These scams are targeted against unsuspecting eBay sellers. Many of the scams take advantage of sellers not knowing all the rules for safe trading on eBay. It is very important for a seller to completely understand PayPal’s seller protection program. Familiarize yourself with the scams listed below. You don’t want to be the next victim of an eBay scammer.
Examining the buyer’s feedback may not reveal any clues about the intent of the buyer. Building strong feedback isn’t as important for buyers as it is for sellers. Many legitimate buyers have a feedback score of less than 5. Take a look at the buying pattern of the buyer. If they have bought similar or related items in the past, then the buyer is most likely legitimate.
On the other hand, if they have only bought a few really cheap items in the past and all of a sudden they are buying a very expensive item, be very careful. You can’t distinguish between a scammer and a legitimate buyer when the feedback is low. Follow all the procedures to the letter. If the buyer behaves suspiciously and won’t confirm the shipping address, refund the payment, file a non-paying bidder alert and relist the item.
Item Not Received Scam
Scammers often prey on newbie sellers that don’t understand the rules of using PayPal. Many new sellers don’t know about delivery confirmation. The scammer will use PayPal to pay for the item and wait for it to be delivered. Once the package arrives, the scammer will check if delivery confirmation was used. If it was, then you are safe and the scammer and will try to find another victim.
However, if delivery confirmation is not used, the scammer will open a dispute with PayPal and claim the item was not received. Unable to show proof of delivery, PayPal takes the funds out of the seller’s account and returns it to the scammer. There is nothing the seller can do other than learn a hard lesson.
To prevent this type of scam from occurring, clearly state delivery confirmation will be used in the item listing. This will prevent scammers from bidding on your items in the first place. Shipments using UPS, FedEx, and DHL automatically come with delivery confirmation. You must add delivery confirmation for packages shipped by USPS. Keep the delivery confirmation number for at least 45 days after the payment was received. This is the time limit for buyers to initiate claims against sellers.
Over $250 PayPal Scam
This scam is similar to the “item not received” scam. Again, the scammer will use PayPal to pay for the item and wait for it to be delivered. The difference is the item sells for $250 or more. When the package arrives, the scammer will check if signature confirmation was used. If so, the scammer will leave the seller alone and move on.
If not, the scammer will open a dispute with PayPal and claim the item was not received. Even if the seller used delivery confirmation and can show the item was delivered, it will not help. Without proof of delivery using signature confirmation for items $250 or more, PayPal will take the funds out of the seller’s account and return it to the scammer. This is an extremely hard lesson to learn as the item may have been quite valuable.
This exact scam happened to me. I sold an item for $254 to a scammer using delivery confirmation. The scammer claimed to PayPal the item never arrived. I was able to show proof of delivery with delivery confirmation. I pointed out the buyer had bad feedback and similar issues with other sellers. I mentioned the item was only $4 over the $250 limit. None of it worked. PayPal took the money from my account and gave it back to the scammer. I learned a hard lesson.
To protect yourself from this scam, always use signature confirmation for items that sell for $250 or more when PayPal is used. Add an extra $5 to the handling fee to cover the extra cost of using signature confirmation if you know your item will sell for over $250. Pay for the signature confirmation out of your own pocket if necessary.
Credit Card Chargeback Scam
PayPal allows buyers to fund their purchases with a credit card. This is very convenient for buyers, but opens the door to fraud for sellers. If the credit card being used is stolen or the buyer initiates a chargeback, the credit card company will take the money back from PayPal. Whether PayPal takes the money from the seller’s account depends if the purchase is eligible for PayPal’s seller protection policy.
To be eligible, the seller must ship to the buyer’s confirmed shipping address. Unfortunately, many legitimate buyers have not taken the time to confirm their shipping address with PayPal. It is not worth the hassle of convincing buyers of inexpensive items to confirm their shipping address. Scammers don’t usually bother with these types of items and I have not had any problems with this approach so far. However, for expensive items, clearly state you will only ship to confirmed shipping addresses in your listing. Don’t make any exceptions. The stakes are too high to risk a chargeback.
Fake Money Order / Cashier’s Check Scam
Money orders and cashier’s checks used to be considered as good as cash. Not anymore. The proliferation of high quality counterfeit money orders and cashier’s checks has put an end to that. Don’t be fooled if your bank accepts the counterfeit and credits your account. If it turns out to be a fake, the bank with take the money back out of your account. Bank tellers are not experts at spotting fakes and it could take weeks before the bank finally discovers that it is a counterfeit.
This scam generally comes in two flavors. The dollar amount on the money order is for the exact purchase price, or dollar amount could also be in excess of the purchase price. In the latter case, the scammer will want you to refund the difference between the amount on the money order and the purchase price. Don’t fall for this. Whenever someone wants you to refund money for a money order or cashier’s check, it is always a scam. Scammers will try all sorts of trick to get you to comply. The people who fall for this scam get greedy as they are led to believe that they can keep a large portion of the money order. Often, these types of scams are perpetrated by people in foreign countries. Be on your guard when dealing with international buyers.
Send UPS / FedEx / DHL Truck To Pick Up The Item Scam
Some scammers try to trick the seller into shipping the item before it has been paid for. What the scammers do is arranged for a shipper like UPS go to the seller’s location to pick up the item. If the person that greets the UPS driver is unaware that the item has not been paid for, they may actually hand over the package. Once the item has been picked up, there is no way to stop the package from being delivered to the scammer. This scam relies on confusion at the seller’s premises to work. Since the scammer does pay for the shipping, this scam is typically attempted on expensive items.
Someone tried to pull this scam on us by sending over a FedEx truck to pick up some expensive electronics that we were selling. Luckily we knew that the item was not paid for and we sent the FedEx driver away and relisted the item. What we should have done was to give the driver a big oversized box of bricks. This would have cost the scammer some good money to ship the bricks back to him.
Buyer Requests Shipping to Different Address Scam
This scam usually occurs when an innocent victim’s PayPal account has been hijacked. The scammer will not change the hijacked account’s shipping address as this will send an email to the true account holder. Instead, the scammer will try to convince a seller to ship the item to a different address which is often in another country. Typically the scammer will claim that he is moving or that the item is for a friend. Don’t fall for any stories. Ship your items only to the confirmed address. If the buyer want to ship to a different address, insist that the buyer change the shipping address on their PayPal account to where they want it shipped and reconfirmed it. Otherwise you will be liable if a chargeback occurs.
You Have Been Chosen To Sell Our Products Scam
An unsolicited email will be sent to your eBay account. The email will compliment you on your great positive feedback and state that you have been selected to be an exclusive seller of some fancy products. All you have to do is list the items for sale on your account. When you receive payment, you keep a portion and send the rest to them. Then they will ship the product to the buyer. It sounds like a perfect drop ship opportunity. Yes, perfect for the scammer.
Of course, after you send the money to the scammer, they won’t send anything to the buyer. This means that you will be left holding the bag when the buyer demands their money back. The best thing to do is delete all unsolicited emails offering you an “opportunity” to sell exclusive products.
Blame The Shipper For Damaged Item Scam
A scammer will have a broken or damaged item that he wants replaced for free. The scammer will search for an eBay seller selling exactly the same item and offering shipping insurance. After the item is received, the scammer will switch the unbroken item for the bad one and claim it has been damaged.
If the shipper grants the insurance claim, the scammer will get his item replaced for free. If the insurance claim is denied (because there is no damage to the box and the scammer forgot to smash it), the scammer will have the credit card company reverse the charges. If the purchase was eligible for seller’s protection, then you will be protected and PayPal will eat the loss. Otherwise, PayPal will take the money from your account. This is a tricky area as PayPal will not cover claims of shipping damage.
You can protect yourself from this scam by taking pictures of serial numbers or other unique identifying features. Be sure to include them in your listing. Scammers will avoid listings that can prove the item has been switched.
“When you have the choice to be right or be kind, always choose being kind.”—Wayne Dyer