The simplicity and convenience of on-line escrow payment service
has made it so popular among Internet users. Its in-built safeguards
work for both buyer and seller - making it a safe and inexpensive
payment option. However, the safety of escrow service depends entirely
on honest conduct of the escrow operator.
Awareness about common frauds associated with escrow service and
knowledge of safeguards can save you from the clutches of unscrupulous
escrow operators. Here's an example of common escrow fraud
Fraudster in the guise of escrow operator
The fraudster sets up a fake escrow service, complete with professional
looking web-site and phony certificates. It then joins hand with
an unscrupulous auctioneer to trap unsuspecting buyer.
The auctioneer puts on sale an attractive item, often fictitious,
with lucrative price tag. Buyer, unaware of the trap, bids for the
item and eventually wins. The seller then suggests the fake escrow
service for monetary transaction.
Unsuspecting buyer agrees and sends money to fake escrow service.
The 'escrow operator' then starts harassing the buyer after receiving
buyer's money. The fraudsters use various stalling tactics like
asking for more information, demanding clarifications and sometimes
even more money to clear the transaction.
Eventually, buyer gets frustrated and gives up any hope of receiving
the auction item or refund. If the buyer is tenacious type who does
not give-up easily and involve law enforcing agents or police -
the fraudster closes down the 'escrow service' only to start a new
one under different name.
Safeguards to be taken for selecting escrow
Use auction service of well-known sites (e.g.
Use an escrow service recommended by the online
auction site (for example, eBay recommends Escrow.com)
If the seller wants you to use a specific escrow
company, ask why. Be sure to check it out carefully
If anything seems fishy, find another escrow
More Information on Fake Escrow Operators
For more information on fake escrow services, visit http://www.sos4auctions.com
Fenton Smith, who created this site has listed over 100 sites
that he labels scam escrow services - 47 of them are still active.
Happy and Safe Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 4, Issue 24
; Feb 12' 2004
Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various
capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development,
MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce
venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of
his own. He may be reached at email@example.com