People expect to find amazing deals on eBay, but that just makes it harder for them to spot the deals that are too good to be true. That’s why eBay is also an ideal platform for scammers.
Here are three eBay scams taking place across the country. Read on so you don’t become a victim.
1. No product, no refund
Fox 17 in West Michigan recently shared the story of Bob Masters, who was searching for unique tools when he stumbled across the perfect listing from an eBay seller.
A few things were suspicious, but nothing was implausible. The posting said the parts, which were listed well below market value, were in China and would need to be shipped overseas. Masters felt he was getting a good deal and purchased the tools.
When they didn’t arrive, Masters assumed they had been lost in shipping. He reached out to the seller, who offered to send him a replacement.
When that shipment didn’t arrive, either, Masters reached out again to the seller, who told him he had been issued a refund and should confirm that the payment had arrived in his PayPal account. But the payment wasn't there.
The back-and-forth between Masters and the seller played out for months, and by the time Masters realized he wasn't getting his tools or his money back, it was too late for eBay to get involved.
EBay offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, but that didn't help Masters. PayPal recently extended its time limit, allowing users up to six months to dispute a charge on their account. But the scam works because the deadlines may have passed before you realize what’s happening. In the end, there was nothing Masters could do to reclaim his money.
2. Nigerian shoppers
Channel 2 News in Charleston, S.C., reported the story of Deonte Ray, who was trying to sell his cellphone on eBay and believed he'd found a buyer in Nigeria. He sent his girlfriend, Rashaundra Miller, to the post office to mail the phone. When a postal worker named Debbie Poole saw the package was being sent to Nigeria, she began asking very pointed questions and warned Miller that it was likely a scam.
Miller thought Poole was being overly cautious, so she called Ray and asked him to verify that the payment had been made. Ray checked his PayPal account and saw that the funds were “pending.”
But Poole pointed out that “pending” and “received” are very different things, so Ray reached out to PayPal, who confirmed that no recent activity had taken place on his account.
Luckily, this scam was stopped. Had the package been shipped, Ray and Miller would have been out the cost of the phone, which was around $500.
You may not always have someone like Poole to tip you off to a scam, so stay on your toes and avoid transactions with buyers or sellers who live out of the country.
You might remember Danielle Posner's story from our article about the major scams to look out for on Craigslist. (Read it here, if you missed it.) But Craigslist isn't the only place where scalpers take advantage of unsuspecting buyers.
According to the Guardian, outlandishly high ticket prices and fraudulent ticket sales have become such a concern in New York that the state attorney general has sent letters to eBay asking the company to help get the issue under control. EBay is viewed as essential in this effort, since it also owns the popular online ticket marketplace StubHub.
In this case, ticket brokers buy thousands of tickets to an event, then resell them at higher prices. The process is often automated – a computer uses thousands of credit card numbers to work around purchasing caps made by the ticketing software – which means regular buyers may not even have a chance to purchase the tickets at their normal prices.
Tickets sold on eBay may also be fraudulent. If a listing does not include a picture of the tickets, eBay recommends that you ask for one, especially for tickets above $300. You should also never wire money to the seller for payment.
So, be careful if you're looking for tickets to an upcoming event. If it seems you're paying more than you should be, or something about the seller seems off, it could be a scam. Avoid this by purchasing your tickets from the venue directly.
Bonus Tip: If you use eBay, I have a tip you definitely don’t want to miss! There are specific words to use when searching eBay that will give you the best results. Plus, if you see a certain product listed, you should always pay attention to the listing. Click here for three secrets that eBay pros use to get the best deals.
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Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show as she takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle. Visit Komando.com for free podcasts, videos, product reviews, shows, tips and advice.