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3 eBay scams spreading like wildfire

3 eBay scams spreading like wildfire

Craigslist and Facebook aren't the only places where you have to watch out for scams. These days, the Internet is swarming with scammers who are hiding in the background, hoping you won't notice.

One place where you have to be extra careful is eBay. Like Craigslist, eBay is known as a place where you can find amazing deals - which also makes it an ideal platform for scammers, because deals that sound too good to be true are more difficult to spot.

Right now, there are three scary scams that are spreading on eBay. We want you to know about them.

1. No product, no refund

Fox 17 in West Michigan, recently shared the story of a man named Bob Masters, who was victimized by this scam. Masters was trying to find some unique tools when he stumbled across a listing from an eBay seller.

A few things seemed suspicious at first, but nothing seemed completely implausible. The posting said that the parts were located in China and would need to be shipped overseas. The parts were also listed at a steep discount that was well below their market value, which made Masters feel that he was getting a good deal when he was really being scammed.

Masters purchased the tools and waited for them to arrive, but when they never came he assumed they had been lost in shipping. It was then that he reached out to the seller, who offered to send Masters a replacement.

The replacement tools never arrived either, so Masters reached out to the seller again. At this point, he was told that he had been issued a refund and instructed to confirm the payment had arrived in his PayPal account. But the payment wasn't there.

The whole ordeal took months to play out with all of the back-and-forth between Masters and the seller. And by the time Masters realized he wasn't getting the tools, or his money back, it was too late for eBay to get involved either.

eBay does offer a 30-day money back guarantee, but that didn't help in this instance. PayPal has recently extended its time limit, allowing users up to six months to dispute a charge on their account. But this scam works because the scammers draw the process out. By the time you realize it's happening, those deadlines may have passed.

In the end, there was nothing Masters could do to reclaim the money he lost.

2. Nigerian shoppers

Deonte Ray's story was reported by Channel 2 News in Charleston, South Carolina. He was trying to sell his cellphone on eBay, and believed he'd found the perfect buyer in Nigeria. So, he sent his girlfriend, Rashaundra Miller down to the post office to send out the merchandise.

At the post office, a helpful teller named Debbie Poole caught on to what was happening. She saw that the package was being sent to Nigeria, and began to ask questions that other tellers probably wouldn't. She warned Miller that it was likely a scam, but Miller was hesitant to believe her.

Believing Poole was just being overly cautious, Miller called her boyfriend and asked that he verify that the payment had been made. When Ray checked his PayPal account, he saw that the funds were pending.

Pending and received are two very different things. This is what Poole pointed out to the couple. And with that in mind, Ray reached out to PayPal and confirmed no recent activity had taken place on his account.

Luckily, this scam was stopped before any money was lost. Had the package been shipped, the couple would have been out the cost of the phone, which was around $500.

But there may not always be someone like Poole around to tip you off when it looks like a scam. That's why you should always be on your toes, and avoid transactions with buyers or sellers that live out of the country.

3. Scalpers

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, similar scams are taking place in New York. In fact, the issue has become such a concern that Eric Schneiderman, the State attorney general, has become involved.

Schneiderman has gained a reputation for actively cracking down on outlandishly high ticket prices, and fraudulent ticket sales. In an effort to protect consumers, Schneiderman has even sent letters to eBay, asking that the company help to get this issue under control. eBay is viewed as essential in this effort, since the company also owns StubHub and Ticketmaster.

In this case, the scam is carried out by fraudulent ticket brokers who buy thousands of tickets to an event, then resell them at higher prices. The process is often automated, which means regular buyers may not even have a chance to purchase the tickets at their normal prices. Instead, a computer sweeps in, using thousands of different credit card numbers to work around purchasing caps made by the ticketing software.

To the ticketing software, these automated buyers look legitimate. But they're not. True brokers have several guidelines they have to follow, as well as licenses they must obtain to legally sell tickets to consumers. They're also expected to pay a $25,000 bond to cover any fraud claims by customers.

So, be careful if you're looking for tickets to an upcoming event. If it seems you're paying more than you should be, you could be buying from one of these automated brokers. Avoid this by purchasing your tickets from the venue directly.

SHARE THIS ALERT: Unfortunately, this sort of news doesn't always reach the people who need to see it until it's too late. Help keep your family and friends safe. Share this article with them now so they won't be taken by these new scams!

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