Ever wonder why there sometimes seems to be numerous bids by the same buyers of certain regular auctions every time certain sellers' coins come up? Which results in the sale price going up? And more often than not the sellers are advertizing low starting bid of .99 without a reserve? Don't be fooled, most times this is a lure to get you to enter a bid and continue to bid.
A shill bidder is someone who is paid by a casino to pump up the bets in poker. There are often more than one at a table. The same principle applies to more than a few auctions whereby associates of the seller will enter counterfeit bid after bid in order to increase the bidding and make it appear to others there is a lot of interest. It also keeps the coin from being sold at the low starting price. Ultimately, if it appears a seller isn't going to get the true price of what he wants out of a coin, his shill bidder(s) will top the bid out to prevent it being sold for any less. Then, the clincher...the shill bidder will retract the bid(s), allowing the seller to retain possession. Or the coin will be won by the shill and re-auctioned from a different computer under a different seller name. If you doubt this, try looking up a member's history with a seller. I have seen the same buyer retract 75 times, which simply means they were unsuccessful in making other bidders pay more and won the bid. And, unfortunately, it certainly appears this goes unchecked or regulated by the auction site.
Our advice is simple: don't allow yourself to be caught up in the moment as gamblers tend to do. If the same bidders are topping you week after week and causing you to bid and pay more, you are likely getting sucked right into a scam. Watch the buyers history with the seller. Don't enter more than you are willing to pay for what you know the real worth of a coin actually is. This con is what has contributed to ever increasing costs to ordinary coin collectors who just want to collect at reasonable prices for their hobby, not to buy to profit. And the site owners need to monitor and penalize those who are doing this continually. It's like the saying, if nobody but you is laughing at a joke, then the joke is on you.
And finally, the casino here is eBay, why would they want to discourage anything that's increasing their final cut?