How To Spot eBay Scammers And Fraudulent Sellers
Aug 6, 2014Web and InternetComments (23)
I've been buying and selling on eBay since 2003 and have ran across many types of scams and unethical sellers. Here are some of the tactics these fraudulent sellers use most often to try and run scams. After reading these tips, you will be better equipped to buy on eBay (and other marketplaces), and will be able to spot many fake sellers and listings.

Check the feedback

Many scammers will boost their 100% feedback rating by purchasing lots of small items prior to attempting their scam. These are often $1.00 items from big sellers that have auto-feedback software. This assures the scammer that he or she will receive a lot of positive feedback quickly and for little cost.

If a seller has a lot of positive feedback from the same day or over the course of a few days, and they are all cheap items such as cell phone cases, the seller is probably boosting their feedback score and could be getting ready for a scam. It is also possible that it is a legitimate seller just trying to boost their feedback. Either way, I advise caution when dealing with these sellers.

$500 total sales

Many scammers will sell their fake product for around $500, or offer multiple fake products that add up to around $500. The reason for this is due to PayPal's $500 per month withdrawal limit for unconfirmed accounts. Scammers aren't going to go through the confirmation process with PayPal, which requires additional bank and credit information, so they generally go for quick $500 scams.

For example, a seller might offer 10 computer monitors for $50 each, and advertise it as a one-day sale or blow out. Pay attention to what the seller is selling, and check their other items for sale. A $500 total alone doesn't mean the seller is a scammer, but it is one sign to look out for.

Too good to be true

If it's too good to be true, it probably is. If someone has gone through the process necessary to create their eBay account, link their financial account, and create a listing, they have probably done research into the value of what they're selling. You can find great deals on eBay from time to time, but if a price is incredibly good, make sure you do additional research into the seller before purchasing. Scammers often rely on buyers acting on impulse to pull off a scam.

Blow-outs, one-day sales, and urgency

Scammers will usually put some level of urgency on their sale, to try and get buyers to purchase emotionally and impulsively. There are plenty of legitimate sellers that need to move product quickly, or are seeking to clear out old inventory. However, you should be particularly cautious when a seller has a lot of "urgent" verbiage in their listing.


Always make sure the seller accepts PayPal. If you pay with PayPal and the seller turns out to be a scammer, you can file a claim with PayPal and generally get your money back. Most scammers will be unresponsive to emails or may cancel their eBay account, which helps you to start the claim process sooner. The sooner you start the claim, the better the chances are of PayPal catching the scammer.

Stay on top of anything you purchase on eBay. If a seller cancels his or her account before you've received the item, and you have had no contact with that seller, go to the PayPal Resolution Center immediately and file a claim.

Logging in

Whenever logging in to PayPal or eBay, always do so from a fresh browser tab where you have manually typed in or, or have followed a bookmark that you created. Scammers will often try to get you to click a link to a fake eBay or PayPal login page, where they try to phish your login information.

Outside-of-eBay transactions

Some sellers may direct you to buy the item outside of eBay, either directly through PayPal or through their own online store. Be very cautious about this, especially if the seller contacts you first asking you to buy outside of eBay, or if it's written on their product listing. The seller may be trying to avoid eBay fees, which is against eBay's terms of service, or they may be trying to scam you.

There are legitimate reasons to purchase directly through PayPal and not eBay. Sometimes eBay does not recognize your country or territory, or there may be another problem with the eBay shopping cart. Also, if you've dealt with the seller before you may want to go directly through PayPal. PayPal provides buyer protection that is generally as good as eBay, so long as you're buying physical goods and have a valid ship-to address.

Keep in mind that if you buy outside of eBay, you cannot leave feedback for the seller on eBay.

UPS tracking and signature confirmation

If you can and the price is similar, prefer to have your items shipped via UPS instead of USPS (Post Office). Signature confirmation is standard in all UPS shipments and their tracking system provides more in-depth detail than USPS. With a UPS tracking number, you can see who signed for the package and even a picture of their signature in most cases. If there are any problems, it is also easier for the seller to get a claim filed and paid for when using UPS.
Comments (23)
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4708 Carol   Jul 02, 2022
I have numerous items shipped to me UPS and I have never been asked to sign for anything.
Lisa   May 28, 2022
1200 $ buying a RV
Tim hawks   Nov 13, 2021
I sent1000 $ to purchase a truck then ebay motors tells me that if I don't send another 1000$dollars and if I don't I will lose the truck and the 1000$ iask for a refund Andi have not heard from them
Avi   Sep 13, 2021
There's this person who offered to buy a hoodie I'm selling. We talked via text and she mentioned something about a American Express gift card or a visa gift card n whatever. She "sent" me $358 on my PayPal. She keeps bothering me and won't let me take a breather, I already got the card, and now I've gotten an email from PayPal (or eBay) telling me I have $458 and something about spending money on a eBay gift card or a target card. I'm too exhausted and stupid to deal with anything of this and I just want to block the number and cancel their order so I can Rest In Peace. Is this a scam?
Maitland   Aug 11, 2021
There is a scammer listing a Nissan Vannette Engine for £599. Accornding to him he is at the End of Scotland and he cant do a video call, he cant accept Pay pal and he can only take payment one way in and account. He don't want cash and he told me once the Engine was sold when I told him I cant pay him right away as he was insisting. I told him I would speak with Ebay first. He then reply me that the engine has ben sold. The engine is still being listed over and over. Ebay don't do much to get rid of thee scammers I tell you.
Jk   Dec 13, 2020
Lady tryed to sell 2003 jeep red cause her husband passed away and she wanted to get rid of it cause memories it was well took care of and maintenance up to date blah blah and was told to get the ebay gift cards cause we didnt have a paypal so we did and after reading and researching we never went thru with it cause it was to good to be true now we stuck with $1200 in ebay gift cards there name was (LUCILLE FLORES)
PlayStation Fanboi   Dec 04, 2020
@Bina that's probably an advanced fee scam
Bina   Sep 14, 2020
There was this scammer on EBay I encountered with yesterday asking to purchase my textbook. I accepted offer and he then asked me to purchase $300 Steam Gift Card for his "niece". The person was very demanding and our dialogue continued until 2AM. The person then told me I have to get up early in the morning to purchase it and to tell him when I got to the store which really made me so disgusted with this scammer. The next morning, I get a text from the scammer asking at 8:00 AM if I already bought the gift cards! Literally 6 hours later. This person is crazy and so are all the other scammers who rip off people. Of course, I did not go through with anything and blocked the number.
Garry   Aug 18, 2020
Watch out for sellers listing multiple high priced merchandise telling you that you will first receive a "free gift" followed by the main item. They will send you the worthless gift simply to retrieve the tracking number which they enter as the main item being shipped. You will never receive the main item.
William h   Aug 11, 2020
Their selling me a good car on a great deal but it might sound too good to be true
Ke   Jul 05, 2020
I'm buying a pro controller for the switch and it's 40.25 dollars
Lily   Jul 05, 2020
I think , that someone I know got scammed. She bought two gamer computers for $500(Usually they cost $1,000 or $2,000) The seller had 100% positive comments, but later she found out that he always deletes the negative ones. That's shady af. It has been 20 days and he still hasn't shipped the items, he always makes excuses. Now he has stopped replying to the emails. EBay told her to wait 20 days , and 20 days have passed. So now it's time to file a claim. I think that's how it's called.
RT   May 30, 2020
@Pc might be
Pc   Apr 28, 2020
Right now I'm trying to buy a motherboard but I think it is a scam bc its 14$
jj   Dec 01, 2019
The selling of car in ebay that her husband died was there for almost 5 years now and doing the same scenario all over again. They are there ready to attack so be aware always because i for once have been scammed several times not ebay tho but it help me to filter my buy.
jj   Dec 01, 2019
The selling of car in ebay that her husband died was there for almost 5 years now and doing the same scenario all over again. They are there ready to attack so be aware always because i for once have been scammed several times not ebay tho but it help me to filter my buy.
Rickk   May 13, 2019
China scams are tough. Because it takes a month before you know you've been scammed. Usually they will have other items , but after the sale all those other items can no longer be found..
Melanie   May 08, 2019
Possible scam??? I bought an item a week ago and paid for it the same day. Fast forward 1 week the item has not been shipped, nor have I received anything of the nature of it being shipped. I've sent the person 3 messages and gotten no response. Finally I opened a case with eBay today. The person is a new seller and has 0% feedback rating (my fault for buying from them, should have known better).
Rhonda Olson   Mar 26, 2019
A women? Was supposedly saling her 2001 Toyota Tacoma Truck for 1000 dollars through eBay .It was immaculate condition supposedly her husband died thats why she was saling it. I do believe it was a scam after investigating .To good to be true was right on . watch out for Sara Cox witch im sure was a fake name.
Eve Natalie   Sep 23, 2017
Never EVER buy a car from eBay! Always check the transaction number with eBay before purchasing anything over $500. The SCAMS are out there. I know someone who got scammed out of $2000!!!
Izraul Hidashi   Sep 08, 2017
lol. wtf is a fraudulent buyer? someone who buys under an assumed name? are people into shipping items without payment first? IDK...
Dave Shoup   Nov 05, 2016
Never buy as an ebay guest, because the transaction simply disappears, even though you are charged immediately. Scammer tonsee_best charges but does not ship, then replies in circles to wait out the claim time, There is no one at ebay to report to, and since it was bought as a guest, no lasting record of the transaction. It is impossible to make a claim without this, so a perfect crime for the seller.
EBuyersReviewed   Apr 17, 2015
What about spotting fraudulent buyers? Online sellers can easily screen their buyers or submit a review about them on eBuyersReview*ed