Fraudulent listings spotted in the two weeks prior to writing this guide have included:-
- Two Flir thermal imaging cameras
- A Fluke DTX-1800 network cable analyser
- Two trailer-mounted Inmesol diesel generators
- An Ergoline Evolution commercial sunbed
- A Xerox DocuColor 252 printer/scanner/copier
- A large Canon EF camera lens
- A Brother PR 1000 Pro embroidery machine
- A Roland VersaCAMM vinyl printer
What to watch out forAll the above items had the following combination of "traits"
- Zero-feedback seller
- Item located in the far corners of the UK, one seller had items in Penzance and Oman at the same time - 650 miles apart!
- Payment was to be by bank transfer
- Item was high-value and fairly specialist, yet started at 99p with no reserve
- Large items with ridiculously cheap postage (£38.88 to ship a sunbed from the Shetland Islands?)
Two of the items had already been sold and were relisted using the same account.
Some of the items had images which, when searched for using Google Image Search, would turn up on other sites. The original images were from forum posts, classified ads, etc. which were several years old.
Where to look for cluesThe common traits are easy enough to check out. Look at the listing itself! In addition, check out the seller's completed listings.
Pictures are a bit trickier to check. Here's how you do it:-
- Click on the Enlarge button below the image, this should open the image in a new window
- View the page source code, if you can't find the menu by right-clicking the image, try pressing CTRL-U (Windows) or either CMD-U or CMD-ALT-U (OSX)
- Search (press CTRL-F or CMD-F) for "ebayimg", this will find the URL (web address) of the image on eBay's servers.
- Drag your mouse pointer to highlight the whole address (starting with http and ending with .JPG), then press CTRL-C or CMD-C to copy it to the clipboard
- Open a new browser window and go to Google, then choose Images from the top menu
- Click the little camera icon at the right of the search box, press CTRL-V or CMD-V to paste the address from the clipboard, then click Search.
- If Google DOES find a match, highlight the address in your browser's address bar, press CTRL-C or CMD-C to copy it to the clipboard, then paste it into Notepad, Wordpad, TextEdit, basically anything you can keep it in. You'll need it in a moment.
- Repeat the search with the other images in the listing (you need to click the X to the left of the Google search box to remove the existing image from the search). Paste any successful results into Notepad/Wordpad/TextEdit along with the others.
- Paste the item number into Notepad/Wordpad/TextEdit as well, you'll find this on the top-right of the item description (just below the box with the seller details).