There is no end to ways someone can (try to) cheat a person.
After three failed auctions for my old PC laptop, all ending with frauds, I posted another one, the last one I could while in UK. This time, I set the starting price to £699, and 3 days auction time (it can’t be less than that*). In the end, there was an offer from a legitimate looking account that was a high bidder for some time, only to be overtaken by a brand new account in the final minutes.
After finishing with £920 wining bid, I wrote a message to him, to see about payment and shipment. However, in less than an hour since the bid end, this account became the unregistered user on eBay. :( eBay help advises to file a dispute, which I will automatically win since the other party is no longer a user. This immediately gave me back my posting fees and everything was nullified. I then offered a second chance to the 2nd high bidder, but after a day he didn’t even respond to numerous messages and everything went bust again.
Outside eBay channels, things were more interesting.
While I was doing that, the winning bidder was also hard at work. He first sent me a message from a yahoo.com account saying that he is glad he won the auction and that I should send it to provided address in Nigeria. He will pay me £100 for the postage. Oh, how nice…
Less than an hour later, I received this email:
On first glance looks rather legitimate, if only it wasn’t for the real email address ending in europe.com. It’s obvious that he tried to replicate the look and feel of the actual eBay messages, including the FromName field in the header. If only that From field was not so revealing. But he didn’t stop there.
After some minutes, another messages arrives, this time “from” PayPal:
You must hand it to the guy - he really tried. Careful inspection reveals details that show this is not from PayPal (apart from email address of course) but the overall feel is there.
Since I ignored him, after two days he sent me another message, warning me that I have been reported to PayPal and that my account will be suspended until I send the item to him. A tireless bastard.
I have no idea can anyone be fooled by this. I guess yes, although it is really hard for me to believe that someone would send the item out without actually checking PayPal account balance, which will show no such transaction ever took place.
Check, check and recheck, with all eyes open.
- eBay should really allow for shorter periods. My experience, both as a seller and buyer, tells me that everyone wait until few hours before the auction end and real fun begins 10mins before the end. In all my selling auctions, there was barely a bid or two in first 2 days.