Scams on Ebay
I deal a lot on ebay and I've come across some doozy scams;
most are obvious but some are very hard to spot.
One thing I will admit - I have been stung by the
Powerseller email; it wasn't my proudest moment.
What saved me was the fact that eBay's safety department had caught the scam
artist and shut my account (to be reopened by me when I proved I was the
account owner); ironically I thought the email I got from eBay's safety
department was fake!!
Below is an overview of scams I have seen on ebay.
Okay, lets start with the one I got caught by.
When you do a certain amount of sales each month on ebay
($2,000 in Australia) for 3 months you may be invited to be a Powerseller; as a
Powerseller I can recommend accepting this invitation if you receive it!
I was on ebay for 2 years with my sales slowly growing, one
month I actually hit $2k of sales! Then the next month I did it again!! If I
did it for a 3rd time I was going to be an ebay Powerseller!!!
I was half way through the 3rd month and it was looking good, then suddenly I
got the invitation! I had DONE IT!!!
I quickly clicked on the link, logged in and accepted the
When I woke up the next morning I was informed by ebay that I
was not a Powerseller and that my account had been hijacked - the email I
received was a fake.
I went through the procedure of getting my account back on line but felt pretty
stupid that I had been caught out.
I did receive (real) Powerseller status at the end of the month
Account suspension, account on hold
Stay on ebay long enough and you will receive an email with this as a
heading. It looks like it is from ebay and tells you that your account is
suspended, overdrawn, owing money e.t.c
The email is usually pretty good and looks like a real ebay email, but when
you click on the button that says 'click here to reinstate your account' it
takes you to another site altogether, if you enter your details into this (non
ebay) web site then you have given your details to the scammer.
'where's my item?', 'I've paid the wrong
These are emails from other ebay members and they are usually fairly abrupt
and disrespectful; they claim that they have not received the item they bought
from you and that if you don't do about it quickly they will report you to the
police and have you banned from ebay.
These emails are deliberately rude in order to get you nervous and make
The email has a link in it (the big yellow button) so you can access your
ebay account and sort out the problem.
If you investigate this slowly (by going to the ebay site without clicking
on the email) you will find that there was no transaction and it is a
How to Avoid all this
If you receive an email from ebay simply delete it and then go into the ebay
web site; if the email was real then a message will be waiting for you, if
there is no message waiting then it was fake.
What do I do if I just gave my details to a
Contact ebay straight away and tell them the truth. They have about 100
accounts stolen a day in Australia and won't think you are an stupid if you
were conned, they are very helpful in this situation.
Why do scammers want your ebay account?
When a scammer has access to your ebay account they immediately put hundreds
of iPods on ebay (or any other item that has a fast turnover and a large
Why? An iPod sells in Australia every 6 minutes.
An iPod usually sells for around $360 in Australia so if a scammer put them on
for $200 each then they could possibly sell 10 an hour ($2,000 an hour). When
they sell the iPod they ask the buyer to wire transfer the money to them, they
receive the money but there is no iPod.
When the buyer asks for their money back they ask YOU (it's your account
remember) but the buyer actually wired the money to the scammer, which is
untraceable. The buyer has lost their money and usually leaves you negative
feedback out of frustration.
I have seen an account where over 400 iPods were sold over a weekend (the
real account holder had gone away for that time). 400 iPods at $200 each?
$80,000 is not bad money for 72 hours of work.
I have written a book (Cyberscams : How they affect ebay,
Paypal and you) which covers the ebay scams in more details.
Chapter headings are below -
|Chapter 10 - Shill bidding|
|Chapter 11 - Retracted bids|
|Chapter 12 - Postage costs|
|Chapter 13 - Change of Address|
|Chapter 14 - Refunds|
|Chapter 15 - Linking to web sites
|Chapter 16 - Wire transfers|
|Chapter 17 - Auction Interference|
|Chapter 18 - Allegations of price
fixing and overpricing|
|Chapter 19 - Early offers|
|Chapter 20 - Price guides|
|Chapter 21 -Drop Shippers and
|Chapter 22 - Selling on behalf of
others (trading assistant)|
|Chapter 23 - Items damaged in the
|Chapter 24 - Second chance offers|
|Chapter 25 - Feedback extortion|
|Chapter 26 – The Powerseller scam|
|Chapter 27 - What to do when you
think you have found a fake item or account|
Think I'm the only one who jumps up and down about these scams? Think
I'm a lone nut?
Well I'm not, ebay user "class-it" wrote this in the 'payment methods' section on a
real ebay auction. Ebay threatened legal action over this.
This was written on the 10th of February 2008 and I saw the original on 11th of
February, ebay took it down within hours.
"DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN STEAL THIS LAPTOP OFF ME:
PAYPAL: Paypal is currently ebays preferred method of stealing high value
electrical items off sellers. There are a number of various ways you can use
to steal this laptop using paypal.
1: A Fake “Item Not Received” (I.N.R) Claim – All you simply have to do
here is purchase my item using an unverified paypal account. Then when you
receive the laptop, simply claim that you didn’t receive it at your
registered (credit card) and paypal will give you all your money back !
2: A Fake “Item Significantly Not As Described” (S.N.A.D) This is a great
way to steal items off sellers. Simply start a dispute after you get the
laptop making up some lie about the item being damaged etc – You could use
Photoshop to make up fake pictures of damage. Paypal will ask you to send the
item back to me, but don’t bother – they never enforce that on buyers and
after a short wait you will get all your money back and you will still have
3: A fake “Unauthorised Use” Claim – This is a super way of stealing
items on ebay and is widely used. Simply claim that someone hijacked your
account (paypal & ebay) and that you didn’t order the laptop. Then in
conjunction with a fake I.N.R claim you can simply steal the laptop and of
course, get your money back.
4: A Stolen Credit card – Of course, ebay make no real attempt to vet any of
its buyers, so hey, just register a new ebay account using fake ID information
and link it to a paypal account set up with a stolen credit card – and hey
presto – A free laptop.
Although officially banned on ebay, fake western union payments are the
preferred way for Nigerian Scammers to steal high value electrical items.
Simply email me (using pigeon English) telling me that you would like to buy
this item using Western Union – Tell me that you would be happy to pay over
the odds for the laptop and that it is a present for your mother in law. Then
send me a fake western union payment notification and I send you the laptop
– Perfect. This method of stealing items off sellers is very widely used on
ebay and of course, as ebay do not properly verify buyers its easy to do. Make
sure you use Pigeon English as I am really really stupid and it’s bound to
If you are a traditionalist like me you may prefer a good old mugging. Simply
offer to meet me on some dodgy housing estate somewhere and have a load of you
mates hiding behind a hedge with a few iron bars. Again, offer to pay me over
the odds as there is nothing better than using a sellers greed to bait them
into a scam. I would be grateful if you could avoid killing me as this will
cause bad publicity for ebay which would be terrible.
In the unlikely event that you are actually a genuine buyer then you really
should be shopping in a real shop and not this scammers paradise. However this
laptop does really exist and is really for sale. You can email me or skype me
with suggestions on how we may actually transact this item to both our
satisfaction – with both our safety in mind. Don’t even think of buying it
using paypal. I’ve only listed it as accepted because ebay run a protection
racket that means I have to accept it. If you do pay by paypal I will simply
refund your payment and give you a nice new shiny NEG.
Of course you will no doubt be aware that from May onwards you will be able to
blackmail sellers into giving you free P&P / discounts etc. You will be
able to give them neg feedback and they will not be able to give you any.. I
regret to advise you that because this rule does not come in until May this
option of scamming me is not open to you yet.
I would grateful if some sad failed traffic warden could report this auction
for two reasons
1: Ebay will see this listing and will hopefully close my account, saving me a
180 days wait to do it myself.
2: You will save me listing fees, making this a free advert."