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7 Common eBay Scams

7 Common eBay Scams

Fearing eBay scams may make you avoid using a perfectly safe platform to prevent losing your money. Don’t worry! Learning to recognize the 7 most common eBay scams can help you stay away from suspicious sellers and buyers. In the event someone does try to trick you, you’ll know exactly what they’re doing and how to get your money back!

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1. Faked issue with receiving the item

If you are selling items on eBay, keep an eye out for a few of these common scams from buyers.

The buyer may claim that you sent an empty box, thus accusing you of fraud. They may also say that you sent a broken item – pictures of a broken replica may even be provided to eBay! Finally, the scammer may just say that they felt something was off with the transaction and cancel it, which leaves you with an undeserved chargeback fee that’s a pain to dispute.

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2. Offers to pay outside of eBay

Be wary of anyone offering to pay you outside of eBay’s approved payment channels, even if they say they want to avoid transaction fees. They may accept your shipped item, then never actually pay or instead tell eBay that you put up a fraudulent listing.

3. Changing the shipping address

You should never accept the standard offer of an overpayment, which seems like a generous move on the account of the buyer – until they give you a fraudulent check. Changing the shipping address is a modern version of the overpayment.

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The scammer may purchase what you are selling for more than you listed, saying that it’s to cover additional shipping costs. They might say that they need to suddenly ship it to a different country. The scammer will then ask for your PayPal email address. The scammer will then contact you while pretending to be from PayPal, asking for your postal tracking numbers and saying that you will be paid once you can prove you have sent the item.

4. Writing the wrong name

The eBay transaction may be successfully completed, but the scammer you have bought an item from will intentionally write the wrong name when they send you the package. Your correct address will be there, but the scammer is counting on you only seeing the wrong name and thinking that you received someone else’s package.

In these types of eBay scams, the scammer anticipates that you will return the package or take it back to the post office, thinking that it was meant for someone else. The transaction is then listed as refused or returned on eBay, which means the scammer gets the product they sold you back as well as the payment.

By Unsplash user John Schnobrich. A group of people all collectively point at a laptop screen.
By Unsplash user John Schnobrich.

5. Non-delivery scam

Beware if you’re buying one of the items on the list below! These items are not covered by eBay’s money-back guarantee, which means that the scammer can accept your payment, never send the item, and leave you without a way to get your money back through eBay.

  • Websites or businesses for sale
  • Some categories of business equipment
  • Classified ads
  • Real estate
  • Services
  • Vehicles
  • Items sold by Sotheby’s

6. Fake customer service call

These types of eBay scams will have the scammer list a fake eBay customer service number on their product page or profile. The scammer will either send you the wrong item or won’t send your product at all.

They want you to accidentally call the fake number so that they can pretend to be customer service and try to get your money, login credentials, credit card information, or other sensitive information. They might even ask you for your bank account information so that they can process a refund.

7. Gift card scams

If you use eBay gift cards or other types of gift cards, beware of scammers calling you, emailing you, or reaching out via social media. They might offer a limited-time only discount to make you feel like you have to act now. They will then ask for your gift card number to use as payment for the service, only to steal the code and use it for themselves.

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What are some general tips for avoiding eBay scams?

  • Use eBay’s official channels to communicate and complete transactions. If you talk through another website or arrange to pay for the item via Venmo, eBay may not be able to help you if you are scammed since they cannot see the full transaction from start to finish.
  • Document everything. Take photos of the packing, posting, and tracking numbers. Additionally, if the item contains a serial number or unique code, keep track of that as well.
  • Protect yourself by making proper arrangements. If you’re sending a package, always ensure there is a tracking number. If you’re selling an expensive item, arrange for signature on delivery.
  • If you’re buying an item, check to see whether it’s a stock photo used by other listers. If the seller won’t send you other pictures or information about the item, it’s likely to be a scam.
  • Compare the price. If the item is cheaper than it should be for no apparent reason, it might be a scam.
  • Always be sure to check the reviews and feedback. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Looking into the seller’s profile can help give you some insight as well.
  • Check whether the item you’re looking to purchase is within the money-back guarantee guidelines.
  • Always read the listing thoroughly. Read the title and description to ensure that the PS5 you’re buying isn’t actually listed as a PS5 box. eBay will then be unable to help you, since the information was listed within the title and description.
  • Do not accept checks as payment. They are the one of the most common ways scammers steal from you. If you do accept a check, wait for two or three weeks for it to clear and be verified by the bank. Do not ship your item to the buyer until the check has been verified. It is best to stick with approved eBay payment methods.

What should I do if my money was stolen through eBay scams?

If you have been scammed, eBay’s security center page walks you through how to file a police report as well as how to report the fraudulent seller or buyer to eBay.

You should also be able to dispute a chargeback with your bank or look into eBay’s money-back guarantee policy. Make sure that you have gathered proof of the fraud or scam as well.

How else can Low Income Relief help?

Here’s some resources that might interest you!

Learn about benefits, discounts, saving money, and getting free stuff at our Low Income Relief YouTube channel! It’s perfect for people who prefer watching over reading!

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As a third-year English major with years of researching and writing experience, Chloe uses her experience and her passion for helping others to help you get the financial aid you deserve.