The Compete Encyclopedia of EBay Frauds, Scams, Cons, rip-offs and Other Crimes

Part 3: What to do if you have already become the victim of EBay Crime


Here is the third and final installment of our feature on eBay crime. I want to offer some help and suggestions to those who have already become a victim. If you have not yet been taken, that's a good thing. Even if you are not a victim, reading this page will still help you learn useful skills and techniques of dealing with these problems.

If you’ve become the victim of eBay crime, let us know about it! Don’t let the criminals hide in the shadows - let us know. We will get the word out so others can know and be protected. We intend to publish a page of crimes right here, featuring your experiences, and we'll do out best to make eBay stand up and take notice. Send us an email and describe what happened to you at:       Part 4 of this series, when it is ready, will be those eBay Horror stories.

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What to do if you've already become a victim of criminals on EBay:

Well what if you came upon this feature article series just a bit too late, and you've already become the victim of an eBay crime.  What should you do?  How should you handle it?  Here are some suggestions for dealing with various situations:

1. If you've just signed on and realized you were taken in by a Phishing email:  The key to realizing that you've just been had by this trick is that at the end of signing in process, the script of this email with just dump you out someplace that you were not expecting to be (since they are not really eBay, they wont take you onto eBay's secure pages). Sometimes it takes these criminals a bit of time to sort through what they have gotten back from their waves of spam phishing attacks. You will have a short time - maybe an hour up to possibly a day until they get around to actually using your information to steal your account. During that interval you will need to log in yourself on eBay and change your password before they access your account. Do it now and don't delay - you may be able to save yourself a big headache. If they have already stolen it, contact eBay and see if you can get it back.

2. Report any Fraud youíve experienced to eBay.  EBay used to make it just about impossible to report fraud, in fact, in the old days it was just about impossible to contact anybody at eBay for any reason.  They have changed this in recent years and now reporting fraud is much easier. Someone has to do it to protect the rest of the eBay community.  You may be the first in line, so report that fraud and protect those who come after you.

3.  If the fraud is of significant value, report it to you police department:  Honestly, the police are probably not interested if you've been ripped off for $30 on eBay. But if you have lost a significant amount of money, they should be interested.

4.  If you've paid by Paypal, file to get you money back:  There is process for getting your money back through paypal, and they can force the seller to refund your money, even if he is unwilling. This is why I strongly urge folks to pay by paypal. This refund process does take time, so contact paypal and start the process promptly if there are any problems with the sale, delivery or quality of your product. If your seller is honest and legitimate, you will get a refund, and there will be no mark against his file if things are fairly resolved and properly taken care of.

5.  If you are concerned you wont get your merchandise or its not what you expected, contact eBay:  EBay has a "not as described" procedure for getting your money back. You should file this promptly as soon as you either think you will not get your merchandise or you get it but it is not what you thought you would receive. Don't wait, as the process requires time, and they only give you 45 days to file. Again, if your seller is honest and legitimate, you will get a refund, and there will be no mark against his file if things are properly taken care of. All businesses have goods returned for one reason or another. It is important as the byer to move promptly to start the process and get things going, because if it is a situation of fraud, and eBay gets notified of a number of problems with a certain seller, the seller will be banned from the site, so no one else can be taken.


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So Why doesn’t eBay do more to control the crime on its site?
Well, of course Iím not a representative for eBay, so these thoughts are just my own personal conjecture and opinion, but I have been a registered user on eBay for many years and I think I can offer some well-educated speculation.


1. Ebay wants to protect itself from liability.
EBay does not and cannot fully control the actions of its buyers and sellers. EBay sees itself as a site for others to come and do business, buying and selling. They provide the site, but they do not check or verify anything. This is necessary from a tax as well as a liability perspective.  

2. A serious effort to protect users would cost money and cut into profits.
While this sounds very cynical, it definitely contains a large measure of truth. Having a serious program that would ensure that only real and verified individuals over 18 years of age could sell on eBay would result a huge reduction of eBay crime. Yet it would also slightly reduce the number of legitimate sellers (and I do mean only very slightly). Yet that is enough that they are willing to risk your loss and not deal with the problem.

3. In their view, the problem is yours not theirs.
EBay makes very strong efforts to insure that they as a company are not taken, and that they get all the fees due them. However, since they view criminal sellers on eBay as your problem and not theirs, a serious effort to deal with criminal sellers is unnecessary. This perspective is incredibly short sighted on their part. In the long run, providing a safe and reliable place to do business is their only business Ė in fact itís all they have to offer. So if eBay acquires a reputation as a den of thieves or a dangerous place where con men abound, itís the end of the line for  their business. Credit card companies issue millions of credit cards and do not have one thousandth of the problem with fake identities that eBay does, because they make a sincere effort to reduce false identity crime. EBay does not make any similar effort because they are not all that concerned about this issue. Perhaps someday they will realize their myopia about crime on their site, but once youíve acquired a bad  reputation, its just about impossible to get rid of it.

So what will happen to eBay in the long run?
EBay would do well to consider the Pike Public Market in Seattle. While they do no live auctions, there are many small businesses selling all sorts of things from fresh fish to gold and silver jewelry. Thousands of tourists and a good number locals flock to the site to do business. Things are neat and clean and safe. What do you think would happen if things changed and a significant number of armed crooks, thugs and other criminals started hanging out at the Pike Public Market? What if there were multiple crimes committed every hour of every day, and yet the police and city fathers looked the other way and did nothing about it? What if 1% of all the transactions at the Pike Market were people being robbed? The result would be that the market would gain a reputation as a dangerous place, not unlike many inner-city areas in our large cities. The tourists and locals would disappear and the place would take on the appearance of a burned out shell, also not unlike many inner-city areas. Remember that these same inner-city locations were also once areas of thriving business as well. If EBay fails to maintain a safe and secure place to do business, and gains a reputation as a safe harbor for thieves (which it is slowly getting that status), then it will loose large amounts of business, which likely will never return. If EBay does not get its act together, becoming a business “dead zone” may well be their future.  Providing a safe place to conduct business should be the one most important job at eBay, but instead, their chief focus is, and will likely remain, futile efforts to prop up the falling price of their stock shares.    
All of this said, eBay is still a great place to do business, and without question there are many bargains and good prices. Unusual things you just cant find anywhere else can be purchased on eBay. I have done business there for years selling my gemstones and jewelry and I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. However, anyone buying or selling on eBay needs to be very careful and aware of the full range of potential problems. As it used to be said on a popular TV show - “Be careful out there”.


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This is an extremely serious topic, but in spite of that, I'd like to finish off our coverage of the subject with a very low quality poem - one meant to make an impression. Here is my little piece of doggerel PO-8-TREE. 


Losing Big On Ebay
      By Chris Ralph

You sought Ebay to find a deal,
You’d spend your cash, you’d get a steal.

Nuggets made of solid gold,
Antiques that were very old.

Gemstones fine and very rare,
All for prices cheap as air.

But then the truth it came to light,
Reality was set to right.

Your nuggets they were made of brass,
Your antiques: fakes, your gemstones, glass.

Your iPod never saw the mail,
Your seller should have gone to jail.

What happened to your Ebay cash?
You had a dream, but lost your ass *

* does not really rhyme, but is sure gets the point across!
I hope you enjoyed my little piece of doggerel, it's intended as just a little bit of lighthearted humor about a subject that's very serious and discouraging. Its something even Dr. Seuss would be ashamed of.  I hope you will take the information on this site to heart and use it to keep yourself safe when making all those great bargain purchases on eBay. Be Careful Out There!


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Here are the other parts of our three part feature article on how to make safe and secure purchases on eBay. To Learn more select one of the articles below:

" Page 1: 10 Common Scams, Cons, Frauds and Rip-offs on EBay "

" Page 2: 10 Important techniques to protect yourself from criminals on EBay "

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