from strangers for you to forward packages or money in exchange for a percentage of the profits.


-Never agree to wire money transfers.