how to spot a Fraud / Fake / Fraudster / Scammer on eBay
This is how to spot a fraud / fake on eBay. I’m writing this because in the 6 years I have been on eBay, I myself have fallen victim to one of these scammers. This guide is written so that none of you make the mistakes that I and so many other have made in the past ...
I was a young and naïve man when I was conned out of almost £1,000 worth of student-job hard earned cash. I bought a laptop through eBay to help me study at university. The guy had everything – a fake website, a fake e-shop and even lots of feedback … and I fell for it hook, line and sinker…
Throughout the years, I have grown weary of scams and scammers. Needless to say that the 5 years since that day happened, there have been many attempts to get me again, but I have never been conned since. Also since that day, I became an eBay UK Power-Seller and am now operating on eBay as my actual business job.
I don’t want you falling prey to these jackasses, so here’s how to spot a fraud:
1) If they have NO feedback or they have just joined eBay. - This is a dead giveaway. If you don’t realise that the ‘guy who just joined eBay’ (who is trying to flog you a £2,000 laptop for £500) is a crook, then you’re a bigger idiot than Paris Hilton. There are some legitimate new member sellers out there … but are you willing to gamble your hard-earned money on them? I didn’t think so …
2) Feedback CAN be fabricated. - Feedback can be bought and sold on eBay. Yes that’s right - you heard me. Even though eBay tries to stamp it out, it still goes on. All these frauds can build up their scores and then because you believe their feedback – you’re walking into their trap. Don’t just look at the score, LOOK AT THE FEEDBACKS and check whether or not they are selling legitimate goods, or whether they are buying their feedback scores.
3) Check their selling history. - To do this, go to their feedback scores and spend a good 3-5 minutes checking out the things that they have typically sold. If they have never sold anything before and they start suddenly selling 10 LCD Monitors for £500, you have a right to be suspicious. Similarly, if they typically sell something like dolls, but then suddenly starts selling Ferrari Cars that too is obvious. It’s a hi-jacked account. Which brings me onto the next point:
4) Good accounts can be hi-jacked by fraudsters. - It’s inevitable that these stupid phishing e-mails that everyone seems to get end up netting the occasional victim. When this happens, a good account can be used to con hundreds of people out of money. Now, figuring out how to spot a hi-jacked account can prove tricky, even for me. But keep reading and it will become simpler!
5) Analyse the description carefully. - If the description looks as if it has just been ripped off another website; that is suspicious. If the description is badly written and spelt, that too is suspicious. If it looks like it has been cut-and-pasted from other descriptions; that is very suspicious. If the description tells you NOT to contact them via eBay’s messaging system but instead gives you a weird email address to contact: FIRE ALARMS SHOULD BE RINGING! This person is 100% fraudulent and I guarantee my life on it!
6) Pictures DO lie - Take a look at the images. If they all consist of perfect images from the manufacturers website - be wary. If they are taken from someone else’s auction – that’s obvious! What most scammers will do is use home-produced images from honest eBay sellers and pass them off as their own. This creates the illusion that the item is actually in their possession when in fact they are trying to rape you financially. If you think you have seen these home-produced pictures before, you have! Don’t bid! (Note: It makes me laugh when scammers put the wrong pictures of a product they are trying to flog. How stupid!).
7) Sellers that offer Bank Wire and Western Union, but don’t offer Paypal - Again, this is pretty obvious. If the seller wants you to wire money to an account in Indonesia or similar, you can bet your ass that the moment you do - they’ll run away with your money ... and there’s not much you can do about it. Paypal is your safest bet when buying from eBay (even though Paypal themselves are money grabbing sods … hey, at least I’m honest!).
8) Brand New Products that have not been released for sale - If you think that getting the latest Nokia phone that has not been released is possible - then you’re deluded. Products cannot be sold on eBay until they have been officially released into the public domain. So you can quietly ignore the guy trying to sell you a Playstation 5 for ‘just’ £400.00 … (btw: Playstation 5 doesn’t exist!)
9) Links to an external site - If you see links that offer to take you to a site outside of eBay that promises that you’ll get an Apple iPod for £5, immediately click off the page and never revisit it again. If you're stupid enough to fall for that one ... God help you!
10) Location, Location, Location - Generally scammers will base themselves in large cities where the chance of being tracked is slim. Lookout for people who do not specifically state where they are based. i.e. instead of ‘Leyland, Lancashire’ you get ‘United Kingdom, United Kingdom’. Similarly, lookout for those people that state they are from one place but actually have an account somewhere else (i.e. they say they’re from London, but are in fact from Guadalajara).
11) Pre-approval … my ass! - Some fraudsters will also ask you to be pre-approved for their auctions. This involves sending them your e-mail and other information about you so that they can either a) give you a too-good-to-be-true offer, or b) steal your identity and con someone else. If you see one of these auctions - run!
12) The Price is Right? … NO! - Another technique that these scumbags try and reel you in is if they offer on a ‘Buy it Now’ a highly priced item (such as a laptop) for considerably less than the current market value for the item. They use the BIN, take your money and that’s the end of that.
And finally, Rule 13: the Golden Rule of them all:
13) When in doubt: DON’T BID! - It may seem crazy but if an offer is too good to be true: then it usually is. If you are in ANY doubt as to the authenticity or integrity of a product or salesperson – under no circumstances must you bid. You’ll thank me later when you still have all your money …
If you have found this guide helpful, help others by voting 'YES' below to get this noticed and fight these scum-buckets to make eBay a safer place to buy and sell!