Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Online Fraud - Exercise caution with online auction sites

If you've read my other postings, you'll note that I was a victim of credit card fraud which is believed to have come from an online transaction. I didn't take a back seat, but was extremely active in working with the proper authorities to apprehend some of the alleged "crook(s)."

Undoubtedly, you've either gotten or have definitely heard of the plethora of spoof/phish emails which have been blasting people's inboxes claiming to be from PayPal or eBay or your financial institution. I get those almost daily!

Here are some helpful links to additional information regarding spoofing, identity theft, and what to do to if you have been a victim, courtesy of eBay and PayPal.
  • Information from eBay about websites impersonating them.
  • eBay's Account Theft Overview.
  • eBay's Identity Theft.
  • PayPal Protect yourself from fraudulent emails.
Now, on to that other auction site, On June 2, 2005, I received a e-newsletter from BizRate claiming, "Amazing Deals on Jewelry - $25 Off Your First Purchase." They were promoting Bidz as the auction site with the $1.00 auction. It was on that date, June 2nd, that I signed up for their Certified Merchant Program and shared my credit card information. The very next day, June 3rd, is when I got my first unauthorized, fraudulent charge to my credit card.

I have emailed Bidz customer service and BizRate to advise them of the fraudulent activity on my credit card that coincided with my registration on Bidz. However, neither Bidz nor BizRate has responded to my emails or acknowledge the receipt of same. I've done searches on Rip-Off Report and found several complaints against Bidz which date back 5 years. Unfortunately, I didn't check out the Rip-Off Report before I decided to share my personal information with Bidz.

Because of my personal experience, it is my opinion that I cannot recommend Bidz as an auction site that you would care to buy from OR sell on.

P.S. By the way, speaking of Rip-Off Report! Many years ago, on eBay, I dealt with an online seller who was living in Texas. He had listings for brand new electronics. I purchased a digital camera from him through eBay. When it arrived, it was not brand new, but remanufactured. I then started the process of trying to contact him through every means possible. For two weeks he ignored my contacts. Then, when I heard from him through a Paypal dispute, he said I had waited past the return period to contact him. Next thing you know, through the eBay dispute process, he pretends that he is his mother and replies that the guy has died! Oh my. Not the end of the story -- we found he had moved to the Northeast and was once again selling medical devices. To cap it all off? The dude later files a bogus complaint against me on Rip-Off Report. He made the whole thing up. If buying medical products and devices online, please do a background check on the company!!!

Be sure to take some time and check out my true story, To Catch a Thief : Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft.