This is an excerpt from Newlifeauctions.com that warns of Eight specific scams run by eBay Sellars. I looked these up over the weekend after I overheard two local antique dealers complaining about all the ways they get scammed as Sellers on eBay but the site also listed these scams run by Sellers. As always, Let the Buyer Beware!
Scammers are on the lookout for unsuspecting eBay buyers. Novice buyers are especially susceptible to being scammed. As a buyer, there are a few things that you should always do:
1.Buy only from sellers with at least a feedback score of 50 and 99% positive rating.
2.Verify item is eligible for PayPal's buyer protection program.
3.Use PayPal for payment.
4.Use a credit card to fund the PayPal payment.
5.Require shipping insurance for expensive items.
Just doing these five things will protect buyers from most sellers' scams. For expensive items, examine the seller's feedback more closely. See feedback scams for more details on what to look for.
# 1. Fraudulent Item Scam
This scam is quite simple. The scammer will list something they don't have. Usually the item is expensive such as a digital camera. When the buyer pays for it, the scammer takes the money and disappears. Always use PayPal for purchases as the buyer is protected against non-receipt of the item. Make sure the amount of the protection covers the final price of the item.
# 2. Counterfeit Item Scam
Knockoff products are everywhere and eBay is no exception. Tiffany and Co. has publicly stated that 75% of all Tiffany products sold on eBay are fake. Jewelry, designer handbags and celebrity signatures are examples of categories full of counterfeit items. I have seen fake plastic Canon cameras intentionally designed to look like expensive professional cameras. It is buyer beware situation and buyers need to know exactly what they are buying. The seller actually may not realize that they are selling a knockoff product.
To protect yourself from receiving counterfeit products, do some research. There is a lot of information on the web offering tips on how to detect a counterfeit. Always use PayPal for your purchases. The buyer protection policy provides protection when the item is not as described.
# 3. Shill Bidding Scam
This type of activity occurs more often than eBay likes to admit. Instead of listing an item with a reserve price or a high starting price, the scammer will list the item with a low starting bid. When a buyer bids on the item, the scammer will use another account to shill, or bid up the item. If the buyer has placed a proxy bid, the shill will keep bidding until the proxy bid is exceeded. Now the scammer knows the value of your proxy bid. The shill will then retract the bid and with a different shilling account, bid right up to your maximum proxy amount. The effect of shill bidding is the buyer will pay more for an item than they normally would.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to detect shill bidding. You can check the current bid history to see who is bidding on the item. Then check if any of the current bidders have bid on other items from the same seller. If you notice unusual bidding activity, then there may be shill bidding occurring.
# 4. Fake Escrow Site Scams
This scam typically involves very expensive items like cars and big screen TVs. The scammer tries to lull the buyer into a false sense of security by suggesting to use an escrow service. Unfortunately, the escrow service suggested is completely fake and is operated by the scammer. Fake escrow sites look very authentic and the domain names look similar to real escrow site names. Once you send the money to the fake escrow site, the scammer takes your money and disappears.
The only escrow site recommended for use by eBay is www.escrow.com.
Don't use any other site. If a buyer or seller recommends using a different site, it is probably a scammer trying to rip you off. See Using Escrow Services for more information.
# 5. Hijacked Account Scam
Scammers are on the lookout to hijack the accounts of sellers with good feedback. Once the scammer has access to an unsuspecting seller's account, they use the account's excellent feedback to scam buyers. The scammers will list high-end expensive items and disappear with the buyer's money.
The scammers need to use dormant accounts otherwise the true owner of the account will notice the fraudulent listings appear. Check the seller's feedback to see if the account has been dormant. See if the current listings are consistent with the items sold in the past. If an account is suddenly selling plasma TVs when only children's books were being sold in the previous month, then the account may have been hijacked.
Be suspicious of listings that only use stock photos for expensive items. While a scammer can steal someone else's pictures as use them, most don't even bother and will use a stock photo provided by eBay. Ask the seller to send you a picture of the serial number or some other unique feature of the item. If the seller is unwilling to do that, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
# 6. Blame the Shipper for Damaged Item Scam
Unscrupulous sellers that have broken or damaged goods try to unload them on unsuspecting buyers. The scammer will claim the item is in excellent condition in the item listing. Usually only stock photos of the item is used. When the buyer receives the item, the scammer will claim it was damaged in shipping. An insurance claim will be filed with the shipper. If you are lucky, you will get your money back from the insurance.
PayPal may or may not honor a claim for damaged goods if it was uninsured. If PayPal rejects your claim, call your credit card company to reverse the charges.
# 7. Unsolicited Offer to Purchase An Item Scam
You may receive an offer to buy the item after you have just lost the auction. Sometimes these offers look like second chance offers from the seller of the original auction. In reality, they are scammers trying to steal your money. The scammer will insist that you make the purchase outside of eBay and will offer you a discount for doing so. Unfortunately, you won't be covered by eBay or PayPal’s buyer protection program for transactions outside of eBay. Once the scammer has your money, they will disappear and you will receive nothing in return. Never accept unsolicited offers to buy outside of eBay no matter how cheap it sounds. If it is too good to be true, then it is.
# 8. Fake eBay transaction using Email
This is a variant of the unsolicited offer to purchase an item scam. The scammer will contact you with an offer to purchase an item. Instead of trying to get you to purchase the item off eBay, the scammer will try to win your confidence by running the transaction through eBay. The scammer will claim this will protect both the buyer and seller.
Instead of listing the item on eBay for you to purchase, the scammer will send an official looking email that appears to be a completed transaction on eBay. Satisfied that the buyer is protected by eBay, the victim sends the money to the scammer. Often the email will instruct the buyer to wire money directly to the scammer. Whenever a seller wants you to wire money, it is most likely a scam. Once the scammer has your money, they will disappear.
Always verify eBay transactions on the eBay website. Don't click on any links in the email as the link could point to a spoofed site. Go to the eBay website yourself and enter the item number into the search box. If it is a valid transaction, the appropriate listing will appear.