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When attempting to sell a product online (for instance, on craigslist) there is a very good chance you will be the target of a social engineer; this is especially true when you are selling high-value commodities like cars or jewelry. Given the anonymous nature of the internet, it can often be hard to distinguish between legitimate buyers and social-engineers.

What steps can a person take to minimize the risk inherit in conducting high-value transactions online? Is it possible to fully eliminate the risk?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Use an escrow service.

From Wikipedia:

Internet escrow works by placing money in the control of an independent and licensed third party in order to protect both buyer and seller in a transaction. When both parties verify the transaction has been completed per terms set, the money is released. If at any point there is a dispute between the parties in the transaction, the process moves along to dispute resolution.

Also,

One way to avoid escrow fraud is to use a Government Agency authorised escrow company (UK),or a State licensed escrow company (US)... The validity of an online escrow company's license can be checked with the regulating authority. Usually this is accessible through their official website, and should always be checked before dealing with an escrow company to ensure it is not a look-alike or fraud.

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