THE ULTIMATE FRAUD GUIDE

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THE ULTIMATE FRAUD GUIDE


Dont get conned. 

The following is sound advice for buyers and sellers from personal experience and what I have seen recently on eBay.

For the Buyers

1.  Read all the advert as a BOX usually means just the BOX.
2.  Especially read the last paragraphs or any small print carefully as you could be buying just a picture
3.  View any advert without technical information suspiciously as this may mean you are not looking at what you think you are.
4.  Research what you are looking for elsewhere and read review sites as they will be more inclined to be truthful.
5.  Do not deal with any seller who requests you to send to a different address from that listed on eBay.
6.  Messages in auctions like BEFORE BIDDING CONTACT ME means they want to sell outside of eBay and usually means a request for money transfer and no goods.  This is often the strategy used by hijackers of bone fide eBay accounts
7.  Always use the ASK Seller eBay link to communicate with sellers as this is recorded and will be sent directly to them.
8.  Never answer emails purporting to be eBay Customer Rep asking to confirm address as eBay already know it and do not use anything other than an eBay authorised address.  If unsure about a response address simply put it in Google to see who they really are.
9.  Asking to go to another website are usually scams to get you to click on them and they get paid per click.
10. Check feedback comments correspond to actual items sold.
11. Treat with suspicion any similar comments such as, not available retail, contact via email address.
12. Do not trust adverts where the location of seller and goods do not match.
13. Be wary of sellers who dont have a track record for selling lots of similar items.

 

For the Sellers

1.  Be very wary of requests to ship items to relatives in other countries, especially Africa, put SCAM EBAY NIGERIA into Google and see for yourself. These are usually followed up with fake Paypal emails, often with spilling mistakes in them.
2.  Be wary of requests to end auctions early for bigger payments.
3.  Recognise fake Paypal Payment emails with delivery addresses, especially for items where the auctions not ended.
4.  View with suspicion and don’t ship on any BUY IT NOW offers that have ended without payment within a day.  There is no reason why the buyer would not pay for it then, even taking time zones into account, one day should be viewed as the maximum.
5.  Do not accept Cashiers Cheques from Nigeria, they can clear only to be found fake when drawn against the issuing bank.
6.  Ignore any Paypal email claiming that once item was shipped and the tracking number sent to buyer the funds would be released.  Its a scam, scam, scam.
7.  International buyers of items listed as NO INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING.
8.  Always check your Paypal account rather than believe any emails purporting to be from Paypal.
9.  Never proceed with sales after you receive an email from Paypal verifying a buyer, its a fake they dont do that.
10. Bad spelling and poor grammer on emails confirming payment or information from either eBay or Paypal will be fakes.

Of course this guide could be relevant to anything sold on eBay and by any seller.  Do not think this is just restricted to the associated tags at the top of this guide, the chosen psp, ipod and xbox are but a few examples and should not be considered as limitation of relevance to anyother item sold on this or anyother auction website.  There are examples of each of these items being fraudulent and due to popularity and numbers of avertisements these can not always be policed effectively by eBay themselves.  Therefore this has been put together in order to assist the general buyer and seller by highlighting the areas of concern they should watch out for.


This guide will protect yourself from fraudsters and scammers here on Ebay

Ebay once used to be a safe place to buy and sell but since fraudsters have discovered this, they will do anything to make money.  Below is a list of how to protect yourself from fraudsters and scammers.

  1. Always look at other ebayers feedback rating, this is important becasue it tells you their trading history on Ebay.  If they have numerous negative comments which make them sound un-trustworthy, then its best to contact them first or leave it and look else where.  If they have no feedback and are new, it is best again to contact them.
  2. Never buy or sell to places from abroad such as Nigeria, Africa etc.  These are again fraudsters using stolen credit cards and if they do pay you, well that money is guaranteed to be stolen which will be retracted from your account so you would lose out basically.
  3. Always email or contact them some other way if unsure.  At least this way, you'll know about their communication standards.
  4. Ask for a tracking number for a valuable item.  This way you can track the item and you'll know that they have sent it.
  5. Never bid/buy from ebayers who claim to have 20* Nokia 8800's, 20* Samsung D600's etc (you get the picture).  This is becasue it is all fraudulent.  They do not have an verified email address which is why they ask you to email them from another email address stated on the listing, once they recieved the money they will withdraw this and close the account, and theyu wont send anything.  Plus Ebay cannot do anything as it is too early for them to do anything.
  6. If you do get into a fraudulent situation, contact the seller/buyer, if they dont reply, contact Ebay and paypal, then if they cannot do anything, contact your credit card company (by law you are protected from any fraudulent activity for 7/14 days) Dont leave it too late. You can contact the police as well, they will issue you a crime number, send this to the fraudulent ebayer, they may read your emails but just wont reply, if you show them a crime number, they would probably be scared and give you the money back.  Request their contact details as well by searching it on help, at least you'll know where they live and their contact number.
  7. Always pay using paypal, you know you'll be covered.  I think Nochex covers you as well.
  8. Wonder why people put a reserve on their listings, well it is to protect themselves from bid shielding.  This is where two and more ebayers target a listing for example, samsung D600 with a starting price of 0.99 and no reserve.  The first fraudster will come along and place a bid of 0.99, the second fraudster will come along and place a bid of about £20.  The third frauster will come along and place a bid of £500.  This is worth more than the value of the phone therefore no one else will bid.  Then when the listing is about to end, the third fraudster will cancel their bid and the second fraudster will win the item for £20.  However ebay have put a stop to this but this is just one reason why ebayers place a reserve on their items.
  9. And finally, dont bid/buy on something which sounds too good to be true as it will most likely be too good to be true. 
  10. (NEW) - Look out for new ebayers with a feedback score of 0.  They normally bid for your item but then do not pay for it or would use some fraudulent way to pay for it such as spoof emails.  You can tell this if the email is from paypal but then it goes to your Junk/spam mail and also if it says Dear customer, Dear account holder instead of your name - this shows that this is fraudulent and must be reported to paypal.  You then have to suffer the ebay fees and relisting fees as well. 
  11. (NEW) - Also look out for people who do chargebacks.  This is when someone pays for the goods, and after a few weeks or even days (basically after you've sent the item) they will process a chargeback with paypal.  By this time most people delete the information needed to prove the claim therefore you lose out.  To avoid this always keep records of transactions and anything else realted to that transaction for evidence.
  12. (NEW - 2006) - Another thing i have noticed was i was searching for a Dell 24" LCD Monitor (Dell 2405fpw) and saw many of the same listings.  I clicked on one of them to have a look at the listing which instantly i suspected Fraudulent.  These people who were selling the items were from China.  Secondly they only had 10 or less feedback so when i clicked on some of their feedback, they were all from people who were from China as well (could be the same person under a different ebay name).  Anyways i clicked on one of the item listings and what did i come across?  The listing was all questionmarks (wasnt a proper listing).  The item description = questionmarks, the item title = questionmarks, subtitle = you guessed it, questionmarks.  They had clearly just created these phoney listings to increase their feedback.  What else was fraudulent was they do not accept paypal, just cheque.  Clearly a scam but the funny thing was there was people bidding on it which shows how stupid some ebayers can get.  And this isnt for just monitors, its also for mobile phones and even TV's such as plasmas and LCDs they are starting to do, however some may not be too fraudulent as many computers do not support chineese characters so they do display it as a ? just like on the listing but all im saying is be careful, thats all.
  13. (NEW - MAY 2006) - I have come accross another scam which was reported by another ebay member.  Some people are claiming to be selling tickets either for a concert or something else and once you buy the ticket, they will contact you to let you know that they will give you the ticket in a few months nearer the date when they get it.  However, ebay has records of purchases for only 60 days and you cannot leave feedback after 90 days.  Paypals date i think is around 45-60 days as well.  So a few months come and no ticket, basically this was sellers plan and you cant claim this off ebay or paypal simply because there is no transaction records at all.  The only way i would think you can claim the money back is by your credit card company that is if you did pay by credit card - therefore be careful of these type of ebayers. 
  14. NEW (MAY 2006) - Postage scams - Many people have come across ebayers who either charge i.e. £10 for a product which may only cost them £5 to post and also they charge postal insurance i.e. £2/3 which you have to add on, however, insurance should be already included in the price of £10.  They do this because they fear that there product many not sell as much as they hope it to do therefore they try and make some of it in the postage.  Another one is where you've bought an item and paid £5 P&P.  However the ebayer then emails you back saying that they require some more money for postage and they will not send it until you pay up.  You've got no choice really and are forced to pay more than what you originally would pay for the item.
  15. NEW (AUGUST 2006) - This is again to do with postage problems.  It might not be a scam as such but it is a problem.  If something goes lost in the post and you haven't recieved the item, you are going to claim with paypal or whoever you made payment with.  Everything works out ok and you get your refund but then what can happen is that the buyer can claim an unpaid item dispute.  So why not show the evidence right? Well the transactions are all gone especially with paypal and there is no record of it.  The seller then will leave negative feedback saying the buyer hasnt made payment.  This is exremely unfair and sellers will do this to try and get revenge if you want to call it like that.  This has happened to me so the solution would be to save any emails of transactions that show you have made payment from before you claimed.  Luckily I had done this with paypal and they always send me an email of proof that payment has been made so this time the seller didn't get away with it but it has happened to many others so remember to save all evidence of proof.  HOWEVER, please do not consider as this is the only option available if the item is lost.  Always CONTACT the seller first to see if you can sort out the problem.  Secondly, if they do not reply or do not contact you then maybe paypal is the only option but if they do say they have posted it then it would be best to contact Royal mail or which courrier you used and deal with it from there.
  16. NEW (AUGUST 19th 2006) - Another thing i have come accross is that when you buy a computer and a laptop from ebay always check the description with the parts you have ordered.  What i am talking about is you may think you have bought the best PC with the latest parts but when you recieve this, always check to see that each part is there or is the right version - example, you bought a PC worth £2000 with the latest parts such as amd athlon FX-62 AM2 socket etc and a 4gb RAM of the newest DDR spec etc (you understand my point) well lets say you didnt know much about computers, how do you know its not a lower spec RAM or another main thing that they have not overclocked the processor to FX-62 spec but it maybe just an fx-50 etc which saves the seller a few hundered pounds etc.  Always make sure what you pay for is what you get its all i am saying.  This is the same to Laptops as well as you may have thought you have bought the perfect laptop.  It is slightly harder with a laptop as you can't physically see the parts unless you open it up which is a lenghty process for the beginers especially and can void warranty so its best to always check your hardware spec before you do anything else.

NEARLY EVERY DAY WE RECEIVE EMAILS WHICH ASKS US TO VERIFY OUR EBAY ACCOUNT, OR ASKING US TO BECOME A SILVER POWERSELLER WHEN WE ARE ALREADY POWERSELLERS,ALSO QUESTIONS FROM FAKE EBAY ACCOUNTS MOSTLY FORM AMERICA, THIS IS A SPOOF EMAIL, WHICH ASKS YOU TO CLICK ON THE LINK, WHEN YOU DO THIS YOU ARE REDIRECTED TO FAKE PAGE, WHICH LOOKS LIKE THE EBAY SIGN IN PAGE, YOU ARE THEN ASKED TO ENTER YOUR EBAY USER NAME AND PASSWORD, PLEASE UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ENTER YOUR DETAILS,

EBAY WILL NEVER EMAIL YOU TO REQUEST THAT YOU SIGN IN THROUGH A LINK ON AN EMAIL, THIS IS JUST A CON TO OBTAIN YOU ACCOUNT DETAILS.

THEY HAVE ALSO STARTED DOING THE SAME WITH PAYPAL, AGAIN ASKING YOU TO ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT OR VERIFY YOUR DETAILS.

PLEASE FORWARD ANYTHING THAT LOOKS SUSPICIOUS TO EBAY OR PAYPAL AS THESE PEOPLE NEED TO BE STOPPED

THIS IS INTENDED FOR NEWCOMERS TO EBAY



THERE HAS BEEN WIDESPREAD INCIDENTS WHERE SELLERS HAVE SOLD AN ITEM ON EBAY,IE MOBILE PHONES HANDBAGS GOLD CLOTHES ANTIQUES AND SO ON ONLY TO FIND THAT THE BUYER IS FROM NIGERIA,THE BUYER GOES ON TO SEND THE SELLER A SPOOF EMAIL, CLAIMING THAT THEY HAVE PAID BY PAYPAL, OR THEY SEND A COPY OF A FAKE MONEY ORDER, CLAIMING THAT THEY HAVE PAID AND REQUESTING THE SELLER SENDS THE GOODS IMMEDIATELY AND ALSO REQUESTING TRACKING DETAILS

THE BUYER HAS NOT PAID FOR THE GOODS, AND ARE CONNING THE SELLER INTO SENDING GOODS ON THE UNDERSTANDING THAT PAYMENT HAS BEEN MADE, WHEN IT HASN'T.

THE EMAILS THAT THEY SEND WHICH STATE THEY HAVE PAID BY PAYPAL  LOOK QUITE GENUINE, SO PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU CHECK YOUR PAYPAL ACCOUNT

AS THIS IS HAPPENING TO MORE AND MORE SELLERS EACH DAY

THE BEST THING TO DO IF YOU ARE SELLING INTERNATIONALLY, IS TO STATE CATEGORICALLY THAT YOU WILL NOT SELL TO BUYERS FROM ''NIGERIA''

AND IF SOMETHING DOES NOT FEEL RIGHT DO GO WITH IT

THIS IS INTENDED FOR NEW E-BAYERS



1. Shill Bidding

Shill bidding is widespread on eBay and means bidding on items you are trying to sell in order to artificially inflate their price and desirability. Sometimes, sellers shill bid using second eBay identities, sometimes they get friends to do it on their behalf. Either way, shill bidding is illegal in Britain, and there are some tell-tale clues that indicate a buyer is a shill bidder:
  • Look at the eBay history of each bidder on the item you are interested in. Shill bidders may bid exclusively on items offered by one seller. If the same person has bid for a used handbag, a secondhand fridge, a fondue set and a man’s scarf from the same seller – and has shown no interest in any other seller on eBay – then they’re either some kind of weird internet stalker, or a shill bidder.
  • Every buyer and seller on eBay has feedback, left by people they have dealt with. If someone has no feedback, then be suspicious. Also be alert if their feedback was left by a satisfied buyer within hours of an auction ending – the Royal Mail rarely delivers goods that fast. Lots of feedback from users who are no longer registered on eBay is also a suspicious sign.
  • See if the other prospective buyers have a large number of bids that they have then retracted. This may be a sign that they are not making serious bids. If you are suspicious about a bidder, you can report them, using the form on eBay’s contact page. Alternatively, eBay’s Safety Centre, offering tips and advice, can be accessed at the bottom of every eBay page.

2 Bogus emails

If you get an email from eBay or PayPal, the online payment system recommended by eBay, informing you that a bid you know nothing about has been successful, ignore it. Likewise, delete any requests from eBay or PayPal for your password, account details, or personal information. These are examples of spoof or "phishing" emails – the use of bogus emails to extract confidential information about you. Spoof emails usually have some of the following characteristics:

  • They start with a generic "Dear eBay member".
  • They have an urgent tone, eg "Ignoring this message will result in a suspension of your account within 24 hours".
  • They have links to web pages that look like eBay pages but are not the real thing (see below).
  • They ask for confidential information. eBay will never ask people to provide account numbers, passwords or confidential information via email. Any genuine emails from eBay will be in the My Messages box in My eBay.

3 Bogus eBay webpages

Fake websites are easy to create and usually look like the real thing. If you clicked a link in an email to reach the website, check that the web address in the box at the top of your browser is the same as the one shown in the mail. Never trust a website that doesn’t have ebay.com or ebay.co.uk immediately before the first single forward slash. If it has additional characters before the forward slash, such as "@" or a "-" then it’s not an eBay page. A legitimate eBay address is http://pages.ebay.co.uk/ and a bogus site would be http://signin.ebay.co.uk@10.19.32.4/.

The easiest way to detect fraudulent websites is to download the eBay Toolbar with Account Guard. The Account Guard feature turns green when you are on a genuine eBay or PayPal site, and turns red if you are on a suspect site.

4 Stay inside eBay

Sometimes sellers will approach bidders directly, and suggest a private deal away from eBay’s commission fees. Just say no because there’s a strong risk they are up to no good. If the goods fail to turn up, you will have no way of tracking them. If you are tempted to buy off-eBay, ensure you still use PayPal where you will still get some protection.

5 Never Use Instant Money Transfer services

eBay banned people from using Western Union and other instant money transfer services a year ago. While the company is reputable, its service is designed for people who trust each other to wire money from one place to another, not to carry out transactions between strangers.

Sellers who suggest wiring money usually claim it’s because they are on holiday, need to get money to a sick relative or need to pay off a debt quickly. The real reason is that they will be untraceable when they vanish with your cash.

6 Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting is the world’s fastest growing industry. Seven per cent of the global GDP is generated in counterfeit goods and eBay, with its 60 million items on sale at any one time, is seen by fraudsters as a good place to trade.

Unless you want a fake Louis Vuitton handbag for £100, then common sense applies. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Fraudsters favour high-end branded goods – particularly fashion – and pirate DVDs and CDs.

To reduce the risks, buy using PayPal. If you can prove your purchase is a fake – a letter from a high street store or manufacturer will do – you can get a refund from PayPal.

7 Goods don’t exist

There are often tell-tale signs that your desired Star Wars action figure or pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes doesn’t actually exist. Often there will be no photograph or just a stock photo, while requests to the seller to email a photograph will either be ignored or you will be fobbed off with a implausible excuse.

Checking feedback is crucial. It can tell you whether you are dealing with a genuine trader, a business or someone with a track record. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions. You can quickly build up a sense of whether you can trust them.

8 Rip-off postage

Some sellers use inflated postage and packaging costs as a money spinner. If the postage is hidden away in the listing details be suspicious. Compare the cost of postage with similar items. Some sellers charge £1 to mail out a VHS tape first class with the Royal Mail, others charge £2.50. The variation is greater with bulkier items.

9 Payment doesn’t exist

Once you have successfully sold something, you will get an email telling you that the PayPal payment has gone through to your account. Fraudsters can send out bogus emails telling you that you have been paid, hoping that you will send the goods without checking. Always check your PayPal account to make sure the funds have arrived before sending out the goods.

10 Second Chance Offer Fraud

Be cautious if you receive a Second Chance Offer email. These are sent out by sellers to unsuccessful bidders if an auction winner fails to pay up, or if a duplicate item becomes available. Check that it has come from a seller you have been dealing with for something you have previously bid on. Fraudsters use bogus Second Chance Offer to get people to send payments for items that do not exist, or as a way to get hold of personal data. Check any emails in My eBay.

11 Don’t assume eBay is the cheapest

eBay is not always the cheapest place to make a purchase. Sometimes sellers are trying their luck and so always check prices first on a shopping comparison engine like Kelkoo, Shopping.com and Pricerunner.

12 Don’t buy information only products

Some sellers try to sell lists or links to information which is usually available elsewhere for free. Avoid like the plague

13 Read the description carefully

Sometimes it seems you are bidding for an object on eBay, when all that’s actually up for grabs is a link to a site selling it. Equally sometimes the seller is actually selling the box and item was sold in and trying to pass this off as the real thing.

Always read the whole description in detail before bidding.

14 Know your rights.

If you use the ‘Buy It Now’ button, rather than a standard auction, to buy from a UK based trader on eBay, and you have all the same statutory rights as buying from a shop.

Buy from a private individual and the law says “let the buyer beware”. Providing your purchase arrives ‘as described’ there’s little legal comeback (assuming you can trace them anyway) and the standard seven day internet cooling-off period usually doesn’t apply to auction purchases.

15 Don’t depend on Feedback.

Whilst Feedback is a good indicator of a seller's honesty, it is possible to fake feedback by having multiple IDs, and IDs can be stolen.

FAKE EMAILS ABOUT ACCOUNTS

NEARLY EVERY DAY WE RECEIVE EMAILS WHICH ASKS US TO VERIFY OUR EBAY ACCOUNT, OR ASKING US TO BECOME A SILVER POWERSELLER WHEN WE ARE ALREADY POWERSELLERS,ALSO QUESTIONS FROM FAKE EBAY ACCOUNTS MOSTLY FORM AMERICA, THIS IS A SPOOF EMAIL, WHICH ASKS YOU TO CLICK ON THE LINK, WHEN YOU DO THIS YOU ARE REDIRECTED TO FAKE PAGE, WHICH LOOKS LIKE THE EBAY SIGN IN PAGE, YOU ARE THEN ASKED TO ENTER YOUR EBAY USER NAME AND PASSWORD, PLEASE UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ENTER YOUR DETAILS,

EBAY WILL NEVER EMAIL YOU TO REQUEST THAT YOU SIGN IN THROUGH A LINK ON AN EMAIL, THIS IS JUST A CON TO OBTAIN YOU ACCOUNT DETAILS.

THEY HAVE ALSO STARTED DOING THE SAME WITH PAYPAL, AGAIN ASKING YOU TO ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT OR VERIFY YOUR DETAILS.

PLEASE FORWARD ANYTHING THAT LOOKS SUSPICIOUS TO EBAY OR PAYPAL AS THESE PEOPLE NEED TO BE STOPPED

THIS IS INTENDED FOR NEWCOMERS TO EBAY



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