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Old July 31st, 2002, 04:53 PM   #1
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How To Not Get Scammed On Ebay

There are tons of rip-off artists working Ebay, and very little Ebay can do about it, although they have been doing a MUCH better job lately, probably due to some legal threats by people that have been burned. When Ebay finds auctions that are definitely scams, they usualy remove them, but still quite a few get through. I don't know how it is on other auction sites, but the following info probably applies just as well.

The biggest money makers for the scam artists are higher-end electronics, especially video cameras. I discovered this when I was first looking for an XL1. I was bidding on an item when someone sent me an e-mail on what to look out for when buying off Ebay. I don't have it any more, but I remember the gist of it.
Here are the signs.

1) Zero feedback, and/or registered within the week before the auction. This isn't always a telltale sign, as these scumbags sometimes get ahold of a real Ebay account with feedback. Also lookout for an Ebay account that has had no feedback/transactions within the last 6 months.

2) The seller's location. Anyone that is in Europe, is OUT. 80% of these scammers live in smaller European countries. 10% are in Australia, the other 10% are in North America.

3) If a location says US or Canada, but the seller is currently working, or travelling in Europe, it's a scam.

4) Payment. These bastards love Western Union money transfers, since it's instant and mostly untraceable. They generaly will not accept Paypal, COD, Escrow, or any form of credit card payment. Although I hear some of them are setting up fake Escrow services, so watch out for that now too.

5) The layout of the auction usualy has a bunch of obviously copied info from the manufacturer's website, and stock pictures of the camera. There are some that take other people's pics and use them, so watch out for the other tell-tale signs as well.

6) Anyone that offers to end the auction early, or settle outside of Ebay. This is so they can still make a deal with you after Ebay shuts their auction down, and wipes out their account.

7) Also watch out for auctions listing more than one item of the same type, in a single auction. This way, they can scam multiple victims at the same time.


And even if the seller promises you an inspection period, it doesn't really matter since he has no intention of shipping you the item anyway.

These people prey on your greed. Are you are willing to take a 50/50 risk with thousands of dollars just to save a few hundred bucks? If something seems too good to be true, it usualy is.

Please feel free to post this notice everywhere you can.
If you have any questions about specific auctions, just ask.

Chris, this may not be the right section to post this in, but I put it here because it applies directly to the "Grey Market XL1" topic. My apologies in advance.
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Old July 31st, 2002, 07:06 PM   #2
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I just checked Ebay, there are a few auctions listed, that when you click them, come up as 'invalid'. This means Ebay has just recently removed them.
But here's a good example of an auction I wouldn't trust. I wonder if Ebay will remove it.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1370137405

Australia, Money transfers ONLY, new Ebay user, he's got several big ticket items up for sale, cheap with no reserve, wants you to contact him for a private deal, no real photos of the item, or any background info on it. Plus, as an added bonus, you can send him all your private info so he can use it for something criminal. And the parcel he sends UPS to get a tracking number will probably be packed with roofing tiles, garbage, or used porn.
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Old August 1st, 2002, 04:02 PM   #3
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That auction was taken off ebay. I must have been a scam.
Thanks for the info. I deal with Ebay a lot, mostly to get our name out in the world. Its a good platform. One bad apple........... as the saying goes.
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 01:24 PM   #4
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Dylan, we need to turn your post into an article for the website. Okay to do that?
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 03:17 PM   #5
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Dylan,

Great points. I have bought and sold quite a bit off of eBay. In fact the last thing I bought was a Sony PVM-14M2U color monitor. The price was right at $480.00, so I took the chance. The monitor was packed like crap, which really bummed me out. But it worked upon plugging it in, so all was well.

The key thing as you pointed out is to do some homework. If the item is over $750.00 I think that escrow should be used. Also look into who you are buying from. I've seen sellers who have several accounts cross post positive feedback. What cracks me up is when they use the same template for the items they are selling. Some of these guys are such idiots.

I also tend to buy from the same people. There are good sellers making a living on eBay, you just need to keep up with who they are.

By all means if you suspect a problem document it and report it. Stop these slime balls in their tracks!
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Old August 5th, 2002, 01:39 AM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd : Dylan, we need to turn your post into an article for the website. Okay to do that? -->>>

Absolutely!

If it keeps at least one person from getting ripped off, it will be worth it.
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Old November 5th, 2002, 11:19 PM   #7
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In July 2002, I tried to purchase an XL-1S from a scumbag -- sorry, I mean "seller" -- on eBay. My nightmare with the guy is still going on as of November. I learned a lot through this experience (not enough to justify the $2700+ I lost, but still pretty valuable).

I set up a Web site to chronicle the whole mess, and I encourage anyone who wants to bid on high-price electronic items on eBay to read it. The site is still a work in progress, but you'll get the idea.

http://www.lawrenceandersonisathief.com

Happy reading.
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Old November 6th, 2002, 01:27 AM   #8
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Common sense approach helps heaps.

First off check the user ratings beware that many have nice positive user ratings but if you read all the comments they are for items purchased not sold and they are usally cheap little items, this is done to get what apprears to be a good rating.

Email them and ask some questions.
If they have an email with an ISP it's better than some free account.

Read the reply, if they dont answer your questions directly they are probably using their spammed response. They may be a con artist but they come from the xerox school of painting, they are poor at it. Ask why they are selling it, if it's an expensive bit of equipment ask if you can call them and speak to them in person about it. Most legitimate people might be weary of letting you call but will do so, scam artists dont like giving out their phone number.

Payment system is very important. Another one to watch scammers like is egold.

Ask for product serial numbers so you can check if it is stolen, depending on where you live you might be able to check this with the local authorities. It also means that they need a real serial number to give you, know how long it is numbers letters order etc some will not be able to make this up some will.
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Old November 6th, 2002, 01:53 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Skyward1 : In July 2002, I tried to purchase an XL-1S from a scumbag -- sorry, I mean "seller" -- on eBay. My nightmare with the guy is still going on as of November. I learned a lot through this experience (not enough to justify the $2700+ I lost, but still pretty valuable).

I set up a Web site to chronicle the whole mess, and I encourage anyone who wants to bid on high-price electronic items on eBay to read it. The site is still a work in progress, but you'll get the idea.

http://www.lawrenceandersonisathief.com

Happy reading. -->>>

Hey, when's the rest of the website going to be finished? I want to find out how it ends!
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Old November 6th, 2002, 06:43 AM   #10
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I am with Dylan. What was the final outcome????

Very sorry to hear that this happened. It is a shame that this world is filled with such low life scum.
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Old November 6th, 2002, 10:01 AM   #11
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I've had my share of miracle and nightmare eBay experiences, both. I once was the successful bidder on a Ford Taurus, but knew something was amiss when the seller told me I should send him a bank check and after that he would drive the car to me. Indeed, he relisted the Taurus right away and almost scammed another bidder too. Never caught the guy.

Later, I found a fantastic price on an XL1S. The seller had too much good feedback to be a scammer, I thought, so I bid and won. The gamble paid off, and my XL1S arrived in perfect condition. I've also bought computer and pro NTSC monitors off of eBay, for relatively good prices.

Then, earlier this year, I bid on a 1U rackmount server computer on eBay. It arrived, but it was having issues. It wouldn't stay on for more than a few minutes. My seller provided some technical support, not in the most professional manner, but it led me to believe he was going to be good on his word when it came to the 1 year warrantee. He told me to ship the motherboard back to him for replacement. I made the mistake of telling him I was going to be out of town for a month. He took every day of that month to wait until shipping the same motherboard back to me, then he disappeared from the face of the earth, ripping off a dozen other paying eBay bidders in the process. It's still a mystery to me just what happened to him. In the end, I replaced both the motherboard and the power supply on the server and it worked. So it wasn't a complete fraud. But again, I was lucky.

Scams are everywhere. Each time you find a really-really-good-but-still-good-enough-to-be-true price on eBay, you take a crapshoot. If you can risk losing thousands of dollars, then you can probably also afford to pay an extra few hundred dollars to deal with a reputable company.

I still get amused when I travel to foreign cities and see con artists running shell games in the streets--successfully! Both shell game and thimblerig are in the dictionary. Tourists are advised to look them up before being robbed blind on an impossible gamble.

Has Chris mentioned yet in this thread that you should always buy from DVinfo.net sponsors?

http://www.dvinfo.net/sponsors/index.php
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Old November 21st, 2002, 02:12 PM   #12
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Dylan Couper wrote:

<<Hey, when's the rest of the website going to be finished? I want to find out how it ends!>>
========================

Well, folks, I finished posting the story about my eBay nightmare. You can read it at:

http://www.lawrenceandersonisathief.com

I'll let the discussion board know when, and if, it ends in my favor. Sigh...
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Old November 21st, 2002, 03:20 PM   #13
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Ever considered hiring a private detective to track him down in person?
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Old November 21st, 2002, 10:08 PM   #14
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Yeah, I've definitely thought of that. I have a few other (cheaper) things I'm going to try first.

What an adventure. Yeesh.
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Old March 27th, 2003, 05:46 PM   #15
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Dylan believe it or not I read your page from beginning to end and damn I feel your pain. I must say, you ARE a patient individual. I had somehting like this happen to me last year abou the same time it happened to you.

I was ready to update my DCR-TRV11 which already had the firewire circuits fry with a DCR-TRV30. I was surfing around eBay and found a "great deal". Some seller had one for sale with no reserve for about $600.00. Which I thought was a reasonable price since the Sony Clearance store had it for $850.00, but they were kinda wishy washy about the whole thing, it is the last one and will not hold it for me even after I explained that I had a hour to hour and a half drive to Tracy, CA.

I emailed the guy and told him of my interest. He had a canned response that had a buy it now price which included worldwide UPS shipping for free. He also had a website that looked legitimate enough. So I figured that the risk was considerably low and it would save me a hundred dollars or so. The but it now was for $700.00. He emailed me and told me that he would expedite shipping if I wired the money to him in London. I was innocent and greedy and foolsih so I went to a place in which I do consulting for which conveniently was also a Western Union site. I wired him the money and he said that he would send me the item soon. The wire transfer cost me $54.00. I emailed him the next business day which was a Monday and ask if he had indeed emailed the item. No response.

A cold chill ran up my spine and suddenly I feel like the old cartoons that the character all of the sudden turned into a large All-Day sucker. I tracked the website and called the number which was bogus. I traced the websites registration to a guy in Virginia. I called him up and asked him if he had any idea where my camera was. The guy thought I was crank calling him. He said that he never registered a site other than the one he uses for his business. He said that he would call me back to investigate this matter. We exchanged information. He called me back 30 minutes later and said that someone must be pulling a fast one because the credit card that was used was stolen from a gas station a month ago.

I really could not contact eBay since it was an out of auction purchase, so I notified Western Union and they suggested that I contact the FBI internet Fraud Division. Which I did and filed a complaint. I did some more research on eBay and found out these guys have lots of things listed not just cameras but all sorts of high ticket items. I then started to chase them around and emailed the bidders. They then switched up and use private auctions where you can not see who is bidding. Another thing to add to the list PRivate Auctions...

Anyway, I am still short of the money, the only poositive ordeal out of this was I still wanteed a TRV30 so I called the Best Buy in SF and they had a overstock one which they let me have for $450 including a two-year warranty. So it was like paying full retail for the camera, atleast that is what I tell myself. :)
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