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Beware of Stolen Goods – Know what eFencing is?

written by: anuramn•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/24/2011

Is it possible to identify whether goods sold online are legit or stolen? How to identify stolen goods? Learn here...

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    Shopping online has increased in the recent past. There are so many online websites from which users by products like eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, etc. Why do we prefer buying things online? Let me list down the advantages of online shopping to give a better picture on why people prefer buying things online.

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    Advantages of online shopping

    1. It’s just a click away.

    2. One can avoid the heavy traffic, money spent on the gas for the car, time, energy, and the maddening crowd.

    3. Searching for an item using online catalog is more simple and easy when compared to visiting a store.

    4. You get to read the reviews of the product you are intended to buy and can understand whether it is really worth the money you spend.

    5. Majority of the times, information like specifications of the product, safety procedures, and how to use the product are listed in the website. This gives an idea on whether we would require a particular product or not.

    6. With so many deals available, you can choose the best product for the best price.

    Having listed the advantages, I would like to tell some major disadvantages of online shopping and how to safeguard ourselves.

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    Disadvantages of online shopping

    1. You might be aware of phishing attacks and identity thefts that happen when you purchase things online and therefore, you will be extra cautious; however, have you heard about eFencing? Does the word sound weird?

    2. Privacy of information is another major concern when buying online.

    eFencing is a new area of online fraud that many are unaware of and therefore, I would like to elaborate on this particular topic in the coming paragraphs.

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    eFencing – what it is?

    According to Wikipedia, “eFencing is the sale of stolen or shoplifted items on the Internet.”

    Do you use fencing around your home and for your garden? Why do you do it? You do it to protect your home and garden. When it comes to criminal investigation, do you know what the term “fence” means? It means one who buys stolen goods or a place where one gets to buy stolen goods. How do they do this? Thieves steal things that are popular in the market and sell them through online auction websites as they might face problems when they try selling it through either a pawn shop or flea markets. When they try selling it in flea markets or in pawn shops, chances of they getting caught is more and therefore, they try the easier route, online auction websites.

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    Why thieves prefer to sell stolen goods online?

    There are various reasons for a thief to sell the stolen goods online rather using flea markets or pawn shops. Think of his situation if the employee in the pawn shop suspects about the good and questions the thief? This is one reason. In general, when you try selling goods in pawn shops, they ask for identification or finger prints. When the good is found to be stolen, it is easy to track the thief using his finger prints; another reason for not selling in flea markets. When they sell online, it is not necessary to reveal their identity and most of the times it is possible to make a profit higher than what they would get when selling through a physical location.

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    Safeguarding against eFencing

    I think you are a little worried after you understood what eFencing is? You are thinking whether there is a way to protect oneself against eFencing or not. There is definitely a way using which you can safeguard yourself against eFencing. What it is? Let me explain it in the coming paragraphs.

    Do you sell or buy vehicles using eBay? If yes, you must have definitely noticed that every vehicle that is sold using eBay must possess a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and this has to be verified by Carfax. This helps in identifying whether the vehicle is stolen or not. A similar mechanism can be used for identifying other goods that are sold through online auction websites; what is your opinion? This is an idea or suggestion given to the auction websites to solve or reduce eFencing; however, how a buyer can identify whether a particular product is stolen or not?

    Do you see a particular seller sells large quantities of a particular product? If yes, you have to be cautious as this can be a small part of the large booty. Similarly, many try to sell brand new things; this should also trigger suspicions. Why would a person sell a newly bought item? Think twice or thrice before you purchase online especially when a seller sells large quantities or a brand new item.