Scams and the internet go together like the proverbial ‘two peas in a pod’. With millions of users worldwide having access to the world wide web, inevitably some of the people who go online have less than honorable intentions.
One of the major players when we think about buying and selling online is Ebay. This online auction site has grown to phenomenal levels and boasts millions of sales and purchases occurring on the site daily. The commissions payable aren’t set at extortionate levels and I have always found Ebay a great site for selling my unwanted items or for purchasing new ones.
As with any online shop, you must be careful with whom you are dealing with. You can’t see the other person nor do you know anything about them except their user identification and history of site dealings. Naturally, I always buy and sell to users who have a very good history within the Ebay community but every now and again will accept bidders whom are new to the site.
On one occasion I was selling a mobile phone through Ebay and sold the item successfully by the alloted close of bidding. The user who had bought my phone seemed to have a great history of buying on the site so I was more than happy to deal with them. They emailed me to state that they would Paypal me the funds in the next 24 hours. As you may be aware if you are familiar with Ebay, your My Ebay area shows details of the sale and whether funds have been sent to your Paypal account to honor the sale price.
The next morning I had received an email from Paypal stating that I had new funds waiting in my account but due to the buyer living abroad, I must first dispatch the phone and issue the tracking number from the mail center I used before the funds would be fully released for me to withdraw. Something didn’t seem right with this course of action needed to release the funds, why would Paypal care about the tracking number? A second mail came through to my inbox very shortly after and was addressed from the buyer. They stated that the phone was to be sent to Nigeria to a cousin, who the phone was a gift for and they would happily send me further monies for the excess postal costs involved. Alarm bells were now ringing louder than ever.
I investigated further and found out that the first Paypal email was a bogus one. My Ebay account area showed that the payment was still awaited via Paypal from my successful bidder. The email I had received looked identical to any other Paypal email and a link would take you to a replica Paypal site where you would enter your details as usual only to have them stored by the bogus site so the scammers would then have access to your Paypal account and could start fraudulent activity by buying anything that took their fancy, and of course it will be at myexpense unless I could prove otherwise to Paypal.
That afternoon I was sent a third email, this was from Ebay itself. The email stated that the user I had sold the phone to had had their account accessed fraudulently and they had nothing to do with buying my phone. They went on to state that all fees would be reimbursed and I was free to re-advertise the phone.
How lucky I was that I hadn’t sent the phone that morning as instructed in the first email I had sent. I would have lost the phone and the sale monies if I had trusted that scam email.
Though Ebay is a wonderful site with millions of genuine users, from time to time criminals will attempt to scam goods from unwitting sellers and buyers alike. If you have an offer to buy something from you that seems too good to be true then it probably will be. Who do you know that will pay you way over the odds for your item for sale purely because they are so desperate to have it? Fraudsters will offer you any amount of cash for the item because they have no intention of paying you at all. Likewise, if you receive instruction to send your item to a foreign country and issue tracking numbers before they release your funds then do not do it. Contact Ebay to investigate the matter before committing yourself into a costly mistake.
Sadly some people do fall fowl of the Ebay scammer or else these people would not continue to operate on the site. Do not be fooled by inflated bids or promises of payment. Ebay has the best protection system it can offer considering the amount of transactions that the site deals with. Always check the history of the users you are dealing with and if you are unsure, wait a day or two to see how the transaction unfolds before you commit to goods or cash changing hands.