Protect Your Information

Marketplace Safety Tips


Virus Prevention

Stay safe online by safeguarding your computer against viruses.

There are numerous viruses in circulation that threaten to damage your computer or spy on your Internet activities. While there is no foolproof way to protect your computer, you can minimize your risk by installing virus protection software. Take full advantage of virus protection by:

  • Keeping the virus protection software up-to-date
  • Set the virus protection software to install updates on a regular basis.
  • Use the virus protection software to scan your computer frequently.


Spoof Protection

Spoof emails and Web sites can be a major problems for unsuspecting Internet users. Claiming to be sent by a well-known company, spoof email directs users to Web sites asking for personal information such as a credit card number, Social Security number, or account password.

Because it's so difficult to tell when an email or Web site is a spoof, eBay recommends that you:

  • Never enter sensitive personal information (such as your password or credit card, bank account, and Social Security numbers) in an email.

If you've upgraded to a browser with the latest anti-phishing capabilities, the Web address bar may help you to identify secure Web pages. Look for a green Web address bar to confirm that you are on a secure page before entering sensitive information.


Password Protection

Stay safe online by protecting your account password. 

Whether you're on- or offline, care for your password as you would care for the key to your house. If your password falls into the wrong hands, your identity may be stolen and someone else may access your account. 

You can take a few simple steps to help ensure that your password is protected:

  • Make sure to create a different password for each online account you hold.
  • Create a more secure password by using a combination of letters and numbers.
  • Change your password often.
  • Don't share your password with anyone.
  • If you're signing in to eBay, only enter your password at a URL that begins with


OnGuard Online

OnGuard Online - Stop. Think. Click. 

The Federal Trade Commission and the technology industry have teamed up to create a set of tips, articles, videos and quizzes designed to help you guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer and protect your personal information. Learn more



Buy with confidence by reviewing a seller's eBay feedback. 

Before you bid or buy on eBay, it's important to know your seller. Always look at your seller's feedback ratings, score and comments first to get an idea of their reputation within the eBay marketplace. 

Each comment and rating - whether positive, neutral or negative - is an opportunity to understand the history and experience of a seller, a chance to form your own opinions, and a visual cue to help you make a smart buying decision.


Item Description

Buy with confidence by reading the item description before placing a bid. 

Before you bid or buy on eBay, it's important to know about the item you're interested in. Always read the item description carefully before placing a bid or using Buy It Now. 

The item description can help you make an informed decision and avoid surprises. It's always a good idea to look at the details of a specific item, as well as the shipping costs, payment methods accepted, and whether the seller offers a return policy. 


Contacting the Seller

Buy with confidence by using the 'Ask Seller a Question' feature to get answers before you buy. 

Before you buy an item on eBay, it's important to have all of your questions about the item answered. All listings on eBay include a link in the Seller Information box to the "Ask Seller a Question" feature. Using this feature is an easy way to make sure that all your questions are answered before you buy.


Second Chance Offers

Some non-winning bidders have reported receiving fake Second Chance Offers from sellers both in their personal email accounts and in My Messages. You can make sure a Second Chance Offer is real by following these 4 steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on My eBay at the top of the page and sign in
  3. Go to My Messages. Make sure the Second Chance Offer appears in My Messages with a blue background and subject stating, "eBay Second Chance Offer for Item...". Legitimate Second Chance Offers are forwarded to you directly from eBay with this subject line.

eBay will NEVER forward a Second Chance Offer with the subject line, "Message from eBay Member". If you receive an email claiming to be a Second Chance Offer with that subject line, it's fake. Do not respond to the sender. Forward the email to and we will investigate. Learn more about Second Chance Offers.


Off eBay Web Site

Stay safe -- Always remember to complete your transaction on eBay--it's the safer way to trade with others. Trade safely by remaining on the eBay Web site to complete your transaction. eBay's rules prohibit use of our system to solicit others to buy or sell items "off eBay." We strongly advise recipients of these email solicitations to report the senders to eBay Customer Support. Participants in "off eBay" transactions aren't able to use eBay feedback or buyer protection programs if a problem arises.


Instant Cash Transfer Services

Pay safely online by never using instant cash transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram International to pay for your eBay purchases. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know. Learn more about accepted payment methods



Pay safely - beware of fake escrow services when you consider using them to pay for your eBay item.

  • For eBay transactions, you should use eBay's only approved escrow
  • To avoid being deceived by fraudulent email from a fake escrow service, you should visit the escrow service's Web site to verify information you received via email.
  • Make sure you type the entire Web address (for example, into your Web browser. Don't let your Web browser auto-complete the Web address for you. It could mistakenly auto-complete a fraudulent Web address.
  • Learn more about escrow:


Postal Money Orders

You've sold the goods, now it's time to get paid. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has a message for you: while the check may be in the mail, it doesn't always mean money in the bank. Scammers using counterfeit checks, commercial money orders, and postal money orders to "pay" for items are leaving sellers empty handed.. Avoiding this scam is as simple as crossing a street—if sellers apply the same three basic principles: Stop. Look. Listen.

  • Stop. Never accept an overpayment for any item. Buyers should be advised to make payment in the correct amount. One of the most common signs of a fraud about to occur is the request to accept an overpayment and provide "change".
  • Look. Familiarize yourself with the security features offered by various forms of payment. Postal Money Orders offer easy to recognize security features that counterfeiters have been unable to replicate.
  • Listen. Make certain you understand your bank's funds availability policy before you release merchandise to the buyer. Never send merchandise to a buyer BEFORE the check clears the bank. While some checks take only a couple days to clear, others can take several weeks.

If you're not sure a postal money order is authentic, play it safe. Contact eBay's Trust and Safety group, or the Postal Inspection Service. The Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service. As a valued customer of eBay and the Postal Service, we're pleased to have an opportunity to be of service to you. 

A message from the Postal Inspectors: Protecting the Postal Service, its customers and employees from criminal attack for over 200 years.


Foreign Cashier's Checks

Some sellers of high priced goods receive requests from bidders in foreign countries (often in Africa) to accept foreign cashier's checks as payment for their items. Some of the requests offer to "overpay" for an item, and ask the seller to wire the overpayment back to the buyer through services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. 

We urge all sellers to use extreme caution when accepting foreign cashier's checks for high priced items, as such foreign checks may take weeks or months to clear and may be counterfeit. 

Note: Some checks may appear to be from a US bank but, upon closer inspection, include foreign country or city names. 

Furthermore, sellers should never accept overpayments from buyers for items where the buyer is asking to be reimbursed for overpayment.  We ask sellers who receive such offers to report it to eBay immediately.