What exactly is internet fraud, and how does GearSource help protect you?
Internet fraud can be anything from misrepresenting who you are or what you sell to selling non-existent goods to stealing private information for illegal activity to using fake or stolen credit cards.
Here are the most common types of Fraud:
- Data breaches – when sensitive data (personal or financial information) is released or stolen from a secure location.
- Malware – a dangerous software that is downloaded to your computer, generally from a “fake” link or through attachments in emails, designed to disable your computer system.
- Phishing or spoofing – involves using fake emails, text messages, or copycat websites to commit identity theft by stealing personal information including credit card and bank account numbers, debit card PINs, and passwords.
- Another tactic is impersonating a senior level person, the CEO for example, and instructing an employee(s) to transfer money to a fraudulent bank account.
- Internet marketplace/auction fraud – involves the misrepresentation of the products you are selling or when merchandise isn’t delivered to a buyer by an online seller.
- Credit card fraud – occurs when scammers fraudulently acquire credit or debit card numbers and use those to obtain money and/or property. Credit card charge backs – purchases are made and delivered to the buyer and then the buyer initiates a chargeback with their Credit Card provider, claiming they didn’t receive the goods for example.
- Stolen goods – oftentimes, thieves will try to profit from stolen equipment by selling it through marketplaces such as Facebook or eBay.
Regarding Facebook Marketplace specifically, a leading e-commerce blogging site, Red Points, said: “(Facebook Marketplace) is a scammers paradise. If you compare eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace, the latter is like the Wild West of online selling—one scammer even stole $800,000 from victims through the platform”. Our industry is small, and in some sense, everyone knows everyone. Being scammed is much more rare, and the leading platforms (GearSource.com) will be diligent in protecting their buyers and sellers from such online scams.
How to protect yourself:
The best way to avoid fraud is to always be diligent and know who you are working with. Reputable, industry-specific companies like GearSource® have both experience and history in your industry, through their staff and leadership. Also, reputable companies must be reachable by phone. Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself from fraud:
- Never give out your personal information to anyone you don’t know, trust or have the ability to verify. If anyone calls you and asks you to provide personal information, do your due diligence – no “real” company will be annoyed with you for protecting yourself by checking the validity of a request.
- Always log out of secure sites and don’t leave your computer running all the time. Doing so makes it more prone to spyware or attacks from hackers and identity thieves.
- If you need to wire funds for an online transaction, ALWAYS call and verify the recipient company’s bank account details before wiring money – don’t follow unsolicited email instructions. If you are able to log-in to a secure payment portal, even better.
- Have a solid internal validation and approval process for money transfers… for example:
- requiring proper documentation of what the transfer is for
- a call-back verification to the recipient, using a number you have on file, not what was provided in the email
- An internal, dual authorization process of the wire.
At GearSource, our responsibility is to protect your deals and your privacy. We take that responsibility seriously by having secure registration processes, rigid privacy rules and a leading, reputable payment service that provides extensive fraud checks before permitting a payment to proceed. We also have a KYC policy – Know Your Customer – which quite simply means getting as much information as possible about the customer and their intentions in order to prevent someone nefarious from misrepresenting who they are. This has been a very successful method for protecting sellers – we have, in fact, thwarted fraudulent behavior numerous times simply by maintaining awareness and knowing when a situation doesn’t pass the smell test.
Beware of thieves offloading stolen gear! GearSource is well-known in the industry, and often notified when equipment has been stolen. In fact, in many cases, we have managed to support the authorities in recovering that equipment. If you have had gear stolen from you, make sure to send us a list of it immediately. We’ll advise our contacts and, because our listings are QC’d before going live, our team will be on the lookout for any of the stolen gear showing up for sale on our Marketplace.
Bottom line, if something doesn’t feel right, doesn’t look right or doesn’t pass that smell test, stop. You are not obligated to proceed until you know you are safe to do so. As I said above, no “reputable” company will have an issue with being asked to verify anything.
If you have questions about GearSource security and fraud protection, please contact our support team at [email protected].