Big eBay Scam

Today we have a Snippets issue. We’ll focus on these three topics:

– Big eBay Scam

– Do Free Credit Reports Include Your Credit Score?

– Resource: New Ways to Save Money on Your Heating Bills

Big eBay Scam

Can you really get vacant land for just a couple hundred dollars on eBay — or is this just the latest eBay scam?

If you’ve browsed eBay lately, you’ve likely noticed that there’s a category specifically for vacant land. And surprisingly, there are hundreds of listings each and every day.

Yes, you heard us right — hundreds of parcels of property are being auctioned off on eBay on any given day!

But how can so many people be selling land at such affordable prices? After all, isn’t land supposed to be expensive?

As with all things, buyer beware. While the people selling the vacant land on eBay may be promising you pie-in-the-sky stories, the fact of the matter is many of these lots aren’t even buildable.

So how do they get away with this?

In most cases, it’s not that what they’re telling you isn’t true. It’s what they’re leaving out.

For example, 1 acre lots in Colorado are selling for a mere $1000. Mountain views, privacy, nature in abundance — all of these things are touted in the ads.

What the ads don’t tell you is that you couldn’t live on any of this land if you wanted to. The lots are simply not buildable at this point in time.

Yes, at some point in the future they might become buildable, but right now they have absolutely no water rights, which means no building permits. That means you’re paying for land you can’t live on or build on.

Is all the vacant land for sale on eBay like this? Of course not.

However, a good portion of the vacant lots have no utilities and many don’t even meet local building requirements or zoning ordinances.

So, what should a consumer do?

Obviously, be very careful. We believe it’s a lot safer to buy vacant land through a licensed real estate agent. While you might wind up paying a bit more, at least you’ll know what you’re buying.

If you do decide to buy through eBay, ask a lot of questions so you know what you’re getting. For example, how is the land zoned? Does it have a building permit? Are there water rights? Roads? Access? Utilities? Etc.

When it comes to real estate, you usually get what you pay for, so be very careful buying vacant land on eBay. Otherwise, it’s likely you’ll wind up feeling like you’ve just fallen for the latest eBay scam.

For more on eBay and other online auction scams, click here.

Do Free Credit Reports Include Your Credit Score?

We got a lot of great feedback on last week’s issue on getting your free credit report. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read it here.

Many subscribers asked one question, and we’d like to clarify the answer. Here is how one subscriber asked the question:

Question: I went to the correct site and was able to easily obtain my free credit report at each of these three credit bureaus. However, on none of the three was I able to find how to get my “CREDIT SCORE” for free. Did you find this too?

Answer: The credit bureaus are NOT required to give your credit score for free — just a copy of your credit report. All of them charge to send your credit score.

Getting a copy of your credit report is important for making sure there are no errors on your credit report and to help protect against identity theft. However, if you want to also see your credit score, you will have to pay the fees.

Resource: New Ways to Save Money on Your Home Heating Bills

Since heating costs have been skyrocketing, many homeowners are looking for cheaper sources for heating their homes. We just found a website that lists rebates, as well as federal and state tax credits, for implementing renewable energy in every state in the US.

Many of these laws are new. For example, we found a great program in our state, North Carolina, that was enacted in September 2005 and became effective January 1, 2006.

If you are considering adding a solar, wind, or other renewable energy source to your home, click here.

Be sure to click on both the federal and state links for your state.

That’s it for today. Have a great week!