eBay, one of the great survivors of the original dot-com bubble, and a marvellous forum to buy and sell for masses of Khaos Control Cloud users, is not without its dangers. For lurking in the marketplace’s bowels are the scammers – nefarious users looking to swindle the innocent of their hard-earned cash. In this post, we’ll cover how they prise you of your money and what you can do to protect yourself. To prevent becoming another victim.
There are two ways of looking at this – from the point of view of buyers and sellers, and it’s this which’ll dictate this post’s structure. Allowing you to pinpoint what matters most, based on your eBay experience.
Without further ado, let’s crack on.
eBay scams – buyer’s point of view
From this side of your online transaction, you’re surrendering money to an unknown seller in exchange for a good or service, so the risk lies with them failing to live up to their promise. To, in other words, deliver what they say they’re going to deliver despite taking your cash.
This plays out in several ways. Firstly, scam sellers simply take your cash and never post your order, meaning the basis of their sale was fraudulent – that they never had the product you wanted nor the intention of fulfilling it.
Not sending your order outright is eBay fraud expressed in its bluntest form. More elaborate scammers seek to cast doubt on their guilt. To do this they might claim they got your name wrong accidentally, resulting in a delivery that never arrives, or send an empty box which, upon arrival, they can say was tampered with.
In any case, a healthy dose of scepticism and common sense serves to cut through most of their excuses – delivery services, for instance, have little incentive to tarnish their names by losing items. Ephemeral eBay users in contrast, operating under false names and sometimes half a world away, have little to lose by playing dirty.
Fortunately, employees at eBay’s dispute resolution division are trained to think along just the right sceptical and common sense lines to detect deception, and deploy their Money Back Guarantee to reimburse you within eight days of the offending sale should they rule on your side.
eBay scams – seller’s point of view
The tables turn somewhat as a seller. Scams you may legitimately fall foul of as a buyer – non-delivery and a product not being as described may be accusations falsely turned against you, all in a bid to extort a refund. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the more frequent seller scams. As noted, there’s a definite class of criminal activity that mimics legitimate complaints. For these, where the fraudster alleges your product’s broken, was lost, or not as described, your best port of call is, again, eBay’s dispute resolution division, trained as they are to get to the truth.
Then there’s overpayment scams. Here the fraudster claims they overpaid for your product and specifies an account so you can wire them the difference. What to note here is that you can discount these kinds of appeals immediately on face value – with modern payment systems being what they are, there is no way that overpayment can occur. That this scam’s easy to spot is just as well – were you to follow your buyer’s instructions and wire them money often, because it leaves the UK’s shores, it’ll be the last you’ll see of it.
Remain vigilant with fake emails
As ever, it also pays to be vigilant of fake eBay emails, whether you’re buying or selling on the site. Cleverly posing as prompts to change your password, or simply to log in to your account to view a sale or purchase, these doppelgänger mails aim to fool you into giving up your personal information, all with the aim of making money from you – be it indirectly from selling it on or directly by mounting an assault on your bank account.
To avoid becoming yet another victim, all it requires is setting a high barrier of scepticism. If an email looks suspicious, or is generally unexpected, odds are it was sent without your best interest in mind.
And as a rule of thumb, rather than following links from emails, it’s better to log in to eBay separately, looking out for the ‘s’ in the ‘https’ aspect of its URL as this indicates it has the right security certificate and that your data will be transmitted to the right site safely. This will also help prevent the accidental install of malware.
Taking you to new heights
No doubt, eBay remains a great place online to grow your eCommerce empire, despite the bad eggs. All it takes is to know what to look out for and to stay smart. Looking to take your business to new heights? We find many out there making a good go of selling across multiple channels, from Amazon to eBay, but whose juggling of these different accounts is holding them back.