My first eBay fraud

I recently sold my first ever item on eBay. With new territory comes new wonders… including scams!

Within hours of my putting up my auction, someone, who created the account on that same day, buy its out. After buying it out he messages me via eBay asking me if “shipping is free” because he wants to “send the item to his daughter at college”. Even though I am new to selling on eBay I am not an idiot; the fact that the buyer had a brand new account, no feedback, asks me about free shipping even though the auction clearly states “free shipping”, and wants me to ship it to some third party location got me wondering “scam?” Well I immediately told the buyer that I would only ship to a confirmed PayPal address. After that I got this e-mail directly to my e-mail (note: not via eBay):

2009-07-30_124329

At first glance I thought this was a legit e-mail from PayPal so I thought “dang I misjudged the guy as a scammer for no reason”. …Then I read the “Money Paid Details” and I thought “what in the world?”

According to the e-mail I was being paid an extra $100 for shipping fees. Not only was this odd in of it self but what made it worse is that I had free shipping listed for my auction. After that fiasco I read the e-mail further and saw “Country: Nigeria” and that just yelled SCAM to me. To confirm my suspicions, I noticed the email was sent from @mail2pay.com not @paypal.com. At the end of the day I got saved… *Phew*.

Moral of the story: just because an e-mail looks legit does not mean it is! Always double and triple check (with multiple sources) before shipping out an item or sending money.

P.S. I did report this to eBay and the account did get banned for what it is worth =).

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16 comments

  1. Gideon

    I just thought I’d sold my old macbook pro, I had almost exactly the same experience as you. Looked at the email, checked my Paypal account. Nothing added up so now I’m going to have to darn re-list it! Grr…

  2. Aaron

    @Ozzie: WOAH, a picture of a computer? That seems a bit VERY extreme. LOL

    I’m from Australia, I’ve only had two bad experiences, one with a warranty issue on a product I had bought from a seller also in Australia, and one from a lady in California, who bought a camera of mine, paid for it, I sent it out, then she claims that she never received it. So I look at the tracking records (I didn’t tell her I had purchased tracking) and it was sitting right in her post office and they had sent it to her door twice, but she refused to accept it.

    Anyway, with eBay, it is always better to be the buyer than the seller as buyers get certain “privileges” over sellers because PayPal treats their sellers like crap. (I got hung up on buy PayPal by a lady named Maylene, or was it Mayzel?)

    But never have I been subject to a “professional” scam like the one above. I guess, lucky me?

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Ozzie: eBay is very safe in terms of protection. Just pay via PayPal and “read the fine print” (as you said) and you will be fine. I just did a successful purchase of a phone from eBay. Very happy with it.

  4. Ozzie

    A close call, Ashraf. I am wary of using eBay, actually. A couple of years ago I was looking on their site to buy a second-hand laptop and saw one that was a good brand and a good price. There was a very lengthy section of small fine print at the bottom of the ad, so I read it all (yes Ray, you gotta read the fine print!) and noticed that near the bottom it said something to the effect of: this is not a computer, it is just a picture of a computer. What the …. ??? So naturally I didn’t touch it with a barge pole. But sure enough, a lot of people didn’t read the fine print and not long after people started posting messages saying they had paid hundreds of dollars for a computer and all they received in the mail was a picture of a computer. Buyer beware, I guess. But it made me feel very distrusting of such sites. I know a lot of people have had good experiences with eBay (my mum included), but I can never quite shake the doubt that “seller” implanted in my mind. And I ended up buying a laptop at a computer shop.

    As for the scammers not coming from Nigeria, sadly for the good people of Nigeria and the reputation of the country, a lot do. Don’t know about computer scams, but the Dear-Madam-please-help-me-collect-the funds-from-a-deposed-leader type of scams do. And sadly, there are a number of either ridiculously gullible or greedy people out there who have fallen for them – and have actually headed to Nigeria and had their savings stolen, their passports taken, and in some instances have been assaulted in the process. I feel really sorry for people in Nigeria who are genuinely trying to sell things – because the very mention of Nigeria in an ad is going to scare off most people.

    Anyway, good luck with sale. Hmmm, maybe I should sell my phone on eBay! ;)

  5. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Emrys: In my opinion, and it is totally my opinion because I have no facts, I believe the scammers aren’t actually Nigerian nor do they live in Nigeria (some may but most I don’t think so). If I was to guess I would say the shipping points in Nigeria are just “pit stops” from where the scammed merchandise is shipped to its final destination else where in the world.

  6. Ray

    So, Ashraf, how many scams have your succumbed to before finally learning the lesson of reading the fine print? Just kidding! But, good for you for reading the “fine print”. Actually all you really did was PAY ATTENTION and read a little. The ‘fine print’ may have been in black pixels on your screen, but just about any scam is relatively easy to spot. It is just that most people are stupid and lazy. I am not saying that there aren’t some really good scammers out there, but most scammers simply take advantage of the people’s gullibility. Gullibility is ignorance, and ignorance is no excuse.

  7. Emrys

    Here’s my idea: Run an ad in the Lagos newspaper offering a cash payment for used or unwanted motherboard CPUs for the purpose of recycling the gold in them. In a few days or weeks the Nigerian scam community of thieves will have stolen so many of each other’s processors they may never recover. Turn their greed against them!

  8. tg

    It’s people like that who make ebay/online transactions more trouble than they’re worth. Well done for spotting scam.

    There are some brilliant websites dedicated to the downfall of scammers, thescambaiter.com is probably the best. Some scammers have been baited a number of times. The general idea is that while they’re being baited, they don’t have time to scam people. From what I can gather, they end up paying all their hard-earned scam money on postage and packing for stuff like broken kitchen appliances and knackered old computers.