How Can I Use Ebay Securely?

Ebay is a great place to shop, either for new or used items.

Despite the auction site’s best efforts, however, there are still a few rogues operating on the site an any one time (though they do tend to get caught out eventually).

With that in mind, here’s a few tips for staying safe on eBay –

Making Payments

After an auction ends it is up to the buyer and seller to agree upon a payment method, based upon the options that the seller originally offered in their listing.

If at all possible use a credit card as the issuer offers some level of protection should you never receive your item, or it arrives in poor or broken condition.

Paypal is another alternative, though I’ve had some issues with dispute resolutions in the past.

Typically, cash, postal orders, debit cards and cheques offer little to no protection.

Take it Slow

Patience is a virtue.

Take your time to browse through lots of comparable items and even check completed listings in order to gain an idea of how much a particular item typically sells for.

Do your homework and know exactly what it is you are looking for – knowing the condition of a used item, the authenticity of a collectible or an item’s model number can all have an influence upon the item’s value.

Western Union

Never pay for something you have won on eBay by using an instant cash transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram.

These payment methods are inherently unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Keep To A Budget

Set the maximum price that you are willing to pay for an item.

It is all too easy to become competitive in the last few minutes of an auction and to get caught in a bidding war which pushed the end price up too high.

Check Feedback

Before placing a bid, look at the seller’s feedback rating.

Have other buyers had a good experience with this particular seller?

Is the feedback they have received for genuine items, or have they won many penny bids on ebooks, for example.

Be skeptical – eBay are good at rooting out scammers but, unfortunately, a few always manage to slip through the net for a while.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. I have lost count of the number of times that I have said I will place just one more bid and then placed another. I now have a house full of junk!


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