15 November 2007
The infamous 'Nigeria' scam. If you haven't been scammed, then you aren't a fully fledged member of eBay yet. :P
This quick guide is to give my advice on how to deal with these American layabouts and how to stop the illegal behaviour before it is too late.
If you have never even heard of this scam, this usually takes place in the final few hours of an expensive electrical auction, usually mobile phones or laptop computers. Ever seen a suspiciously large amount being bid on an item, say £2,000.00? That's a scammer. So, what can you do to stop it, what can save you from the iminent trouble that's about to ensue? Simple, follow these steps:
Monitor your auction's progress in its final moments. Check your bidder's list, just a simple thing, check out their feedback. If it seems okay, don't presume that it's all legit, investigate further. A simple glance at the "seller/buyers location" is usually a big warning sign. If it says "America" then be very cagey. If there is time, email the seller to check it's authenticity. Another very handy tip is to go to the home page of eBay and click the "Advanced Search" option. This is also explained in the eBay's help page aswell for future reference. Click on the left, the option for "Items by Bidder." Type in the users name and I always check the "completed listings" option. Look at what it shows. Are there previous completed transactions for mobile phones that have been sucessfully completed? If there is, chances are, the buyer is genuine. However, if you continue to search further and spot that the bidder is also bidding on other phones, iPods, laptops etc. then alarm bells should ring.
If the item still has a suspicious bid in the final few minutes, prepare to "End the Auction Early" option in the sellers section of "my eBay." A sure fire guarantee of a scammer, is another rediculous bid being placed at around the final moments, often several thousands of pounds to claim the item. END THE AUCTION EARLY.
But what if it's too late? What can you do to help your situation? Well, here is what I did.
DON'T send an invoice to buyer. Simple. That's the scammers first attack front. These invoices usually show your full name, account status and address in some cases.
DO send them an email through eBay asking for them to email within an alloted time. Make the time scale small to allow for negative feedback to be left to warn off other sellers. Usually, eBay quickly close the account so the user is no longer registered on eBay. That doesn't matter, as he has all the info he needs already.
LEAVE negative feedback. Get into contact if possible with other sellers to verify the situation and decide on appropriate action with them. Usually, victims are targeted multiple times so they would have had more experience with the situation.
EMAIL eBay. Explain your concerns thoroughly. Also, claim your final valuation fee if the account is no longer active as if it is a substantial sale amount, chances are so are the eBay fee's.
MONITOR your email inbox closely. I wouldn't expect contact from a scammer until the next day after.
The email will usually be found in the JUNK category, with an incorrect "message title" and some pathetic made up reference number. Also, if the scammer is thick (like mine CDELLOFF) he will use out of date logo's and layouts in the email, and poorly designed and aligned details which instantly prove it is a fake. Try forwarding the email. You will know it's not a genuine PayPal as you can edit every part of the email.
DON'T click on any links included in the emails however.
FORWARD ALL OF THESE IMPERSONATION EMAILS TO SPOOF @ BOTH EBAY AND PAYPAL.CO.UK
You will then get another email saying something like "I paid extra to post to Nigeria." This is the only part of the scam I don't understand thoroughly. Always check your own account at paypal.co.uk for any transactions. Never rely on email communications. The overall scam is to get you to fund their accounts with some form of refund and for them to access your account by sending a link to a fraudulant impersonation of a PayPal homepage.
There is a always a link where the scammer has to expose their real identity. Just put your cursor over any pictures included in the email associated with the PayPal logo. There is usually a long website address beginning with paypals homepage and included in it is an email address. I'm not suggesting you do anything with this information of course..............but it worked for me. Plus, telling the American cheating, robbing, caniving, scheming, evil, sadistic, good-for-nothing really eases the tension :P
Play the waiting game. All of this usually passes by. Ignore any further communication and simply spread the word to all of your family and friends.
Prevention tips. Ebay provides so many useful extras that many people simply avoid and ignore using them. With ANY electrical item, I always click on the "BUYER REQUIREMENTS" check any box that seems relevant. I always:
Block buyers registered in countries I don't post to. This instantly blocks anybody from the USA, Europe or Hong Kong etc. from bidding, so long as you make sure you advertise as only posting to the UK. If an overseas bidder wants to bid, is legitamite and you are happy for that person to bid but he is getting blocked, don't worry, after email contact you can exempt the bidder from this rule. It's win win.
I do hope that this has helped some people. I understand that this topic is heavily reviewed on eBay, so if any of my work is of similar or exact in content, my deepest apologees will be shared as any similarities are purely coincidental.
Thanks for reading. If you read this review and found it helpful, please, check the box that says so. It will be most appreciated.
Kind regards, Martin