Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

Scams Aimed at eBay Sellers

There are quite a few ways people try to scam eBay sellers. These include phishing - (also called spoofing), counterfeit payments, fake escrow services, switching products, and extortion.

We'll talk about the blatant scams first.

Phishing -- spelled P H I S H -- is when a scammer sends a spoof email in order to steal an eBay or PayPal account so he can use it to scam others. The spoof email looks like an official eBay email, but leads to fake but incredibly authentic-looking login pages on other sites. Three examples of phishing emails are:

Protecting Yourself From Phishing Emails

By learning to spot and avoid spoof emails, you can protect yourself from phishers out to steal your accounts. Here are four ways to protect yourself:

  • Spot: Check URL to ensure it's from a real site. (See instructions on spoof example pages.)
  • Spot: Forward emails to spoof@ebay.com or spoof@paypal.com for confirmation
  • Avoid: Always log in to eBay and PayPal from a bookmark or by typing the URL into your browser's address bar.
  • Avoid: Reply to questions from your eBay Me Page, or by email. Any real questions or messages will create a YOU HAVE NEW MESSAGES alert to appear near the top of the page on both PayPal and eBay

Common eBay Payment Scams

While counterfeit money orders and cashier's checks aren't as common as email spoofs, they are the most common examples of payment scams. A few types of payment scams are:

Counterfeit Money Orders: Usually these are for amounts higher than what is due, and the buyer asks for a partial refund by wire transfer. Less commonly, they are just fake checks designed to get you to ship an item. Protect yourself by never shipping items until checks clear. If the check is for hundreds or thousands of dollars more than the selling price, just throw it out.

Fake Payment Approval Emails: (More common with BidPay and money order services, but also seen with PayPal.) Protect yourself by waiting for checks to arrive and clear.

For PayPal notices log in to PayPal directly from your browser to confirm the payment. (You can also see PayPal payments on your "My eBay Items I'm Selling" page.)

Fake Escrow Services: This is where a buyer has you ship to an escrow service. He supposedly sends them payment and they forward it to you. Because the service is fake, you ship the item and never get paid. Don't use any escrow service not recognized by eBay. Link to eBay-approved escrow services.

Two Other Ways Buyers Take Advantage Of eBay Sellers

The most common way buyers try to take advantage of sellers is through Feedback Extortion. In this scam, a buyer threatens negative feedback unless the seller provides a partial refund. You can avoid this by communicating with the buyer through the eBay invoice system. If you get a buyer doing this, report him to eBay and he'll be prevented from leaving you feedback or filing a buyer protection case against you.

A variation of feedback extortion is The Negotiator. This buyer finds something wrong with your item then asks for a partial refund. Negotiators tend to get a lot of negative feedback and usually have a low number of feedbacks because they use multiple eBay accounts.

I don't give partial refunds unless I made a mistake, and I almost never do if the buyer asks in his first email. I always POLITELY tell unhappy buyers to send the item back and I will refund the everything including shipping both ways. For some polite buyers, or where I've made a mistake, I'll do a partial refund up to the shipping cost, but allow the buyer to keep the item in question.

A last way buyers try to take advantage of eBay sellers is by switching items and then returning them. A variation is removing parts before returning items. Both of these scams are less common than sellers think.

In order to avoid switching and parts removal, take good pictures of the items you sell so you can compare returned items with your pictures. If you feel this could happen to you, mark items inconspicuously with a black light pen. (Sanford #12100 is available in most office supply stores.)


Other links relating to phishing and scams:

An Example Of A Paypal Spoof eMail
An Example Of An eBay Spoof eMail

"The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales"
is now available for immediate download.

Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

Ted at his desk.

Most Popular Articles on IWantCollectibles
  • Finding Products To Sell On eBay
    How to find products to sell on eBay is the most common question I get from my readers. This page has links to all the articles and reports I've written about finding eBay products.
  • How To Be An Antique Dealer
    The best way to start an antiques or collectibles business. Part 1 of a five part series on being an antiques dealer.
  • Understanding eBay Changes 2011
    This page covers eBay changes and has links to all articles on IWantCollectibles about working within the changes. Sign up for my free newsletter for articles covering new changes as they are announced.
  • Tips for Starting an eBay Consignment Business
    Selling on consignment is the perfect way to start on eBay. This article is an introduction to consignment selling, and explains what you'll need to be successful. First in a series on eBay Consignment.
  • Shopping For eBay Products At Garage Sales
    Thirteen tips for garage sale shopping. Part one of a two part series on garage and yard sales.
  • Finding New Products for eBay
    If you want to sell new products you need to concentrate on items others are not selling. You need to find sources other sellers are unaware of. That is not hard to do. Here's a list of articles to get you started on the right path.
  • eBay Auction Category, Title And Keyword Advice
    A series of articles about getting your items found on eBay. Covers category selection, eBay keyword rules, and researching keywords. Finally you'll learn how to write an informative, keyword rich title.

The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales
is now available for immediate download.

Free Antiques and eBay Newsletter
Get 9 Free eBay Ebooks
Free emailed newsletter includes free ebooks, interviews with eBay sellers, and helpful articles. You can unsubscribe at any time.

More Newsletter Information

eBay Questions and Answers

About .

Contact Terry

Free eBay Ebooks

eBay Advice

Antiques Advice

Antiques and eBay Reports

eBay Articles

Finding Products To Sell On eBay

What to Sell On eBay?

How eBay's Best Match Search Works

How To Sell On eBay For Beginners

The Drop Shipping Myth Explained

Dealing With eBay Changes 2018

Overcoming Common eBay Seller Frustrations

27 Ways To Find Antiques To Sell On eBay

Advice for Writing and Selling Ebooks On EBay

Selling Antiques On eBay

Using Facebook and Pinterest to Promote eBay Auctions

Tips for Starting an eBay Consignment Business

eBay Title Tips

Selling At Antique Shows Versus On eBay

Buying eBay Products at Yard Sales

Finding eBay Products At Garage Sales

23 Tips For Taking Better eBay Pictures

Finding Wholesale Products To Sell On eBay

How To Use eBay Listing Upgrades And Options Efficiently

Does An eBay Store Make Sense For You?

Minimizing eBay Fees

19 Ways To Quickly Improve Your eBay Auctions

eBay's Detailed Seller Ratings Reexamined

The Fixed Price Listing Trap

Finding eBay Keywords For Old Items

Adding Youtube Videos To Your eBay Auctions

Commonly Used eBay Abbreviations

How To Drive Traffic To eBay Auctions and Websites

Selecting The Best Category And Keywords For Your eBay Auction

Finding eBay Products By Finding People

Identifying eBay Products People Want

Signing Up People For Your eBay Consignment Services

Motivating eBay Auction Visitors To Bid

Getting Started Selling On eBay

eBay Keyword Rules Explained

How To Add Free Pictures To eBay

eBay Selling Tips

Free eBay Shipping Calculator

Shipping Advice for eBay Sellers

eBay Packing With Paper

eBay Arbitrage Profits

Figuring eBay Consignment Fees

How To Have Negative Feedback Removed For Under $500

Finding Antiques And Collectibles To Sell On Ebay

eBay Reports

Setting Your Ebay Business Up For Growth

Start Your Own eBay Consignment Business

Finding Profitable eBay Niches

Finding Profitable Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales

Finding Wholesale Products To Sell On eBay

Secret eBay Product Sources

Selling Public Domain Items on eBay

BMO Harris Mortgage Brokers Lie

The Resentful Consumer
© Copyright 2001-2020 Terry Gibbs
IWantCollectibles LLC
IWC LLC PO BOX 842, Mesa, AZ 85211