Be aware that phony bugaboo strollers and many other high priced auctions are found on ebay almost every day. An FBI press release states auction scams have increased to an alarming 62% of all internet crimes! My focus on bugaboos touches my heart by protecting excited mothers and fathers-to-be. Unfortunately, the con artists realize bugaboos are a big success, they are the most bid on scams on the top ten list. So we can count on phony, cheap bugaboo listings showing up, as long as there are excited parents dreaming of them for their babies.
Sadly, scam artists are preying on the parents who can't afford to lose money. I have received letters from mothers in tears, because they lost their entire savings trying to buy the best stroller for their baby. Please be careful!
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PRIVATE E-MAIL DANGERS: Con Artists are breaking into ebay accounts by stealing passwords and listing hundreds of phony items in them every day!
According to FBI reports, the culprits are usually in cyber cafes half a world away, pretending to hold auctions in stolen accounts.
They love to lure shoppers with ridiculously low prices. When you read the listings, however, they always request you write them privately to discuss a "buy-it-now" price (this is an obvious sign of a western union con). There is never a real "buy-it-now" ebay button to purchase the item in the listing.
Often, once you write them privately, you'll receive a phony "buy-it-now" EMAIL LINK that takes you to their own scam webserver. If you click on it, they will try to collect passwords, account info, etc. and rob you. At the very least, they will keep your passwords to hijack your ebay account and fill it with phony auctions.
The bottom line on scams...If a seller seems to be begging you to email privately, it is probably a stolen account. Scammers have to request western unions by private email, because ebay blocks it from listings. Using ebay's "Ask Seller a Question" link also alerts the real account owner to fraudulant activity.
If you copy the email address from the listing and paste it into an advanced search request, selecting "exact phrase," you will often find dozens of hijacked accounts using that same address! Scammers make a career of stealing passwords and hijacking ebay accounts to collect money, and leave the seller to deal with ripped off buyers.
I've found 10 accounts on the same day with the same email address, verified by ebay as stolen!
BEWARE OF SHORT AUCTIONS FOR EXPENSIVE ITEMS:Most scammers use one or two day auctions because they are using someone else's account through stolen passwords. They have to make quick sales before the account owner discovers them.
BEWARE OF "BUY NOW" OFFERS WITH NO "BUY-IT-NOW" EBAY BUTTON: a "buy now" offer is mentioned, but not through an ebay buy-it-now button. (this is a lure to a western union request) Scammers have to request western unions privately, because ebay doesn't allow them to post it in the auction. It's hard for them to accept paypal payments, they have to steal those passwords as well.
BEWARE OF HIDDEN BIDDER IDS:Sellers may be preventing others from warning bidders! If you see an auction that is a PRIVATE AUCTION- BE WARY- this is often times a ploy to hide the sale. Any reputable dealer will not HIDE behind a Private auction, and if you as a buyer wish to remain anonymous so you & your purchases are kept private, you can simply request a reputable seller to not give you feedback on the item.
Sellers that use your privacy as an excuse should not be trusted- they are the ones who are trying to hide. Private Auction listings not only hide the buyer's comment, but ALLOWS THE SELLER TO UP THE BID AMOUNT ON THEIR OWN AUCTION secretly by bidding on their own auction using another user profile. This is called "shill bidding." The practice is against ebay rules, but ebay does not actively seek out these activities, they only take action if the perpetrator is found out, and how is that possible when the bidders' id's are kept private?
IF YOU SEE THE SAME STOCK OR PERSONAL PICTURE SHOW UP MULTIPLE TIMES THIS IS A RED FLAG! Scammers study successful ads and steal photos.
NEVER AGREE TO "BUY IT NOW" DEALS THROUGH EMAIL CONVERSATIONS:Because transactions are done outside of ebay, negative feedback cannot be left to warn you...the sellers' feedback remains 100% positive. It gives unsuspecting buyers a false sense of security. Many of these suspects have stolen people's passwords and are using their accounts to sell, which is why they are only 24 hour or 2 day auctions. They have to work quickly before the account activity is discovered. If anyone uses the ASK SELLER A QUESTION link or BIDS ON THE AD, the account owner receives notifications from ebay and is alerted to the fraudulent activity. That is why they must tell you not to place a bid!!!! Just remember NEVER pay by Western Union ...UNFORTUNATELY THERE ARE DANGERS WITH PAYPAL TOO!!! Please read all the red flags to watch for and protect yourself!!!
A helpful addition from a fellow ebayer: As a former VP of Western Union and a person who was a part of a 5 member task force to computerize the Western Union Money Transfer System to what it is today I can positively state that I would never use Western Union to pay for any eBay purchase. For one thing, it is very expensive and secondly, as a matter of policy, Western Union assumes no liability as they position themselves as a third party uninterested party. While they pay my pension, anyone who uses Western Union for a ebay auction is a fool. It is a wonderful service for other purposes.
Western Union Fraud Investigations Department: Call 1-800-634-1311 and tell the customer service representative that you wish to report a fraud involving a Western Union money transfer.
ESCROWS INFORMATION FOR YOUR PROTECTION:If you are unsure of a seller, you may want to request using an escrow service. If the seller is legitimate, they shouldn't be afraid to use one. It does cost around $30, but a small price when you could lose $500 or more. You should only use Escrow.com (www.escrow.com), eBay's approved escrow service.
There are fraudulent escrow services, so use caution if a seller suggests using a service other than www.escrow.com. If your trading partner insists that you use a specific escrow service and will not accept www.escrow.com (or an eBay approved international escrow service for international transactions) as an alternative, please decline the transaction and report the seller or buyer to eBay.
To avoid being deceived by fraudulent emails, you should sign in to www.escrow.com to verify information you have received via email. Make sure you type the entire address (www.escrow.com). Do not let the browser auto-type the site address for you. It could auto-type a fraudulent address.
FAKE EMAIL LINKS TO EBAY AND PAYPAL: There are many cases of fake emails that appear to be from ebay or paypal that connect you to a scammer's website, so please NEVER click on an email link. It's worth a few extra seconds to type in the paypal web address yourself or use your own bookmark to get there. I fell for a fake link myself, it appeared to be completely authentic, until I noticed the "secure" site started with http instead of https (the s is for secure) and Paypal assured me I needed to change my password. I was very lucky, but many others weren't.
HERE ARE SOME FRAUDULENT (password-stealing) EMAIL EXAMPLES:
“We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account.
To ensure that your account is not compromised,
please click the link below and confirm your identity.”
“During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
After emailing a scammer, I received half a dozen phony emails like this: "You've just sent a payment to (blah blah) Click here to cancel the transaction." or "You've received an UNPAID ITEM STRIKE for ( some weird item)" and last but not least: "Buyer Complaint: You never shipped (another weird item) I'm reporting you to the local police! " (Clicking on Item No. sends you to scam website). There was even a phony link to report the mail to ebay security!
I changed the email address in my ebay account, so that any fraud ebay mail came to the wrong address. When you are using paypal and ebay frequently, it's dangerous to be opening mail that looks authentic, trying to convince you that you've sent payments to the wrong people!
Forward any suspicious ebay mail to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Have you received "phishy" email? It’s a scam called “phishing” — and it involves Internet fraudsters who send spam or pop-up messages "fishing" for personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information) from unsuspecting victims. Forward any "phishy" mail to "email@example.com."
If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply. And don’t click on the link in the message, either. Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization mentioned in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company’s correct Web address yourself. In any case, don’t cut and paste the link from the message into your Internet browser — phishers can make links look like they go to one place, but that actually send you to a different site.
Use anti-virus software and a firewall, and keep them up to date. Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge.
A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources. It’s especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection. Operating systems (like Windows or Linux) or browsers (like Internet Explorer or Netscape) also may offer free software “patches” to close holes in the system that hackers or phishers could exploit.
Don’t email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization’s website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for “secure”). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer’s security.
Many people aren't aware that legal claims can be made successfully outside of ebay against con artists...The problem when you've been the victim of a hijacking scam--you've paid by western union or bank wire transfer and can't file an ebay complaint. If your transaction doesn't show up in "My Ebay" as "Item Won" you will not be helped by ebay. If you've paid a scammer by paypal, which happens occasionally when paypal accounts are hijacked...Here are some typical problems you can expect when filing claims on paypal and ebay...This is directly from Paypal's website: PAYPAL will reimburse you a percentage of your loss ONLY IF IT CAN BE COLLECTED FROM THE SELLER. "Even if the buyer’s claim is justified, the buyer will receive a recovery only if there are funds in the seller’s account. RECOVERY OF YOUR CLAIM IS NOT GUARANTEED." If the account is hijacked, obviously paypal payments can't be collected from the seller.
Listed Below is Ebay's standard coverage plan, ONLY IF it can be collected from the seller's account....
MAXIMUM COVERAGE: You'll be reimbursed up to a maximum of $200 (less $25 to cover processing costs).
If the item price is $500, you're eligible to receive $175.
If the item price is $100, you're eligible to receive $75.
If the item price is $26, you're eligible to receive $1.
The maximum reimbursement for any claim is $175.
Even if you're involved in a normal, binding transaction, these figures aren't exciting...so please arm yourself with information against cyber crime!
Don't let it go! Get the scam documented with authorities if nothing more than for future reference, in case this person's name comes up again with Police...authorities will have a history, and can build a better case.
CALL YOUR COUNTY SHERIFF: I was able to collect stolen money from scammers through a local detective, and contacting the scammer's local police dept., when I wasn't satisfied with paypal's protection ($175 Maximum Coverage). This crime needs to be reported locally, because it occured in your home, on your computer. Call your police dept. and ask that they send an officer to your home to fill out a report. Print out copies of any email you received from the scammer, selecting "show full header" in your email options. This information can help police track the criminals. If you know the location of the scammer, call the police dept. of that state also, and explain the situation, giving any evidence you can over the phone. Offer to fax any evidence. Please keep any emails with full headers and any other information you collect from the scammer...ebay i.d.s, etc.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP CATCH THESE CRIMINALS: Your involvement will keep someone else from being scammed...ebay does NOT prosecute!
WESTERN UNION FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS DEPT: Call 1-800-634-1311 and tell the customer service representative that you wish to report a fraud involving a Western Union money transfer.
INTERNET CRIME COMPLAINT CENTER (IC3):
File a Complaint: http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).
IC3's mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime.
NATIONAL FRAUD INFORMATION CENTER (or NFIC):
Questions or Complaints: 1-800-876-7060
ONLINE INCIDENT REPORT FORM:
The best way to report possible fraud to the NFIC is by calling our toll-free number, 1-800-876-7060, so that our counselors can ask for the information we need.
If you want to write to the NFIC, the address is:
National Fraud Information Center
PO Box 65868
Washington, DC 20035
If you are mailing information to the NFIC, do not include the originals of any materials. You may need them later. Please send photocopies.
Taken directly from the Internet Crime Center on Recent Schemes:
AUCTION FRAUD - Romania
Auction fraud is the most prevalent of Internet crimes associated with Romania. The subjects have saturated the Internet auctions and offer almost every in-demand product. The subjects have also become more flexible, allowing victims to send half the funds now, and the other half when the item arrives.
The auctions are often posted as if the seller is a United States citizen, then the subject advises the victim to send the money to a business partner, associate, sick relative, a family member, etc., usually in a European country.
The most recent trend is a large increase in bank-to-bank wire transfers. Most significantly, these wire transfers go through large United States banks and are then routed to Bucharest, Romania or Riga, Latvia.
Similarly, the sellers also occasionally direct the victims to pay using phony escrow services. Sometimes actual escrow websites are compromised and other sites resembling them are created by the subjects. Once the funds are wire transferred to the escrow website, the seller discontinues contact.
FILING COMPLAINTS TO ROMANIAN CYBER CRIME CENTER: eFrauda is offered to provide a method for romanian citizens and from abroad to promptly and directly communicate their complaints to romanian government agencies that are interested in investigating and taking action against internet fraud that is reported.
WEBSITE: (copy and paste in browser)
Very important: Please print the emails received from the subject with full header in order to identify the IP addresses he used.
SEARCH FOR THE SCAMMER: Try to protect other unsuspecting victims. Using advanced search, type in key words from your winning listing, such as the private email address or phrase used (ex: Before bid, contact me) select "exact phrase" in "description" of search...if you find another fraudulant ad,
scroll to the bottom of the listing page....
select report this ad
select Fraudulant listing
select I suspect this listing is fraudulant but didn't bid
select email customer support and write something like "Hijacked Seller's Account"
Get the scammer's personal email cancelled by reporting it to the server. Go to: www.abuse.net/lookup.phtml. For example, gmail complaints should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Even though criminals change their email frequently, It may save a few buyers from getting scammed when their email questions are returned undeliverable.
PROTECT YOURSELF WITH INFORMATION BEFORE BIDDING, EVEN WITH PAYPAL! When unsure of a seller's legitimacy, be sure to ask questions that could only be answered by checking the specific item! Be creative! If you get a reply that the unit is in another location, etc. and can't be looked at, BEWARE!
a prayer for your protection:
Psalm 17:7: Lord...Your love is wonderful,
By your power you save those who trust you
from their enemies.
Protect me as you would protect your own eye.
Hide me under the shadow of your wings.
Keep me from the wicked who attack me...