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Old March 10th, 2003, 03:04 PM   #1
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DVI Saved me from Ebay Scam!

I'll try to be brief, but a little background. I'm in the market for a PDX10 or TRV950. When B&H dropped prices on both these models last week, it helped me with a lean toward the PDX10. I also assumed other dealers would soon follow suit, so I've been keeping an eye on the pricegrabber-type sites, as well as Ebay. On Saturday morning, I checked Ebay to find a listing for a PDX10, with a starting price of $999 and no reserve! The description was, like most of the cams listed, stock mfg. wording and pics, so I assumed it was new, but decided I'd email the bidder to confirm. I figured it was gray market, or possibly even "hot", so I decided to ask that as well. I checked the sellers other auctions, and he had listed about 15 other Sony video cams, including TRV50 starting at $399, VX2000 for $999, TRV950 for $600, etc! I checked his feedback rating or 70, with 4 negatives...not great, but not too bad. Further review showed that all of the negatives were from experiences as a buyer, and that the member had only a few, though all positive, ratings as a seller. The seller had changed his username within 30 days to ebay@{namechanged}. Still, nothing too alarming on the surface.

I sent an email asking the bidder...

"Is this item brand new in box? Is it gray market? Stolen?"

to which I received...

"Hi Mr,
The item in new in box with international warranty.We have a special offer during this perriod.

Regards, "

OK, so I'm smart enough to know that "international warranty" is a buzz word for "gray market", but figured it was worthy of additional research. Then, to prove my ignorance, I actually sent the seller and email asking if he'd be willing to sell a similar item outside of Ebay (figuring it would save him listing fees, and more importantly, get me a bottom line price without having to wait for the auction to end. I also asked from where it would ship. The seller sent this in reply...

"Hi Mr,

We have only two items.The total price including shipping is 1550$. We accept as method of payment wire transfer in our bank account in US or Western Union.

I accept with one condition. I will ship the item via UPS and i will provide UPS tracking number. You will check the UPS online at www.ups.com and the that the package is OK. The money should be send untill the product got to you. I got ripped and i will not gonna tolerate this anymore. Once you will check that package is on the way you will wire me the money via wire transfer or Western Union.

Please check my feedback too. I am a honest person, please check my reviews
regards,"

OK, sounds honest enough on the surface, but I'm still a bit concerned about the "International Warranty", and at this point I've about decided it's not worth the warranty risk for a high dollar cam, so I email the following..."

"That a is certainly a great price. My concern is the "international warranty." I'm assuming that would mean that warranty in the US would not be valid. Let me give some thought to it and I'll let you know by tomorrow if I want to do it. (Certainly don't hold it if you get another buyer before then.)
> >>
> >> Thanks for the info. "

followed with this in reply...

"Hi Michael,
> >
> >The item comes eith international warranty. For 97$ i can buy US
> warranty
> >directly from Sony. I will give you the Western Union payment
> information.
> >you can pay online using your credit card at
> www.westernunion.com. It's very
> >fast and secure. I will be able to pick up the money in the same
> day and
> >make the UPS delivery.
> >
> >You can check anytime www.ups.com and track your package.
> >
> >here is the Western union payment address:
> >
> >Name: Name Changed.
> >Address:{Addy changed..., }
> >City:Madrid,
> >Province:Madrid
> >
> >Country:Spain
> >Phone:{phone changed}
> >
> >I will wait for your confirmation.
> >
> >Thanks. "

Wow! It's possible to buy up to a US Warranty for only $97? That certainly makes the offer a bit more intriguing! However, this is where the "too good to be true" vibes started setting in, so I decided to do a little more research, starting with a search on DVInfo.net for buying on Ebay (http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/buyersguide/ebay.php), written by Dyllan Couper. I printed out the article on "How not to get scammed when buying from Ebay, while in the meantime responding to the buyer with the following for clarification...

"> I just realized that I never clarified that I need the NTSC
> model. Is this camera NTSC or PAL? Do you know if it has English
> manual? What about language of lcd features and printing on the
> camera itself? It won't do me any good if the controls are
> Spanish! LOL! Thanks for the clarification and for your patience! "

As I read the article, it became clear that this was a classic scam! European seller, location listed as US, when it was clear he was in Spain, listing multiple items at the same time after not having sold similar items previously, Western Union transfer, layout of auction, and the worst part, I actually inquired about doing the transaction outside of Ebay! Then, I received the following, which was yet another tip that I was about to be scammed...

"Hi Michael,

We have the NTSC(3 items) and PAL (2 items left). Please let me know witch
one of these you agree.

Please send me the exact expeditor address and the MTCN number provided by
Western Union office. I will ship the item in the same day via UPS EMS and
provide the UPS tracking number so you will be able to check the package
online at www.ups.com.

Thanks in advance. "

Remember in the first email dialogue when he stated he only had two items?

Well, it was pretty clear that this at the very least had all the elements of a scam, so of course I did not go through with the transaction. However, the curiosity in me decided to continue watching various items to see how much they sold for, and if the seller eventually got feedback. Today when I checked, I saw that most of the previous auctions had been ended early by the seller. I checked the seller's other auctions, however, and found that there were 3 pages (about 75) new auctions with rediculously low prices. Then, I noticed that the seller had once again changed his username, this time to member43*76* (numbers changed). When I clicked to review his profile, I was shocked to see that the seller, with the previous feedback rating of 70 just yesterday, now had a rating of 787, with 4 negatives! Further inspection showed that whoever the unfortunate member that had feedback stolen by this slimeball had sold items listed from "Near Notre Dame, Indiana", and had previously accepted Paypal on previous auctions. I don't know how, but somehow this guy stole somebody else's feedback or profile. Scary!

Thanks to Dyllan's article and DVinfo.net, I managed to avoid the scam. I'm in the process of reporting it to Ebay now to hopefully shut this guy down.

Michael Middleton
Houston, TX
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Old March 10th, 2003, 05:59 PM   #2
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I would have gone running for the hills as soon as I saw that he had 4 negatives on 70 transactions--that teamed with the Western Union request and the International Warranty nonsense spelled trouble---I am glad you didn't get ripped of---You pay for what you get and that kind of discounting is usually a sign of a scam artist---
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Old March 10th, 2003, 11:31 PM   #3
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Please forward the $1000 you saved to the "DVinfo Wranglers Beer Fund". ;)

Glad the article kept that scumbag from ripping you off!
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Old March 11th, 2003, 10:25 AM   #4
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What's Your Flavor?

Or is is flavour in Canada? ;-)

I was amazed as I was reading the article at just how textbook this scam was. Looking at the old auctions, he somehow managed to link the ended auction to a completely different user. He changed his username again, and is selling more items. I don't know how me is able to change the user information, but he's doing it. I alerted Ebay, but haven't heard back from them.

Michael
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Old March 11th, 2003, 11:09 PM   #5
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Yeah, not sure how that guy is doing that. Regardless of anyone's feedback, I wouldn't buy from someone that matched even one of the scam criteria. I've heard of scammers getting ahold of Ebay accounts with mega feedback before.

Even buying by credit card is questionably safe, as they can take your number and use it to make phony purchases. Sure you are protected in the end, but it's not worth it for the hassle.
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Old March 12th, 2003, 08:39 AM   #6
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eBay won't get back to you. When you report this sort of stuff, it's buried somewhere that they investigate but that you're out of the loop. I stumbled on that when I reported an offline attempt to sell what I was sure was stolen Adobe software (After Effects for $40).

It is really remarkable that eBay accounts can be so easily hijacked.

Despite my small number of transactions at eBay, I found that the prices are not particularly good. I wanted a second Bogen tripod, a second video head, and a monopod to fit in with the RC2 system I already had. Including the repairs to the tripod (which I knew about in advance and accepted) and buying a new head for the monopod, I may have saved $25 at most when compared to buying everything new from B&H.

It took me six weeks of daily attention to eBay to save that $25. During that six weeks, I noticed that many used items sold for more than the new price, including shipping, from B&H. It's an incredible lesson in the power of markets, enough that I want to be a seller on eBay! I've got all this fabulous stuff in the attic...

For high-ticket items, I'm too chicken to even bother.
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Old March 12th, 2003, 09:26 AM   #7
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I've gotten some good deals on eBay, e.g. a Panasonic AG456 with a Bogen tripod and head for around $500, and an AG450 for $75 which I later resold for $500.

I've been lucky -- I've only been burned once, and then for relatively trivial amounts of money. Overall, I'm a big eBay believer. You have to exercise care and, of course, common sense, when buying there, but there are true bargains to be found.
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Old March 16th, 2003, 09:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Will Fastie :
It is really remarkable that eBay accounts can be so easily hijacked.
How? The only way I can see this happening is by appropriating vendor's email account and password. If vendor's ISP email account is hijacked, that's easy enough to fix by contacting provider. Webmail may be a different story but a would be hijacker would still have to know the password.
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Old March 16th, 2003, 10:21 AM   #9
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I don't know how the accounts get hijacked. But what happens is that once the hijacker does get access to the account, he changes the password and the profile. It doesn't matter if the real user changes his email address because the hijacker has already updated the profile with a different one.

The hijacker lists the bogus merchanidise with short auctions. He takes advantage of the fact that it will take the real user and eBay days, not hours, to sort out the mess. Keep in mind that eBay can't take a call that says "Give me back my access to my account" without confirming the caller's identity. That doesn't happen right away.

The hijacker knows he'll eventually lose access to the account. He just takes advantage of the time it takes the real user to resolve the issue.
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Old March 17th, 2003, 08:21 PM   #10
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Hello,

I have also seen these scam artist selling cameras on E-bay for cheap prices.. Watch out people !! One guy, probably the same guy was selling Panasonic AG-DVX100 cameras for like $1400 or $1500 bucks.. No way..
I believe somehow they are able to assume another sellers idenity.. One of the tip offs for me was when i looked at his seller rating and comments, he had sold several thousan items, but the were all one and two dollar transactions for some kind of sewing pattern.. Now how does a guy into sewing patterns all of a suddenly start dealing in fairly high quality video cameras?? Aslo i found that he had copied someone elses ad and pictures, and only changed the price.. he also wanted me to wire him the money via western union.. No frigging way.. It has to be a pay pal or credit card transaction only.. When I complained to him that western union provided no protection for me in case of a fraud, here is waht he tells me, He says he will provide a fake name to send it to, then I am to give him the transaction number and when he sees the money has been wired, he will ship me the camera.. Good God this guy must think i just fell of the old cabbge truck..!! what kind of cockamamined scheme is this ?? Anyway Buyers beware.. i still see these people operating on Ebay today !! Scam scam scam.. unfortunatley they are probaly taking some peoples money..
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Old March 17th, 2003, 08:52 PM   #11
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Mike, he probably figured you an easy target based on your email addy! ;-)

Michael
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Old March 18th, 2003, 02:06 PM   #12
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EBAY Scam

I wouldn't buy a birthday gift for my mother-in-law on E-Bay. Way too much effort needs to go into covering your hiney to make it worth it.

B&H has a great reputation. But almost anything digital I buy off the Net from now on will be from ZGC. Why? Because the last time I bought something from them they gave me a fair price and sent me a Thank You note, and that impressed the hell out of me.
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Old May 12th, 2003, 12:34 PM   #13
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I fully agree with all of you guys and these ebay scams, how can they keep doing these? The email is so cookie cutter and the auctions are always on the featured plus items and NEED TO HAVE MONEY NOW!! I hope that they are not perpetuated because people keep falling for them!
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Old May 12th, 2003, 12:36 PM   #14
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Sorry i forgot to mention that these guys have been able to hack into accounts and "steal" the reputaion of a good buyer as I found out a power seller had his password hacked and then changed so he could not end the auctions nor could he check the email since the email was changed. So BEWARE!!!
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Old May 12th, 2003, 05:48 PM   #15
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Western Union = Kiss of Death!

They are the favorite tool of scammers worldwide. Also, there is NO RECOVERY via your credit card company because Western Union sold you a money order, not a camera -- and that's precisely what you got.

No credit card company will accept a fraud claim for blatent stupidity.
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