How to deal with Scammers

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Some of these scammers will have newly registered IDs with fake addresses in various countries including the UK. A growing number are now also using hi-jacked accounts. These can be identified by the ID having been dormant for some time and/or a sudden change in items being bought. Check the rest of their current purchases using Advanced Search (top right of any page) > Items by Bidder (include completed items).

They actually live in Nigeria but because they're pretending to live somewhere else they ask for the item to be sent to a relative or friend in Nigeria (really themselves).

They persuade the seller to send the goods on receipt of a fake payment confirmation email, usually from Paypal but also from Nochex, various banks, Western Union or other payment services. Or just by promising payment. The seller sends the item to Nigeria but the promised payment never materialises. They target new sellers of relatively expensive items, especially mobile phones and other electronic goods.


1. Where the scammer is newly registered the idea is to get them suspended first to make it quicker for you to do the Unpaid Item process in order to get your final value fee back. So first report to eBay using this link:

Select: Selling and managing your item > Continue > Problems with a buyer or sale > Buyer paid or attempted to pay with fake/stolen funds > Continue > Email Us.

And then report their fake contact details here (the report link is at the bottom):

2. After that they should be suspended within a couple of days. Do not bother to reply to their emails. Keep an eye on their ID and when it says "No longer registered with eBay" beside it you will be able to do the Unpaid Item process immediately to get your final value fees back, here's that link:

3. Before they're suspended please leave negative feedback to warn other sellers. Scammers rarely leave feedback but even if they do the rating would be removed once you completed the Unpaid Item process because they don't usually reply to them.

4. After that you can relist and if it sells the second time your relisting fee will be refunded too. If you relist before completing the Unpaid Item process you will not be eligible for a relisting fee refund. If for some reason the scammer is not suspended quickly you will have to wait seven days to start the Unpaid Item process in the usual way.

5. You can make a Second Chance Offer before they're suspended and before doing the Unpaid Item process, if that's what you prefer to do but make sure the underbidder isn't a scammer too. To check a bidder have a look at what else they're bidding on. Click on Advanced Search (top right of any page), then on Items by Bidder, put in the ID, tick "include completed listings" and then click on "search". If they are newly registered and buying large quantities of the same sort of expensive items, then the odds are they're also scammers.

6. If the scammer has used a hi-jacked account report as #1 above. eBay will suspend the account and either your final value fee will automatically be refunded to your seller account. Or eBay will not charge a final value fee at all but the listing fees will automatically be refunded to your account. In these cases there is no need to do the Unpaid Item process, in fact it is not possible as the transaction will be removed from eBay's database. Check for your fee refund at My eBay > Seller Account > View Account Status.

If your fees have not been refunded contact eBay's live help and ask them to do it manually. Here's their link:


1. Block zero or low feedback bidders with no credit card on file - the last option on here:

2. You can also list to sell in the UK only and use the "Buyers in countries to which I don't ship" option on the above link to block bidders from outside the UK (although don't rely on that one, some of these scammers register fake addresses in the UK to get around the block).

3. If you prefer Paypal anyway you can use Immediate (Paypal) Payment on your listing, then the listing cannot end without payment being made. To do that during the listing process select to sell Fixed Price Only (or Buy It Now and auction but then you must use a reserve - minimum £50 - to keep the BIN and Immediate Payment if a bid is placed.) and you'll see the link to use Immediate Payment on the payment page, just below the Paypal logo. You have to be an established seller with an account "in good standing" to be able to use that.

4. If you are a new seller and cannot use Immediate Payment you can use another option on the link in #1 to block buyers without Paypal accounts (because Nigerian scammers don't have Paypal accounts). That doesn't mean your buyer has to pay with Paypal, it just means they can't bid if they don't have an account.

But please also be aware of credit card scams, usually (but not only) from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, where they pay using Paypal but use stolen or fake credit cards so the money is withdrawn by Paypal later. Do not accept Paypal payment for expensive items from these and other scam areas. If necessary issue a refund and report fake funds to eBay as above.

If in doubt about a buyer please ask for advice on one of the Community boards.
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