eBay Scams Or How To Stay Safe On eBay

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“Your eBay account has been suspended because of suspicious activity”, states the title of the email. How can that be? I don’t do anything malicious or against eBay’s terms and conditions. Don’t panic! There’s a link in the email that will let you log in and verify all of your personal information. You’ve just helped keep eBay and your account safe.

Don’t click that link. Someone wants to steal your personal information. The online auction giant has long been a magnet for scammers trying to steal personal data. Click the link in the email and you might be throwing your reputation and money to the lions.

Attempts to steal your identity are becoming ever more sophisticated. Clever scammers are constantly inventing new ways to rip off your accounts. There’s no way you can keep up with them and stay safe. Or, is there? Here are just a few examples of how you can prevent your eBay accounts from being dragged through the mud.

Avoid The Email Scams

The first thing you have need to do is see if that message really is from eBay. The simplest way to do this is by looking at the URL of the reply link. To do this simply hover your mouse button over the reply link to find out. Here’s an example of one that dropped into my inbox the other day:

Notice the link says ‘by clicking here’ but in the toolbar it shows another address (see below). Delete it now.


Tip: If you’re unsure, don’t tempted to click the link. Scammers typically using tracking software. When you click on the link, they get a notification. This shows them that you’re email address is alive and active which will result in an avalanche of spam and phishing emails being sent your way.

Don’t Use Your Email Address As Your Account Name

Using your email address as your eBay account name makes life so much simpler. It’s easy to remember. Whist you’re at it, why not use the same password? Let’s make it even easier for your account to be ripped off by using an insecure webmail account.

eBay is being monitored by malicious users every single second of the day. They’re looking for user account details that can be tied to an email address. Once they have that information they can, in theory, use software to capture a username and password combination that you use to login to your email.

Paypal Really Is Your Friend

The most sensible thing you can do is to use Paypal for all your online auction transactions as the service is owned by eBay. If you have an issue with anything you buy and the seller isn’t responding then open a dispute with Paypal. Most important of all, don’t use third party payment systems such as Western Union as it’s difficult to track where your money has gone.

Paypal insures you for up to £500 if any of your goods are lost in the post or damaged. This only applies to sellers that have Buyer Protection blue shield showing against their account. See the pretty picture below:

eBay Buyer Protection


Will Paypal Help If The Goods I Buy Are Stolen?

In the event that you open a dispute, you can normally get your money back but it’s not always guaranteed. Smart phones and electronics are the biggest targets for thieves. If you’re going to be paying a lot of money for a mobile it’s well worth using a service such as www.checkmend.com/uk or http://www.immobilise.com/. Ask the seller to give you the EMEI number of the handset and run a check through this site. If they refuse – run for the hills!

One Day Listing Bidding frenzy!

Selling stolen mobile phones is highly profitable but many scammers now realise there are services available to help keep the buyer safe. So how do they get you to buy now? One day listings. By creating a sense of urgency they force the shopper to make a snap decision. As you a savvy shopper you probably already know this but here are a few words of advice that might save you some money: Stop, look and check.

If you don’t feel that you have time to check the goods against a database of stolen items then 5 minutes research might save the day.

Tips: Look at the sellers profile. How old is it? If it’s only a few days old then it might be worth looking elsewhere.

Look at the feedback. Does the seller have almost no or very poor feedback? If so, move along.

Email the user and ask them a few, in-depth questions. Do they reply to you? If not, move along. Are the answers they provide vague or do they smell a little fishy? You’ve guessed; move along.

5 tips to keep you safe on eBay. Can you think of anymore? Let me know and I’ll add to this post. Even better, why not email me with a post and I’ll add it to the blog (with a link back to your website).

One last snippet of info you might be interested in: according to Which, the London Met Police deals with 130 eBay related crimes per month. Don’t be a statistic. Check back soon for more money saving tips.

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