The clue is in the name.
NOTE - READ EVERYTHING BELOW FIRST ! Do not contact me to ask me why do I think the auction is a fraud/scam; if you are asking me this despite everything I've explained below - there's really no hope for you - go ahead, bid and be robbed ! Similarly, I get a lot of contacts telling me what a good job I am doing and how they were nearly about to get sucked in by the scammer, but pulled back because of seeing me as the high bidder. As much as I'd love to reply and thank those kind people, Ebay does not permit people with zero feedback to repond via the ask seller a question link. I am not likley to ever accumulate anything more than zero feedback on this ID, and I can't disclose my real ID and email address or the fraudsters would have a field day ! So for now I quite like the Batman of Ebay tag someone gave me - made my wife laugh anyway ! NOW READ ON ..... If you are reading this, it is because I have bid on an auction that is clearly a scam. I consider it my duty to bid on these in an attempt to prevent newbies, and sometimes extremely naive long-standing bidders, from being defrauded.
The auction will have some or all of the following characteristics:
1) it will usually be a 1 day auction format, although whne they have hijacked really dormant accounts, they sometimes go the full 3 or 5 or 7 day format, because they know the real ebay account holder has long ceased to check their emails.
2) seller's registered location and item location often do not match. They are usually too moronic to change the item location to match their country, so you see dull-witted combinations of things like seller in USA, item location London, UK, but listed in Australian Dollars
3) seller asks that you contact them directly via a hotmail or msn or yahoo or similar webmail account, as opposed to via the "ask seller a question" route. They will invariably say that for some reason they will not be able to access emails sent via the proper channels; that's because an email sent via proper channels will probably reach the real owner of the ID, and they would be alerted to the scam.
4) they will often suggest that you can buy the item "off auction" for an attractive price.
5) they often say they will ship for free
6) they usually, but not always, say they will want paying by wire transfer; this means Western Union to me and you - best avoided like the plague for this kind of thing. Even if it says they accept Paypal, when you win, they will usually say there's some reason why you can't use it - or they'll offer you a hefty discount for using the WU method instead. They often say they have more than one of the item for sale
7) The broken English often used in communications. This is bit of an un-pc thing to say; after all, we are a multi-cultural society, and not everyone has English as their mother tongue; but somehow you can just tell when someone claiming to be John Smith from Oxford writes " send me your best offer - tell me how I can do deal with you..", that something's not quite right.
8) email them asking whether, if you win, you can pay cash in person and go and collect the item; They always come up with a cock and bull story that they are away from home on business, that the item is actually somewhere else; that they do so much business that callers are not allowed - yeah yeah yeah - it's all rubbish. They will even drop the price - anything to avoid you wanting to collect in person.
9) it's always top dollar value electronics stuff like laptops, hifi, speakers, mp3 players, LCD TVs etc. it's never a lace tablecloth ! Her'es a tip - click on view seller's other items. I guarantee you, 9 times out of ten, you will se a list of items that look something like this: - ALIENWARE NOTEBOOK - AQUOS LCD TV - DELL INSPIRONS - ROLAND DRUM KITS & SYNTHS - KORG SYNTHS ETC. - PANASONIC LAPTOPS - CANON CAMERAS, SONY CAMCORDERS Point is, it's ALWAYS the same sort of stuff. Another favourite is high end Trimble GPS and surveying equipment. Ask yourself, what is somebody who up until now was selling tweed skirts and ladies shoes, doing selling this kind of stuff all of a sudden ? Answer - they are not, Their account has been hijacked, their passwords having been harvested probably by means of a spoof email purporting to be from ebay. Why else doesn't the seller want you to contact them via legitimate channels ? The clevere scammers actually change the email preference too, so that you will indeed be able to communicate with the fraudster via the proper channels. If this is the case, why not place a bid, then request the seller's contact details and phone them up. They will have a shock to learn what is happening in their name.
Finally, I get a lot of contacts from people who are actually bidding on these items, or are considering a bid. They see me as the high bidder, and using the contact member button, email me to ask why I would think this auction is anything other than completely legitimate.
Whilst I sometimes despair at this level of naivety, I have to take a step back and consider how Ebay was when I first started 10 years ago, and how naive I was. Nobody could have envisaged the scale of fraud we see today, and what a minefield it is. Yet I am still astonished, despite all the publicity about Ebay scams, despite the warnings by Ebay themselves, people still fail to use basic common sense when looking at these auctions. Do you really honestly think that someone who has done nothing except sell motorcycle accessories on 5 or 7 day auctions, is suddenly going to start selling on 1 day auctions Alienware, Dell, Panasonic laptops, huge LCD TVs, fantastic high-spec cameras, and all for ridiculously low prices, usually in a different currency to that of their or their item's location ? JUST STOP AND THINK ! Why wouldn't those people be prepared to communicate via the proper channels ? After all, you could still offer them your best buy it now offer even through the proper ask seller a question method - there's no need to email them directly on their fraudster email addresses - examples: STEFRAVETTI@MSN.COM MCYANN@AOL.COM VOXMARIX@MSN.COM BAILEYSSTORE@HOTMAIL.COM email@example.com the email addresses change over time, but you can be sure they are always webmail type addresses. They come out with crap like... INSTEAD OF USING "ASK SELLER A QUESTION" AS YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A RESPONSE. THANKS! .... blah blah blah - lies lies and more lies. Another thing these donkeys do is to put the items in the wrong category. I haven't figure out yet why they do this, after all, do they want people ot find the auctions or not ? My guess is they are targetting people who think they ar "discovering" hidden gems, erroneously listed under the wrong heading, thereby creating a bit of excitement. Don't buy it. If a Panasonic laptop is listed under Music > Folk > Russian, it's probably a scam; the seller's pal probably sells Russian music CDs from the same computer or something, and they haven't the brains to change the heading. Who knows, Who cares ! Point is - give it a wide berth.
Please note, because my YETANOTHERSCAMDONTBID ID has zero feedback, Ebay does not allow me to reply to you without putting a credit card on file, which I am not about to do.
This is why I created this page, which will no doubt be removed as soon as Ebay takes note.
be under no illusions; if you report these fraudsters, Ebay MAY take the auction down; but it will reappear under a different harvested (i.e. stolen) ID hours if not minutes later. It's like trying to empty a skip full of sand with a sieve. I find that often, auctions are just left to run their course, and nobody will ever know how things pan out for the hapless high bidder. I recently discovered a USA user's ID had been hijacked, and several items fraudulently listed under his name. I looked back at the sellers' previous transactions, and found a recent genuine auction (pre-hijack) of his where he had put his genuine email address. I emailed him (it was actually a company) and they said they had bene trying for 2 days to get the acutions closed down, on the phone to Ebay, with no result. I had bid on it anyway to alert other users. This should be a salutory lesson to us all. IT IS UP TO YOU to look at these auctions, apply the necessary criteria and judgment, then decide if it is a scam. Ebay will not do it for you. They are not about to ban 1 day auctions; they are not about to strengthen the login and account verification procedures. They will only remove a proportion of these scams, and only when you and I report them, and only when their staffing levels permit. I can't see many of these being taken down during the World Cup... You would be forgiven for thinking that they don't care, but that would be cynical wouldn't it ? I can just imagine Ebay UK's head on BBC Watchdog again, dispensing the usual platitudes about ebay being a venue, about fraud being a tiny percent (yes, that's because 99.9 percent gets unreported because it is so rife), about ebay being one of the safest venues etc.etc. We all have a view on that. The fact of the matter is, I could do this full time if I had the resources. You and I could find hundreds of similar frauds on Ebay each and every day. Let me tell you, I have only been doing this for a few months now, but I have reported hundreds of these fraud auctions in that time. That's is only the ones I am looking for and spotting; some days, I just can't be bothered when I see yet anothet newbie or in some cases someone who should know better merrily bidding away. Sure, some will be doing it with some inkling about the fraud, but just going along with it for the thrill. But many more - the ones that email me to say they were about to bid or were indeed bidding, truly believed it was legitimate, despite all the warning signs.
I live in hope that one day this whole scandal - for that is what it is - will be well and truly exposed. I can think of no other venue which offers the criminal fraternity such ease of access and easy dishonest pickings. make no mistake, there are tens of thousands of these auctions on ebay each and every day. I only spot about 10 hijacked accounts a day - and that's just because I am looking for particular items to legitimately buy. Imagine what I'd find if I cast my net wider.
If you do report a fraud auction to ebay - go through the above checklist first. There are others of us out there, and all the advice is broadly similar. When you do report it, do so via: contact us > account security > unauthorised account activity > report another user's account as stolen.
So now you know why I am the high bidder; if you were considering bidding on this item, look through my check list, contact the seller, and proceed with caution.
CAVEAT EMPTOR !