Ebay Classifieds: The four most common scams exposed

Police and consumer advocates present the four most common fraud methods on Ebay classifieds.

The State Criminal Police Office of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Consumer Center of Rhineland-Palatinate present the four most dangerous scams on Ebay classifieds and show how they work.

Buyer protection scam: Buyer is the victim

An honest customer will find it. The fraudulent seller asks the prospective buyer to pay via Paypal, urging the “send money to friends and family” option. That is cheaper and faster. So the buyer transfers the purchase amount – and never gets his goods. The seller can then no longer be reached.

The buyer cannot rely on PayPal’s buyer protection, since buyer protection is only granted for transactions with the “Send money for goods and services” option. With the “Send money to friends and family” option, however, buyer protection does not apply, as the police and consumer advocates emphasize.

Transportation Charge Scam: Vendor is the Victim

An honest seller is listing a larger product/furniture/appliance for sale on Ebay Classifieds. The fraudulent prospective buyer claims that he will not be able to personally pick up and pay for the goods due to a stay abroad. He therefore offers to transfer the purchase price and the transport costs incurred to the seller’s bank account and to commission a freight forwarder with the collection.

A short time later, the seller receives an e-mail confirming that the purchase price, including the collection costs, has been debited from the buyer’s account. In another email, the fraudulent buyer asks the consumer to pay the transport costs to a shipping company. However, the alleged transfer confirmation is fake, as consumer advocates warn. The amount is never credited to the seller’s account and the amount he transferred to the alleged forwarding agent can no longer be reversed.

Fraud with ID card and real-time bank transfer: Buyer as victim

An honest prospective buyer discovers the product of his desire on Ebay classifieds. The fraudulent seller legitimizes himself with a fictitious photo of “his” identity card, whereupon the consumer pays the purchase price by real-time transfer. After that, the seller can no longer be reached and of course the product never arrives.

Secure Pay feature scam

The so-called “secure payment” system of Ebay classifieds is intended to protect providers and prospective buyers. Ideally, this is how it works: The buyer transfers the purchase price to a payment service provider from eBay classifieds. The seller is informed that the money has been received and can send the goods off. As soon as the goods have been received by the buyer, he confirms the receipt of the goods and the seller gets his money. Here we present this procedure: Ebay classifieds payment is now safer – partially.

Criminals send messages via SMS or messenger services and suggest “pay securely” as a payment option. However, the message contains a link to a fake website! Anyone who enters their bank or credit card details there is asked to enter the credit card details for authorization, which are then misused.

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