eBay sellers warned not to provide addresses in online ads

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Melbourne, June 19 : While internet auction sites like eBay gain much popularity among internet buyers, those who sell goods on such websites are being warned not to put their addresses in the advertisement, for this can make it easy for the thieves to swipe off the listed products.

According to a police investigation in Canberra, goods are being stolen after being listed for sale on the Internet.

Detective Sergeant Dave Harrison of the territory investigations group said that giving details other than a phone number posted on the online auction sites provides easy access to the thieves to find the goods they want.

"Thieves can click on a website and find a particular vehicle they like and pinpoint the location where they can find it," The Daily Telegraph quoted, him as saying.

Recently, several trail bikes have been stolen from Canberra garages after sellers listed their home address in the online advertisements.

Det Sgt Harrison advised the sellers to only supply an initial contact point, like a phone number, and further details should only be passed on only after being sure that they are dealing with a genuine buyer. This will create an "identifiable link" between buyer and seller that can later be reported to police, in case things go wrong.

"Don't give thieves a roadmap to your property," he said.

eBay spokesman Daniel Feiler said that people can list their address in the "item description" section but they do not recommend it.

"There's no need to publicly display your address. For smaller operators and people who just sell on a casual basis, it makes sense not to include that information," said Feiler.

He said that it is usually the bigger companies that list their addresses, as it is required for commercial reasons. But for other sellers, it is advised to exchange further information only when a transaction is complete. In fact, even then the seller's address is only required if there's a need for the item to be picked up.

"The vast majority of items on eBay are shipped either through the post or through courier companies," said Feiler.

However, the auction site stressed that it had a policy of sharing information with police to crack down on theft and fraud.

Feiler warned: "eBay retains a lot of information about the buyer and the seller. You would be stupid to do the wrong thing on eBay because of the kind of information we keep and because of our willingness to share it with law enforcement."

ANI

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