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How To Spot Common Ebay Scams!

Apr 28, 2008
In order to buy and sell safely on eBay, it's important to be aware of some of the most common eBay scams.

After all, eBay scammers, like most criminals, aren't that original; they tend to pursue the same methods to cheat you and yours out of hard-earned money.

Awareness of these scams is a terrific way to avoid eBay scams and frauds altogether. Remember, knowledge is power!

Here's a list and short description of a few of the more common eBay scams.

1. Fake Auction Scams-- Fake auction or modified auction scams are posted by criminals who steal other people's eBay passwords using phishing e-mails and look-alike websites. They obtain someone's user id and password, then post fake high priced items for sale or modify existing listings by the seller with a fake contact address and an offer to sell for a fixed price.

Buyers think they are contacting the account owner, but they are contacting the thief. When a buyer sends a money order or other payment, it goes to the crook. Make sure you are contacting the real account owner and if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

2. Shill Bidding-- Shill bidding means bidding with no intent to buy. Shill bidding occurs when a seller bids on their own items, or has an accomplice bid for them, for the purpose of running up the bid amount. This is a violation of eBay rules. Dishonest sellers may setup alternate eBay accounts to bid on their own auctions or they may ask for the assistance of a friend who can bid on their items.

3. Three Monkeys Auction-- Remember the three proverbial monkeys, hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil? A three monkeys auction is for an unknown item, an unknown collection of items, or a surprise box. The seller pretends they cannot see or hear or speak the contents.

For this scam, the scammer does not need an auction ID that has a feedback history. They can pretend to be a new and inexperienced member by claiming they don't know what the item is. This leads bidders to believe they can take advantage of the inexperienced seller. Buyers are less likely to complain or post negative feedback when they act out of devious motives. The buyer does not want to reveal that they attempted to take advantage of an inexperienced seller or reveal that they were duped. The victim (the buyer) keeps quiet. This gives the dishonest seller an advantage and allows him or her to run such auctions longer before they are shut down.

4. Emotional or Sympathy Plea Scam-- Beware of any auction that makes an emotional plea or tries to play on your sympathy. These are always scams. For example, "Please help, I lost my job, my wife is sick and the bank just foreclosed, buy my mystery box and win a prize." Auctions that attempt to raise money for unverified charities, or for individuals with hard-luck stories are fraudulent.
About the Author
For more info about these and other eBay scams, visit http://www.Auction-Safety.org, and download Michael Ford's FREE Auction Inquisitor Auction Analysis software. Ford is the author of SCAMS AND SCOUNDRELS: Protect Yourself from the Dark Side of eBay and Paypal and the Don't Bid On It book series.
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