13 RED FLAGS To warn a Bidder of Fraudulent Sales.

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13 RED FLAGS To Warn a Bidder of a Fraudulent Transaction :

Most people who are defrauded are victims of their own greed. When a transaction appears to be too good to be true, it likely is.

Application of common sense can preserve your money.

1. A popular item is offered at a significant discount.

The price seems too good to be true.

Expensive items -- such as vehicles of all types, computers, electronics, jewellery, musical instruments and event tickets are often involved.

Moderately expensive items have increasingly become involved, after eBay established a dominant position in several enormously populated Asian markets. Electronics, all kinds of designer clothing and accessories, cameras, coins, jewellery, athletic shoes, golf clubs and equipment, and antiquities are frequently involved...
 

2. Payment options provide no security or sub-optimal security for the buyer.

A. Never pay for an item using Western Union (WU) or Money gram Instant cash (non-bank) wire transfers. They are specifically not permitted for eBay transactions.

 

WU and Money gram Instant cash wire transfers were created for sending money to someone you know and trust.

WU and Money gram instant cash wire transfers are untraceable and unrecoverable after the thief picks up the money, which is typically very soon after it is sent. In an attempt to provide the illusion of safety, the seller tells the buyer to send the money to a fake name or to use a secret password, which the buyer will change only after receiving the item.

Do not confuse WU or Money gram cash wire transfer with bank-to-bank transfer, often known as bank wire transfer, or bank cash transfer, which is legitimate, and is the customary and preferred payment method in many countries.

 

B. Greenzap.com, e-gold, and Stormpay payments are untrustworthy and specifically not permitted for eBay transactions.

C. Cash. Cash is obviously high risk. It offers no protection against loss in mail or fraud.
NOTE: Some criminals deceptively display the PayPal logo on the auction page. When the buyer opts to use PayPal, the seller makes an excuse for not presently being able to accept PayPal, and insists on payment by a non-secure method.

Useful eBay Links:
eBay Help: Paying Confidently:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/payment-ov.html
eBay Accepted Payment Policy:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/accepted-payments-policy.html

3. Misleading claim of transaction security (buyer protection).

The seller (criminal) claims that purchase protection is guaranteed by Square Trade or some other official sounding, but non-existent division, of eBay and often sends faked emails to support these claims.

Fraudulent names that have been used include:
Square Trade Seal Program, Secure Trade, the eBay Safety Board, Trade Secure Division, eBay Transactions, eBay International Safety, or similar.

Square Trade is not a division of eBay. Square Trade neither provides escrow service nor facilitates transactions. Square Trade does not initiate emails to prospective buyers.

Square Trade is not a division of eBay. Square Trade neither provides escrow service nor facilitates transactions. Square Trade does not initiate emails to prospective buyers.

Criminals have created a remarkable number of fraudulent Square Trade look-alike and sound- alike websites to which victims are directed. The fraudulent site indicates that the seller is adequately insured against fraud for more than a sufficient amount and an instant cash wire transfer is specifically requested and sanctioned.

A bidder/buyer who is doubtful and undecided may receive a spoof email, appearing to originate from eBay, vouching for the seller and security of the transaction, which advises the buyer to complete the transaction.

These fraudulent emails often assert that the seller has placed a multi- thousand dollar security deposit with eBay.

Some further claim that the item will be shipped from an eBay warehouse. eBay neither holds security deposits, nor confirms or guarantee the safety of transactions. eBay does not own any warehouses in which merchandise is stored.

 

IMPORTANT!

To determine if an email which appears to be sent by eBay is genuine, remember that every email from eBay will appear in the My Messages section of my eBay.
Unless a message from eBay appears in My Messages it is fraudulent.

 

4. The item is no longer listed on eBay.

A fraud victim forfeits all eBay fraud protection by participating in an off-eBay transaction.
Inability to locate the auction by searching for the item number indicates that eBay deleted the listing and purged the auction from the eBay server because eBay determined that the listing was fraudulent or the seller was guilty of an infraction.

 
5. The seller’s location may be a clue to a fraudulent transaction.

The seller is registered in a country ( China and Romania are prime examples) which has a reputation for being a refuge for internet criminals.

The seller's registered location, the item location, and the eBay site on which the item is listed are inconsistent.
For example, why would a seller who is registered in China and whose item is located in China, list on the Ireland site over 10,000 miles away in Euros when the auction specifies that their item is available ONLY to the US, UK, and Europe, but not to nearby Asian countries or to Australia?

After an item is won, the seller directs the winner to send payment to a different location.

An unsuccessful bidder may receive an unsolicited offer to sell an identical item at a huge discount in an off-eBay transaction, typically from a person in a country thousands of miles away.

An unsuccessful bidder may receive an unsolicited offer to sell an identical item at a huge discount in an off-eBay transaction, typically from a person in a country thousands of miles away.

Fraud victims often purchase non-existent tickets to high profile sporting events and concerts in this manner.

 

6. The bidder needs to be pre-approved or the item is listed in a private auction.

When the buyer emails the seller for pre-approval, the seller offers instant sale (usually off-eBay) at significantly less than market value

Some private auctions (in which the user ID is kept private), are fraudulent. After placing a bid on a private auction, the bidder receives an emailed offer to transact off eBay.

Shill bidding on a private auction (the seller using another eBay account or colluding with another user to artificially increase the price) is impossible to detect.

 

7. The item is listed on hijacked account

Some characteristics of hijacked accounts are:

The seller has excellent feedback which was acquired solely from buying or from selling items unrelated to the expensive item being offered.

Private feedback. (Inconclusive when considered alone).

The feedback is primarily in a language which is inconsistent with the seller’s location (e.g. a seller registered in China whose feedback is primarily in German).

Items are suddenly listed on a dormant account. (Inconclusive when considered alone).

The auction page indicates that the item is located in, or will be shipped from, a country other than the country in which the seller is registered.

The hijacker may offer a creative reason for being in a foreign country.

There is a prominent statement on the auction page that email contact through the conventional eBay ask seller a question link is unavailable (various excuses are used), consequently you must email the seller by using an unconventional email me hyperlink embedded in the auction.
The seller may claim that they have already reached their email limit.

A hijacker does not want the true owner of the account tipped off by receiving an email about an auction which they did not list.

There is no conventional Buy It Now button, but the auction terms state Please email me for the Buy It Now price, or there is a phoney Buy It Now button embedded in the auction.

The seller does not respond to questions. (Inconclusive when considered alone).

The payment options provide limited or no security for the buyer. (Inconclusive when considered alone).

The payment methods listed on the auction page include the customary choices -- PayPal, money orders, checks, etc. When the seller contacts the buyer, only non-secure payment methods, such as cash or instant cash wire transfer, abruptly become the only accepted payment methods.

The auction description is well written, polished, and professional, but the shipping and payment details are unnatural and obviously not composed by the same person. That signals that the description was stolen from a legitimate auction, with the terms of sale replaced by the account hijacker.

After a potential victim indicates serious interest, in order to reduce the opportunity for the authentic account holder to detect the fraud and notify eBay, the hijacker may end the auction early.

 

To report a suspected hijacked account,
Click on the Help link in the navbar at the top of an eBay page. Then click on Contact us.
Tick the Account Security button and click continue.
In Step 1, choose Unauthorized account activity
In Step 2, choose Report another user's account as stolen
Click continue. Ignore the content on the next page. Click on the email link to forward the report to eBay.

 

8. The seller offers free shipping, often premium (very expensive) shipping, from a distant country.

Imagine the cost of overnight shipping for something like a horse trailer from Romania, a tractor or an automobile from Greece, or a motorcycle from Spain, to a buyer who lives over five thousand miles away.

9. There is no actual photo, or just a generic photo.

The auction ad shows no pictures of the actual item, but may show an illustration taken from a catalogue or website. This by itself is inconclusive in the absence of other red flags.

 

10. A one or three day auction, often ending on a weekend

While 1 day auctions seem to be favoured by scammers, this is inconclusive in the absence of other red flags

 

11. An unbelievable bargain is frequently a counterfeit item (or simply does not exist.)

Realistically, it is impossible to buy new genuine items for a fraction of the retail price.

Many imitation products are listed by sellers registered in China , which has a well earned reputation as the counterfeit capital of the world. They are often offered by sellers in other countries as well, including the USA .

The manufacturers of many elite luxury designer brands distribute their products only through exclusive and fashionable retail stores, so it is impossible to obtain them at wholesale prices.

Among the counterfeit items which account for a sizeable number of complaints on the user boards from disappointed and embittered buyers are:

Consumer electronics, especially GPS systems and iPods

Designer clothing, purses and bags. Handbags may come complete with a counterfeit dust bag, forged documentation of authenticity, and even a phoney receipt from a company store - all of which are liberally available in wholesale quantities on the internet.

Jewellery, particularly diamond jewellery and Tiffany items.

Cameras and camcorders.

Watches, especially Rolex.

Shoes, particularly athletic shoes.

Athletic equipment, especially golf clubs.

Musical instruments.

DVDs - the vast majority of bootleg DVDs are All Region or Region 0 (but all Region O DVDs are not counterfeit.)
Legitimate Region 1 DVDs made for the North American market will not have Chinese characters on the cover.

Chinese antiques - Residents of China are forbidden by law from exporting genuine antiquities

 

A feedback red flag is often a reliable warning of a listing for a non-existent or counterfeit item.
Beware if the seller has exchanged positive feedback for cheap items with several other users during a brief time frame. If scrutiny reveals that the transactions ended, were paid for, shipped and received, and positive feedback exchanged within a few minutes, consider it to be solid evidence of a fraudulent seller.
Another frequent potential red flag for a counterfeit or non-existent item is greatly inflated shipping and insurance cost. This by itself is inconclusive in the absence of other red flags.

 

12. The seller recommends an escrow service other than escrow.com

Fraudulent escrow sites are created daily by thieves for the purpose of attempting to defraud unsuspecting users. Several hundred phoney escrow sites exist.
Use only escrow.com or one of the international escrow sites listed on this page:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/payment-escrow.html

 

13. Second Chance Offer (SCO)

To ensure that a Second Chance Offer is legitimate, go to http://www.ebay.com and click on My eBay. Then sign in and make sure the Second Chance Offer appears in My Messages.

Legitimate Second Chance Offers are forwarded directly from eBay and appear in My Messages with a blue background and subject stating: Second Chance Offer for Item ....

eBay will never send a Second Chance Offer email with the subject line: Question from eBay Member.
If you receive an email pretending to be a Second Chance Offer with that subject line, it is fraudulent. Do not respond.


Report the email to eBay by using the report link in the email if it came through eBay or by using the embedded link in this eBay help page:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/rfe-spam-non-ebay-sale.html

 

Help to make eBay safer for yourself and others by reporting scams and frauds to eBay.

To report a suspected fraudulent auction

Go to Help at the top of any page.
Click on Contact Us,
then tick Listing Violations
In step 1 choose Fraudulent Listings
In step 2 choose Report a listing you think is fraudulent ( you didn't bid )
Click continue. Ignore the content on the next page. Click on the email link to forward the report to eBay.

or
Click the report this item link, which is near the bottom the auction page

CAUTION:
Be careful clicking anywhere on a fraudulent listing.
Be aware that some auction listings will redirect you to an authentic-looking eBay sign-in page that has been set up by the criminal to steal your password and ID.
If possible, use another method of reporting the auction, rather than clicking on the report link on it.

To report a suspected hijacked account

click on Help at the top of any page.
Click on Contact Us,
then tick Account Security
In Step 1, choose Unauthorized account activity
In Step 2, choose Report another user's account as stolen
Click continue. Ignore the content on the next page. Click on the email link to forward the report to eBay.

To report an emailed attempt to defraud you

If you were contacted through the eBay message system,
report the contact to eBay by using the reporting link in the email from the criminal.
Locate that at lower right, where eBay warns "Is this email inappropriate? Does it violate eBay policy?
Help protect the community by reporting it."

If the contact was made outside the eBay message system,
use the embedded "Contact eBay to report an outside of eBay email offer " link on the eBay policy page entitled "Offers to Buy or Sell Outside of eBay"
http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/rfe-spam-non-ebay-sale.html

If you received an unsolicited offer to buy or sell
forward the email, with full headers to spam@ebay.com

To report a scam listing that redirects to a sign-in page off eBay

go to Help at the top of any page.
Click on Contact Us,
then tick Listing Violations
In step 1 choose Listing policy violations
In step 2 choose Inappropriate links and credits
In step 3 choose Links to sites that solicit eBay User IDs or passwords
Click continue. Ignore the content on the next page. Click on the email link to forward the report to eBay.

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