eBay Scammers

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

As winter comes into its own, and my pile of things that are valuable but that have been upgraded, replaced or outlived their usefulness grows into a pile that is taking up way to much space. My thoughts turn to eBay last refuge of unwanted goods. A little while ago I received an eBay blue star this has "happened because you've achieved a Feedback rating of 50. With your Blue Star, you are now an established member of the eBay Community".

I have had a mostly good with some bad relationship with eBay over the last 4 years.

The good:
- I like eBay it's a bit rough around the edges, but by and large I'm
comfortable with the services they provide.
- I can sell stuff with relative ease.

The bad:
- The amount of con-men purchasing (& trying to purchase) my goods
- The amount of con-men trying to contact me with partnership offers.
- The amount of con-men trying to sell me non existent goods.
- The amount of con-men trying to sell counterfeit goods.
- The amount of spoof mail I receive.
It should be noted this is not really an eBay only problem. Rather a net problem. I do not believe I have ever received an eBay spoof mail to my real eBay address only randomly to my tertiary unsecure address that has no connection to eBay. Therefore I believe these are completely random.
- My main gripe is that eBay had not initially prepared or gave me any warnings of the modus
operandi of the above reprobates or given me much in the way of immediate tactile support.

I have had around 60 eBay transactions. 10 Of these have been multiple transactions with same eBayers. Hence the 50 blue star feedback. Using the 60 transactions as a reference I believe I have had a rather high proportion of illegible contact. I can only imagine the amount of scam traffic that regular or established eBayers have to endure. Or do these criminals only prey on those who are in the "use eBay occasionally " category. With the perception that this category will yield the highest return, as these eBayers are not as savvy as high transaction users?

In my limited exposure I can tell you about the following scams I have been exposed to:

The rookie:
The spoof email this con seems to be completely random and you have as much chance of getting spammed as you do have of been the target of the spoof mailer. I have been spoof mailed from banks, Pay Pal and eBay. EBay support here

The novice:
The cheap branded white goods seller scam. This is an online version of the Great International White Van Speaker Scam. See a description here.

In essence you find an name brand item at a price below its value e.g. Bose sound system valued at £3,500 but the listed price is rather more attractive. Only thing is you have to contact the seller to get on his "approved list" because of previous time wasters.

Once you contact the seller. The sequence of emails is as follows:

1. You have been approved, even though your rating is low they will trust you. They are a warehouse/seller/repossesor of goods in ... (some eastern European location).

2. Look its easier just to deal with us directly. We have lots of stock but it's going quickly.

3. OK we are down to the last few of that item you liked. How about this send us €x,xxx via Western Union. Send it your best friends name. Let us know the name of your best friend, so we can confirm the funds have been moved.

Then we'll send you the Bose Home system. When you are have received it . Just let Western know that you would like to change the recipient of the funds to our name. Ok every foo and his dog knows that Western Union do not change the name of a funds recipient will nilly. They take these sort of thing seriously. Turns out that its easier to make fake IDs purpose made to collect funds from Western Union than to get a proper job.

I looked for an example of this but could not find any so maybe eBay has cleaned up its act. Sure!!!

The artful amateur
The partner scheme - After you have listed an item that has gained these guys attention. They'll start bombarding you with requests to be their partner, up front some cash to get goods from them or send them your stock for a quick sell over "there" and then predictably they disappear. Although I'm guessing the final steps. As I have never actually responded to their emails. eBay seems to be aware of this as I received an alert a couple of days after my first contact.

The initial email:
hello ,dear friend .thanks for your concerning here: This is famous notebooks agent.It is a large digital electronice market which only sell authentic ones, brand new, in good condition, any interest in our products, please take a look around, a big surprise waits for you. good quality with wholesaler's price, excellent service which deliver the goods in time. It is a sensible choice to choose us as your supplier in future. sweetable negotiated with business, combine wonderful price with famous products.

Another email:
4 days later I received this from eBay:

From : eBay (for real)
Dear ME:

Our records indicate that you recently sent an email to or received an email from cxxu905 through the eBay email system (for example, you may have sent an email to this member through Ask Seller a Question or received an email from this member through Contact eBay Member).

Sometimes eBay accounts are used to send email solicitations for transactions outside of eBay, or to send unrelated questions in hopes that you will respond so that the other party can obtain your email address. We wanted you to be aware of the potential fraud risk these solicitations pose and encourage you to be cautious about the email you received from this member.

Please keep in mind, sales that take place outside of eBay are not eligible for any eBay or PayPal protective services and you run the risk of losing your money or your item if you complete these transactions. We would encourage you to review the eBay pages related to Fraud Protection at the address provided below for information on steps you can take to ensure that your transactions are successful: etc.

Although eBay only alerted me to the second contact being less than legitimate.

The semi- professional
This is perhaps the most annoying scam. Once you have listed an item. Someone buys it and then asks you to ship it to some international destination. Sorry didn’t I mention they'll pay you once the item arrives. This happened about 5 times on a single item. I tried different approaches ranging from just relisting, complaining to eBay, stringing the buyer along so they didn’t purchase or harass me while I made the actual sale. The sequence is as follows: These are actual emails I received. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Ok maybe I could.

First contact:
"seun ken"
Dear Seller,
How are u doing today hope fine and cool
I am Mrs Genny From Holland, and i made buy it now option on your
item place at ebay and i have been notified by them to contact u
and also if u can get back to me as soon as possible,i will be very
glad.I am on my business trip now and i purchase the item to
present it to my Daugther in Lagos Nigeria for her coming birthday
that she want to do nest week,So i will like u to get back to me as
soon as possible then i want you to caculate the total amount of
the item with the shipping cost to lagos nigeria so that i will be
able to send the payment to you and when u are notified of the
payment u can be able to send the item to Daugther immediately,in
lagos nigeria i will need secure email address so that it' can be used
for the payment And i will be paying you via PAYPAL,so kindly reply
to my email asap so that we can sort it and the item can get to my
Daugther immediately before her birthday.Plz kindly i want the item
to be sihpped via Royal Mail First Class Express shipping to nigeria
i don t worry about the shipping cost ok,

Another contact:
jelobe john -
Dear Seller,
Thanks so much for your mail. I want to notify you
that the cheque payment for your item will be ready
tomorrow to send to you.but i have some questions for
you before it is sent...My client said that the cheque
payment that will be sent to you will include my
commission as an agent and shipper.i will like to know
if u can be trusted with is by sending the commission
tome via western union after the cheque might have
cleared in your account....Please i will want you to
consider this item is sold..Let me have a reply to
this as soon as possible...

Another contact:
Dear Seller,
I will like to purchase these Item New Black Slimline PlayStation 2 Console & 5 Games (82xxxxxxx) for a friends Child oversea as a late Easter gift.He School with British America University there in West Africa Due to my workload, i might not be able to be checking my mails often.So i will be offering £120.I want the item posted via Royal Mail International Signed For to Him.hope the package will get to him in good condition ..What is the present condition of this item and does it comes in it's original box?.I will be paying you for the item via Postal Order, so get back to me with your full name and address where payment will be deliverd to. Best

Regards from Green

Second Contact:

Third Contact:
Dear Seller,
I am the e-buyer of your item i want these item ship to lagos nigeria for a cousin that is celebrating her birhtday next week Friday.Can you please get me the postage cost to Nigeria via FISRT CLASS ROYAL MAIL INTERNATIONAL SIGNED FOR so that i can effect payment via paypal today ok.
Get back to ma asap
Kind regards,

Fourth Contact:
Ok so by now I'm guessing the scammer thinks its a done deal. Making him a little sloppy notice the reply to email address.

The rest of the email continues with:

Dear ME,
This email confirms that Christy Morgan has sent you £1,030,00 GBP with PayPal.

To complete this payment, you must ship the item to the shipping address given to you by the buyer and provide us with the shipment tracking number for verification within 48hours so that we can credit your PayPal account accept or deny it within 30 days.

If you do not accept or deny this payment within 30 days, it will be cancelled and the funds will be returned to Christy Morgan's account.

Payment Details
Buyer's User ID: chty4300
Buyer: Christy Morgan
Amount: £1,000,00 GBP
Shipping & Handling: £ 30,00 GBP
Insurance: £ 00,00 GBP
Total Amount: £1,030,00 GBP

Item Information
eBay Item #: xxxx
eBay User ID: xxxx
eBay Item Headline: Ultra shiney object of desire.
eBay Item Quantity: 1
eBay Item Unit Value: £1,000,00 GBP

This payment is pending because it was sent in a currency in which you do not currently hold a balance.Get back to us with the Shipment Tracking details so that we can verify that the item has been shipped and transfer the funds deducted from the buyer's PayPal account to your account. If you have any question or you want to send the Shipment Tracking details to us at <<<<<<<< style="font-weight: bold;">Fifth Contact:Dear Craig,
I have made out my payment to you for this item number (88xxxxx),So check your mail for the confirmation mail from paypal.Get back to me immediately if you receive the confirmation mail from paypal.I want these item shipped through ROYAL MAIL INTERNATIONAL SIGNED FOR to my cousin in Lagos Nigeria.And this is the Shipping Details
Address : No.2 AYINKE STREET
City : AKOKA
State : LAGOS
Zipcode : 10014
Country : NIGERIA .
As soon as you send it,Send the shipping details to me today so that i can forward it to her ok,hope to hear

from you.
Kind Regards,

Sixth Contact:
I get a reminder from "PayPal"

From: "pay pal"
Dear ME
Details of Transaction
Seller's I.D: xxxxxx
Seller's Email : xxxxxxxxx
Transaction Date: June 01, 2006
Transaction ID: 6D694274EY338930K
Transaction Amount: 1,030,00 GBP
Buyer's Name: Christy Morgan
Buyer's Ebay ID:chty4300
Buyer's Email :
Status: CAD - Verified (2)
Transation Reminder
This is to remind you of the above transaction,and at the same time let you know that the fund will only be credited into your account immediately we confirm the shipment of the item paid for.Get back to us with the shipping tracking number of the item sent and the money will be credited immediately. Mail the tracking number to

our customercare at :
Due Dates

Please respond within the next 24hrs.
Thank you for using paypal ® . We look forward serving your online auction payment needs in the future.
Gene Braint
Paypal Customer Care,
PayPal logo Internet Merchant Accounts -
HomeFedex LogoUPSRoyal Mailâ„¢ Logo
PayPal Email ID PP622

Seventh Contact:
From:Christy Morgan"



I respond:
Ok so by now everytime I relist the item it's bought with the same sequence of emails. So I decide to go off road on this one.

Hi Christy,
Thanks for your promptness on this. I sent off the package yesterday via Royal Mail International Signed For Airmail. Delivery will take 5- 7 working days. I was a bit concerned as It is only covered for loss up to £500.

As requested it has been sent to:


Do let me know how it goes. As I am keen to get paid.


Eighth Contact:
Hi Craig,
Thank you for your mail and your sincerity towards the transaction.I need the tracking number so that i can forward it to my cousin ok.get back to me asap.

At this point the item was sold and no more contact was necessary. I report the scammer to eBay and get the following response from eBay:

Thank you for writing to eBay Customer Support UK,
Your question is very important to us and will be treated with our full
attention and respect for your needs. If you have received this
auto-response, your email has been received, and it is not necessary for you to resend it.
You will receive a response from one of our customer representatives on
your specific question within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of this mail.
Need help fast? Visit our NEW interactive Help pages to get instant
answers to our most frequently asked questions, as well as a wealth of
information about all things eBay! Click on "Help" in the menu at the
top of any eBay page, or go directly here:
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not respond to this email. Any email sent
a response to this Acknowledgement will not reach us. Should you have
another question or would like to send us additional information,
contact us by using our online Contact Customer Support page found at:
Thanks for your co-operation and assistance,
Best regards,
eBay Customer Support UK


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I was particulary taken by the eTip!s at the bottom of the email. just what I needed. Anyway I will be unloading a plethora of unwanted gadgets and out of date stuff. So keep your eyes on my eBay page.