Before You Buy On eBay, Check Who You're Buying From - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/2/03

Before You Buy On eBay, Check Who You're Buying From

You can buy almost anything on Internet auction sites. Most people go there to find deals, but sometimes those deals turn out to be scams. According to The Internet Fraud Complaint Center, 43% of Americans reported they were a victim of Internet auction fraud. It's the leading online offense. Consumers Beware.

Behind the mask of a computer screen is a person without a face. Auction sellers are somewhat anonymous, and buyers take a huge risk of losing lots of money when they purchase something off of eBay or other internet auction sites.

With any industry we are finding more and more people using that avenue to rip people off. Lubbock Detective Larry Manale says over the past three to four years, he has dealt with suspects and victims of internet auction fraud. One suspect, Detective Manale is after, is 57-year-old Jessie Garcia, who lives in a house in East Lubbock.

Garcia has sold items like wrestling videos, valuable baseball cards, a Playstation, and wrestling figures. Victims in Illinois, California, and New York all say Garcia sent nothing after they sent him the money. NewsChannel 11 knocked on Garcia's door, but he didn't answer. Police have a theft warrant out for him. Sooner or later, Garcia will have to answer for his crimes.

But in the meantime, don't become a victim. Before paying for items online, check into the seller's reputation. "How long have they been a seller?" and read the feedback left by previous buyers. "Super great and fast service. Four A's and lots of pluses. Great communications and good 'eBayer'. Items just as promised. Apparently this guy's pretty good," are just some of the things we found about one seller.

There are also questions you need to ask yourself. "Are they unwilling to give you an address? Do they provide a phone number so you can call them? Are they selling a $30,000 piece for as much as $5,000? That seems a little suspicious. Is their feedback bad? That's a huge red flag," said Manale.

More people are reporting internet auction fraud to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center. If you want to check out their website, just (click here).

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