Privacy and safety are longtime concerns for anyone that buys or sells online, but at eBay, where buyers or sellers interact and transact directly with one another without ever having met or previously interacted, it can be of particular concern.
Anyone that trades regularly on eBayparticularly those that aren't computing or technology expertscan probably enhance their protection level against malicious and/or fraudulent activity by regularly visiting and reviewing the information in the eBay Security Center. Here's what you'll find there to help you to stay safe.
Tips for Identity Protection
There are some serious risks that come with trading on eBay if you don't know how to avoid trouble with identity theft.
The passwords that you choose can mean the difference between having a safe, secure eBay account and one that gets stolen and used by someone else, and the effect of account theft can be worse if you use the same password for your bank accounts or other shopping accounts.
Spoofing and phishing messages are also classic ways that fraudsters use to get ahold of traders personal information.
The identity protection tips in the eBay Security Center help eBay traders to steer clear of all of these risks.
Tips for Computer Protection
Not all risks to traders come from their own behavior or from being tricked by people with con-artist-style experience. As anyone who's had siginificant computer trouble in this area can attest, computer malware (viruses, trojans, spyware, and other similar types of unwanted software) can also lead to issues like account theft, identity theft, or unwitting participation in criminal activity (as a criminal uses your computer from afar, thanks to the installed malware, to commit crimes).
Unwanted malware can also simply keep you from tradingand that's also a big deal on eBay, whether you're a buyer that misses out on one or several great deals because your infected computer won't cooperate or you're a seller that ends up having to fall back on an emergency trading kit (You do have one, don't you?) because your main eBay computer(s) are infected.
Check out the tips for computer protection in the Security Center to help protect yourself against these types of threats.
Places to Report Problems
If you've discovered that you've become a victim (whether of a stolen account or of something as simple as counterfeiting), or discovered a threat (like a seller account that you suspect has been compromised or a kind of malware that you think might have affected lots of eBay users), it's always nice to be able to tell someone that might be able to help or warn others about the problem.
Because eBay does care about online crime that affects its userbase and its business, in the problem reporting area of the Security Center, eBay provides you with some contacts that can accept reports of malicious activity and help you to know what to do next in order to protect yourself or resolve security problems that you've experienced.
More Resources Around eBay and Beyond
Of course, a series of tips, tricks, general information, and contacts doesn't necessarily make up for in-depth knowledge or best practices on an everyday basis, and it often also leaves technical details (like how to identify phishes and spoofs or how to identify malware) out. General discussions also don't easily cover particular kinds of trading (buying a car or car parts on eBay poses different safety concerns from buying valuable collectible goods, for example).
To help to address these concerns, eBay's Security Center also links you to other resources with more specific safety information that might apply to your concerns, like the eBay Motors Security Center, the eBay Trust and Safety Discussion Board, or law enforcement resources outside of eBay.
eBay Security "Alerts"
If you see a one or more "Alerts" in the eBay Security Center, read them carefullythese exist to inform eBay traders about current issues or kinds of fraudulent activity that have seen spikes in activity. Items in Alerts are those that are most likely to affect people and/or that people are least likely to have become informed about yet.