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How To Spot eBay Scammers And Fraudulent Sellers

How To Spot eBay Scammers And Fraudulent Sellers

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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.


PayPal


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 www.ebay.com or www.paypal.com, 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.
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Comments (3)

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
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