7. Be extra cautious with hard-to-get items. Echoing Webb's advice, PayPal urges users to take extra steps to verify sellers' authenticity when dealing with rare or expensive items, including tickets, jewelry and memorabilia.
[See: 50 Smart Money Moves.]
8. Guard your personal information. PayPal warns against sharing personal financial information online with strangers, downloading attachments that could harm your computer and logging into your PayPal account via hyperlinks that might take you to fake websites. Fake emails from PayPal might address you as "Dear PayPal user," while the real PayPal always uses your first and last name (or business name used on the account), the company says.
As long as you take these steps to protect yourself, you can shop – and sell – online without worrying too much about getting scammed. Diana, the mother of three who wanted the Thomas tickets, got her money back after filing a dispute with PayPal. But she didn't get what she really wanted, which was tickets for her sons to see their favorite train. Next time, she says she'll stick to using her local mom's list and other more personal sources when trying to land last-minute tickets.