Consumers warned of online auction scam

Consumers warned of online auction scam Attorney General Larry Long is warning South Dakota consumers to proceed with caution when placing bids with online auction sellers.

The Consumer Protection Division has received calls from victims who have recently wired money overseas for online auction purchases and have not received the merchandise.

"One victim alone wired $6,100 to the Netherlands for a large purchase when he was the top bidder of an online auction," said Long. "Another victim wired $2,600 to Bulgaria when she was contacted by e-mail after she placed a bid online. These victims are real and so are their losses."

It is important to remember that online auctions can be very unsafe. Legitimate auction sites try to protect you, but they cannot remove the risk completely.

The best protection is to use a credit card that limits your loss if you are defrauded and to use an Internet escrow company that you trust and know is legitimate. It is also very important to be wary of sellers who try to lure you off the auction site with promises of a better deal.

There is absolutely no protection outside of legitimate auction sites. Consumers should also avoid wiring money to sellers because wire transfers are untraceable.

Consumers with questions or complaints about online auction scams are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or consumerhelp@state.sd.us.

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