While eBay.com is a reputable online marketplace, it’s important to be aware of potential scams to protect yourself as a buyer or seller.
Read on to find out how I very nearly got scammed myself!
Here are some common scams that occur on eBay:
- Non-Delivery Scam: The seller receives payment but fails to deliver the item. They may provide fake tracking information or disappear after receiving payment. Always check the seller’s feedback and ratings before making a purchase.
- Fake or Counterfeit Items: Some sellers may advertise counterfeit or fake items as genuine. Be cautious when purchasing high-value items like designer goods or electronics, and verify the authenticity before buying.
- Shill Bidding: This occurs when a seller uses secondary accounts or asks friends to place fake bids on their items to drive up the price. It’s important to monitor bidding patterns and be cautious of suspicious activity.
- Phishing and Spoof Emails: Scammers may send fraudulent emails or messages pretending to be from eBay, asking for personal information or payment details. eBay will never ask for sensitive information via email, so be wary of such requests and always verify the authenticity of emails before responding.
- Account Takeover: Hackers may gain unauthorized access to an eBay account and use it to make fraudulent transactions. Ensure your eBay account has a strong password and enable two-factor authentication for added security.
- Overpayment Scam: Scammers may send a fake payment for an item and then request a refund for the overpayment. They may ask for the refund through a different payment method, such as wire transfer, which is irreversible.
- False Return Claims: Some buyers may falsely claim that an item is damaged or not as described to request a return and refund. Document the condition of the item before shipping and keep all communication and evidence to protect yourself as a seller.
To protect yourself on eBay, it’s important to read and understand the seller’s feedback, ask questions about the item, use secure payment methods, and report any suspicious activity to eBay’s customer support.
What is a scam?
A scam refers to a fraudulent or deceptive scheme designed to deceive and defraud individuals or organizations for personal gain. Scammers use various tactics to trick people into providing sensitive information, making payments, or engaging in actions that benefit the scammer but harm the victim.
Scams can take many forms, such as online scams, phone scams, investment scams, identity theft, pyramid schemes, phishing, and more. They often rely on manipulation, misinformation, and social engineering techniques to exploit the trust and vulnerability of their targets.
The ultimate goal of a scam is to deceive victims into providing money, personal information, or access to their financial accounts. Scammers may pose as legitimate businesses or individuals, use fake websites or communication channels, or employ tactics that create a sense of urgency or fear to pressure their targets into taking action.
It’s important to stay vigilant and be cautious when dealing with unfamiliar individuals, organizations, or online platforms. Being aware of common scams, verifying the authenticity of requests, protecting personal information, and reporting suspicious activity are essential steps to avoid falling victim to scams.
How to protect yourself from phishing scams on eBay.
- Be suspicious of unusual requests for personal or financial information via email or phone; they may be phishing attempts.
- Scammers impersonate well-known companies to obtain confidential information or install malicious software.
- Watch out for messages demanding immediate action, containing attachments or links, or offering unrealistic deals.
- Phishing phone calls: eBay rarely makes unannounced calls; don’t call back if you receive a missed call.
- Check eBay Messages to verify the authenticity of a phone call.
- Email phishing attempts: Look for requests for confidential information, urgent tones, unsolicited attachments, generic greetings, and suspicious web addresses.
- Report suspicious phone calls by calling back through official eBay contact channels or emailing details to email@example.com.
- Report suspicious emails by not clicking links or opening attachments and forwarding the email as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Legitimate eBay contacts will not ask for passwords or credit card details, include convenient links without confidential information submission, or use threatening language.
- Important eBay messages will be sent to your eBay Messages.
By following these guidelines, you can protect yourself from phishing scams and safeguard your personal and financial information while using eBay.
How I avoided an eBay scam!
A few months ago, I was searching for a rare collectible item on eBay. I came across a listing that seemed too good to be true—a brand new item at a significantly lower price than other sellers were offering. Excited about the prospect of a great deal, I messaged the seller to confirm the item’s condition and availability.
The seller responded promptly, assuring me that the item was indeed available and in excellent condition. They requested that I make an immediate payment through a wire transfer to secure the purchase. This raised a red flag for me, as eBay typically uses secure payment methods and discourages direct wire transfers.
Suspecting a potential scam, I decided to investigate further. I checked the seller’s feedback and noticed that they had a very low rating with several negative comments about non-delivery of items. Additionally, the email address used by the seller didn’t match the one associated with their eBay account.
Realizing that I was likely dealing with a scammer, I reported the listing to eBay, providing them with all the relevant information and screenshots of the communication. I also alerted other potential buyers by leaving a warning in the item’s comments section.
Thanks to my cautious approach and the support of eBay’s customer service, I was able to avoid falling victim to the scam. This experience taught me the importance of thoroughly researching sellers, checking feedback ratings, and staying vigilant for suspicious signs when making purchases on online platforms like eBay.
Victim of a scam in the USA?
If you are in the USA, you can report a scam with USA.gov at the report a scam section.
If you live in another country use Google to find out where to report the scam and try to get justice, or stop it happening to others.