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July Scam of the Month: Use Caution When Dealing With Internet Auctions

July Scam of the Month:
Use Caution When Dealing With Internet Auctions

(Pierre) – South Dakotans should use caution when buying or selling items on Internet auction sites, Attorney General Mark Barnett said today. "Internet auction sites are hot destinations on the web right now," Barnett said. "Consumers need to buy and sell wisely to avoid being ripped off."

Internet auction scams and fraud are on the rise, with consumers complaining about sellers who deliver their advertised goods late or not at all, or deliver something far less valuable than promised. "While most internet auction companies operate reliable sites, and most participants deal honestly with their customers, there’s always someone looking to make a quick buck at your expense," Barnett said.

Barnett offers the following advice to consumers buying merchandise at Internet auction sites:

  • Identify the seller and check the feedback rating provided on the site. It will often tell you the seller’s historic performance in delivering the goods as promised.    
  • Make sure you understand what you are bidding on, its relative value and all terms and conditions of the sale, including the return policy and who pays for shipping.    
  • Establish your top price and stick to it.    
  • Evaluate your payment options. If possible, pay with a credit card to ensure the most protections if something goes wrong.

"The Internet has changed the way many South Dakotans make purchases," Barnett said. "Using caution will help ensure that consumers get what they order and not lose their hard earned money to scam artists."

Consumers with questions, concerns, or complaints about Internet auction scams or other scams are encouraged to contact Barnett’s Division of Consumer Protection at 1-800-300-1986. Additional consumer protection information is also available at the Attorney General’s website (www.state.sd.us/atg).