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eBay Fraud Vigilantes

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the more-power-to-'em dept.

The Almighty Buck 357

firstadopter.com writes "New York Times (free registration needed) is reporting that users are sick of internet fraud on eBay. With lack of help from the company, they are taking the law into their own hands and closing down auctions they think are obvious scams."

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p1st pl00sllt (-1, Offtopic)

t3h w1n (763694) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622521)

L. Ron Hubbard...Robert Dowden...are gay lovers...of Mark Rodriguez!!!

Reg Free Link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622527)

Reg Free Link [nytimes.com]

Re:Reg Free Link (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622577)

Re:Reg Free Link (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622681)

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(c) copyright 690 AUC by Catullus

No-reg link (-1, Redundant)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622530)

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/165615_vigi lantes20.html

Re:No-reg link (1, Informative)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622568)

Oh come on, this link doesn't even point to the full New York Times article. There's a better link posted before this one by a person who isn't trying to karma whore.

SMACKDOWN ON THE K-WHORE! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622642)

Yeeeeeeeeah boyeeee!

Re:SMACKDOWN ON THE K-WHORE! (-1, Offtopic)

Caedar (635764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622670)

At least I post on my name instead of being an AC when I want to make a stupid comment. *grin*

This sounds familiar.. (0, Offtopic)

Caedar (635764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622532)

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Fark.com (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622534)

nice to see you guys once again jacking a link off of Fark

Fark.com is for children (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622843)

Nice to see that fifth graders are reading slashdot.

Boobies!

I looked on eBay. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622538)

...and I couldn't find any "Viglanties".

I did get a super deal on my new compter, though.

Re:I looked on eBay. (5, Funny)

crossconnects (140996) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622547)

did you get it from michael's computers?

Re:I looked on eBay. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622586)

Yep. Your post was funny.
Mine was, too. ...because we both referenced old /. articles.

Apparently, the moderators of my post (and now yours) are themselves semi-literate troglodytes with short memories. (Mine was an older article about misspelled auction items, and the mods are too used to poor English skills on this site to note the inherent humor.)

Ho hum.

Re:I looked on eBay. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622659)

actually it's not all *that* funny.

Re:I looked on eBay. (4, Funny)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622667)

Nope. I read about it in a Phantom Console brochure.

Re:No but he's pre-ordered... (2, Funny)

botzi (673768) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622772)

....his Phantom console from them....;oPPP

Editors: How hard is it to include GOOGLE links? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622540)

Really now. We have been complaining for years now. Google News has been around for quite a long time and they have registration free links to it.

How hard is it to include them in the article summary? This smacks of total unprofessionalism.

Re:Editors: How hard is it to include GOOGLE links (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622601)

The article posters like to conmplain.

MOD UP parent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622741)

I'm sick and tired of this as well.

Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken down (5, Informative)

setzman (541053) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622545)

Like these "Alienware" scams I saw yesterday when looking for a system? By the way, these are still up now.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item =2795846600&category=52476 [ebay.com]

***Please note, this auction is not selling the electronics themselves,we're selling electronic book packages that get you listed on a revolving list at our website. For list information and any other questions please visit our webpage @ www.revbuys.com--$220.00

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item =2795844320&category=52476 [ebay.com]

**You are not buying the actual item, you are buying a link to a website where you can obtain the item for around a $250 US dollars. Link also includes lots of other good deals on nice electronics** $5.00

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item =2795281687&category=52476 [ebay.com]

Please Read Auction Carefully. Winner will recieve information on where they can buy an Alienware Area-51 Extreme for only 275$. This is perfectly legal and I am usuing mine right now. Only one Alienware 275$ computer per household, so you can see why I am not selling the computers, but I am working on that.--$49.99

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item =2795708246&category=40176 [ebay.com]

Please Read Description Carefully Before You Bid! you are not buying any electronics in this auction. Here are some examples of the amazing deals you will get upon winning this auction:

Products:


JL Audio 10w7 Subwoofer: $100
Sony DVD/CD Changer: $100
Sony Motorized indash 7" LCD: $100
Exhaust Systems from $50
NOS Kits: $100
Body Kits: $100
Playstation 2: $40
Video Games: $20
Gateway 42" Plasma TV: $200
Sony DVD Dream Surround System: $100
Sony Digital Camcorder: $100
40GB Apple iPod: $115
Compaq iPaq PDA: $50
Panasonic Portable DVD Player: $50
Alienware Desktop or Laptop: $275
Sony VIAO Desktop: $150
Sony VIAO Laptop: $100

AND MANY MANY MANY MORE!!!!

Shipping is absolutely free!, If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at http://TankDoggSC@aol.com $3.00

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item =2795726979&category=52476 [ebay.com]

The item for sale isnt the real PC.the highest bidder will recieve the link to the site where you can purchase it for 160/275$.WHOEVER SAID ''THIS ISNT A REAL PC JUST A BUNCH OF LINKS'' MEANS THEY DID NOT READ THIS. $5.50-6 bids

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (1)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622559)

this just blows my mind man... I was looking for someplace to report those just a few minutes ago

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622582)

How are these scams? They are up front about what they are selling, information.

the advertising is a little misleading, but that can be said about any advertising for almost anything. when was the last time you ate a burger that looked as good as it did in the adverts (or saw a girl that looked like an advert girl for that matter)

This is more in the category of preying on the hopelessly gullible and exploiting their stupidity, rather than scam. Less like nigerian 419, more like religion.

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (4, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622604)

You make a very fair point, but unfortunately the sites they link to are near always scams run by the people eBaying the links. Several times at work people have told me they're on a list to get x, y or z item cheaper than we are selling it - I enquire what site the list is on and type it into the browser only to find it's mysteriously disappeared off the web. Having said that, if the person selling it doesn't own the site in question then they are not in the wrong since they may earnestly belive that all of the people will recieve their items at 5% of retail value.

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (3, Insightful)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622694)

No, they are still in the wrong because they are listing the auction under electronic systems, and they are giving it the title "Brand new PS2 never opened!" and when you read it it lists the features of a PS2 and has pictures of one, but if you read the fine print you see they are ACTUALLY selling a link to a website.

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (5, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622698)

These are the latest variant on a pyramid scheme. Basically, people are paying today for a wait list for a product that will be delivered whenever the waiting list gets long enough to have enough money to buy your item. Early people on the list will in fact get their items, but as the list gets longer, the wait gets exponentially longer until the world runs out of fools to supply and the list stops growing. The people caught "below the line" when the scheme colapses end up paying to wait in a line that has stopped moving... they'll never get their stuff.

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (5, Interesting)

EinarH (583836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622837)

Yup, it's a pyramid scheme. They call it "a matrix" but it's the same shit in a new wrapping.

Some of the schemes invlove selling of ebooks other are driven entirely like a pyramid with people entering at a low cost, below $50, and then relying on the "members" (fraud victims) marketing the scheme to get their goods.

Examples of schemes like this:
Electronicmatrix.com [electronicsmatrix.com] or Ezdeal4u.com [ezdeal4u.com]

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (4, Insightful)

setzman (541053) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622611)

How are these scams? They are up front about what they are selling, information.

You're absolutely right. So they should have their items moved to a section dedicated to sales of information, not actual electronics, and label their auctions accordingly. If the information doesn't provide the user with the ability to get a cheap system like these listings claim, then I would submit that it is a scam.

the advertising is a little misleading, but that can be said about any advertising for almost anything.

Again, you have a good point. These listings, when you see the item titles and parts of the description, are very misleading.

when was the last time you ate a burger that looked as good as it did in the adverts (or saw a girl that looked like an advert girl for that matter)

I can't remember when I ate anything that was as good as the ads.

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (4, Insightful)

ameoba (173803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622672)

I'm still suprised that eBay lets this go on. Having things like this around where the whole purpose is to separate a sucker from his money implacts the reputation of the whole site.

There's a difference between stretching the truth and making statements that serve no purpose other than to mislead and confuse the consumers. Everyone knows that the burger they see on TV is going to be nicer than the one made by some stoned highschool kid working for minimum wage, but it's going to be essentially the same thing. If a 'real business' consistantly practiced the type of deception that these eBay guys are, they'd never be able to stay in business once word got out. Why is it different online?

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (1)

williw (534498) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622770)

These are pyramid scam variants called matrix scams. You pay to get put on the list. When enough money is gathered by people on the list, the person at the top of the list gets the item, at a cost close to the actual selling price. Reeks as bad as any other pyramid scheme, just the parameters of the scam are different.

The first link shown by the thread ancestor is a purchase to be put on one of these matrix lists. So in fact the user is basically trying a number of different methods to scam the person, either by directly putting them on the list through ebay, selling people links to the list through ebay, etc.

I hope you don't argue in return that pyramid schemes aren't a scam ;)

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622817)

This is more in the category of preying on the hopelessly gullible and exploiting their stupidity, rather than scam. Less like nigerian 419, more like religion.

Nigerian 419 scams are also preying on the hopelessly gullible and exploiting their stupidity. My apologies to anyone who fell for one, but really the amount of gullibility required to convince you that a total stranger is going to give you 30% of $30,000,000 dollars is exponentially greater than the amount of gullibility required to think you might get a Playstation 2 cheap in an auction.

I used to vigilante too (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622616)

I got sick and tired of the acution frauds so i started finding them and bidding them up to inifity. Its not like you have too look hard to find them. Basically any high priced commodity item proably has frauds. One day while looking at apple powerbooks I notcies that over 90% of the auctions were definite frauds. Most of the other ones, probably real, maybe not.

its usually pretty easy to spot: only takes western union, item is new in box for absurdly low price, eithe rmultiple auctions or a "private auction". You used to tell by low feed back but its getting so that can be a misleader. You send them an e-mail and it gets answered during romanian daylight hours.

My favorite gambit is to ask them some absurd question that makes no sense like is this the power book that had the DVI fibrulator? They will answer "yes". Ask them if they take paypal and they dont answer.

I have to say that for all the problems and accusations about pay-pal, it is a hallmark of an honest seller.

E-bay claims a low fraud rate, but I think that is on a per-sale basis (most fruads dont result in sales, and there are many many honest auctions for $1.99 baseball cards, etc...). On a per dollar basis I'd bet it looks bad for e-bay. And certainly if you restrict the search to high vlaue commondity items i'd bet they average around fifty percent. E-bay needs to get sued and sued hard for knowing letting this go on.

Some lawyer should go get a job ther coverty, find out what they do internally to prevent this, then sue the shit out of them for negligence.

Re:I used to vigilante too (3, Insightful)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622752)

I got sick and tired of the acution frauds so i started finding them and bidding them up to inifity.

How dangerous is this? According to ebay your bid is a binding contract with the seller. What if you end up getting sued for payment from somebody who's running a legitimate auction? What if someone starts posting auctions that look suspicious but aren't in order to trap people like you and then sue you for payment? I'll tell you this: if you ran up my legit auction you'd be hearing from my lawyer.

Re:I used to vigilante too (-1, Troll)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622756)

"I got sick and tired of the acution frauds so i started finding them and bidding them up to inifity."

So to combat fraud, you commit fraud? Interesting, sort of like killing everyone so they wont murder each other.

Re:I used to vigilante too (5, Interesting)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622797)

I run a webmail system and I caught someone signing up multiple accounts and creating fake auctions on eBay. He had about 50 accounts when I caught him. I tried reporting the accounts he'd created to eBay but they didn't reply.

So instead I locked all his accounts and put an auto-responder message on them. This auto-responder would explain to the sender that the guy was a con-artist and that they should not under any circumstances send him money.

I wish I could have seen his face when he realised he'd lost all his correspondance with people he was planning to con.

One born every minute... (1)

shog9 (154858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622697)

Heh... This reminds me of the Shopper's Edge [shoppersedge.com] memberships we'd try and get people into back when i worked in order entry for a mail-order company. Not technically illegal, but built on a foundation of getting people enrolled in a service presented as something other than what they were wanting or expecting.

The P.T. Barnum school of business has no shortage of graduates...

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (2, Insightful)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622755)

Often times, these people who are auctioning "information" on how to acquire products for cheap are just banking on how lazy and stupid buyers are. Recently I was looking into buying the Zelda Collector's Disc for gamecube, since I purchased my cube too late to get it for free. Doing a quick google search for it, I found that I could get the disc as a free gift if I purhcased a one year subscription to Nintendo Power Magazine. It wasn't a bad deal, but I decided to see if E-Bay could do any better. Looking at the different auctions, I eventually came to one auction that had a price of $3.00 (where other auctions were going for more than $30. Looking at the auction, I saw that the guy was simply selling information on how to buy the game for $20 with no shipping and handling. It was insane to believe that he was getting money from people just to tell them to order Nintendo Power.

Re:Expensive Electronics Cheap Scams, not taken do (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622757)

Calling the number gives you a guy (who sounds like he just woke up, or just smoked down) that says he's their answering service.

whois revbuys.com

Administrative Contact:
Doctor, Crazy hardcore_bpm@yahoo.com
p.o. box 9193
red bluff, California 96080
United States
5302004131

Technical Contact:
Doctor, Crazy hardcore_bpm@yahoo.com
p.o. box 9193
red bluff, California 96080
United States
5302004131

Reminds me of the PS2 scams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622851)

Back when the PS2 was due to be released people were selling PS2 boxes on eBay but making it look like the person was getting an actual PS2.

www.paypalsucks.com (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622550)

Following is my opinion only:

Don't use paypal's "withdraw from bank account" option. Use the credit card option. If something goes wrong and you go past 30 days - your are screwed. My experience is that Paypal (an ebay company) is the worst in getting problems resolved.

www.paypalsucks.com

Re:www.paypalsucks.com (1)

iosmart (624285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622581)

indeed the best advice

Re:www.paypalsucks.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622599)

My opinion follows:

If you use the credit-card option you have a real recourse. I called my credit card company to inform them that I didn't get my product. Discover card got on their (paypal's) case and got my money back. Do not use the "withdraw from bank account" option.

Paypal has the worst customer service. They are also very tricky in my opinion. When you pay you have to take an extra effrot to change payment method to credit card. Read your customer agreement carefully as well!

OK, but... (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622622)

OK, I happen to share that suspicion. Problem is, PayPal limits you to a $2K cumulative transaction total if you don't give them access to an account (which I won't do, at least not an account I use for anything else). How do you deal with that? I suppose one could close the account and open another, but I suspect their terms of use frown on that.

The only solution I can see is opening a special-purpose bank account for PayPal use only, and feeding it only what it needs for the transactions I authorize. Which is rather a lot of inconvenience for the convenience of one-click shopping...

Re:OK, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622657)

You can give them access to a bank account to be verified. But make sure that when you initate a payment to someone you change the option to withdraw from a credit card than from your personal bank account.

If something goes wrong you can call the credit card company. Believe me they will solve your problems a lot more efficiently than paypal.

Re:OK, but... (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622742)

The only solution I can see is opening a special-purpose bank account for PayPal use only, and feeding it only what it needs for the transactions I authorize. Which is rather a lot of inconvenience for the convenience of one-click shopping...

My mother has about 2500 ebay transactions, (dont ask). And after getting royally phucked by paypal once the solution was pretty evident. Get a throw away bank account. She went down to the local credit union (not our normal bank), got an account, and linked that up with paypal. She only puts money in the account when she makes a purchase, and if she recieves funds she removes them. The problem is -- finding a bank that won't charge you a fortune for inactivity/low balance, etc (good bet is a credit union).

Absolutely (4, Informative)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622655)

I have had to (more than once!) dispute a charge on a CC I used on PayPal because they were trying to screw me out of my money (or the product). The PayPal folks wouldn't return my calls or letters. I got a live body once and told them I was going to dispute the charges if they didn't stop trying to defraud me. They immediately transfered me to a guy that IMHO does nothing other than threaten to sue PayPal users if they threaten to dispute CC charges. I mean that's all he didn't. He knew nothing about the circumstances. He was just there to read me the riot act (from a script) about what they'd do if I disputed the charge. I told him just exactly what he could do with his business and called my CC company. The CC company credited me my $$ within a week and I never heard any more about it. Paypal, contrary to what many of the horror stories said, didn't freeze my account. It wouldn't surprise me if they did but they didn't to me at least. Always Always ALWAYS use a CC when paying via PayPal. In fact I don't have a valid checking account registered with them anymore. I closed that account nearly 8 months ago when I moved. They already verified the account and I'm not going to try and tell them otherwise. :)

eBay AND PayPal sucks ... (3, Informative)

quarkscat (697644) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622658)

eBay is financially rigged to favor the
auctioneer instead of the customer. As a
fee based system, they derive the bulk of
their income from these same auctioneers.
By joining eBay, the bidders relinquish
any right to sue, and the cap on any
arbitrated settlement is $200. PayPal
might be convenient, but they have next
to zero for security and auditing. A
close friend had their checking account
cleaned out by someone either at PayPal
or one of the auctioneers. I stopped
doing ANY business with eBay after getting
ripped off a few times in rapid succession.

Going on eBay is like walking in the barrio
streets of Rio De Janero with you wallet
hanging half-way out of your pocket. The
old adage "Buyer Beware" doesn't even
come close to the risks. Anyone that
would consider buying an automobile, let
alone a house, on eBay must be daft.

Re:eBay AND PayPal sucks ... (2, Informative)

Endive4Ever (742304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622867)

It depends a lot on the kind of stuff you buy on eBay.

I have noticed that my wife, who buys what I would call 'cheap trashy things' on eBay, like 'collectable christmas ornaments,' runs with a less reputable crowd. Likewise, buying or selling 'new laptops' on eBay is a crapshoot.

But there are different crowds buying and selling different things. I mostly buy and sell in pure 'geek' categories (things you're almost entirely unable to buy any other way, like used Sun hardware) and I find it an ethical 'geek' community I deal with.

Good... (4, Insightful)

Bl33d4merican (723119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622552)

About time somebody did something useful. Not like eBay has done anything. With problems like this running rampant over eBay, I wonder what kind of future the company has. Many users are already abandoning the service in favor of other means of purchase. I think people have realized that eBay, with scams, high shipping costs, and long waiting periods before getting a product, is often more expensive and less convenient than just purchasing the product at the store.

Good...Anarchy Hill. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622664)

""New York Times (free registration needed) is reporting that users are sick of internet fraud on eBay. With lack of help from the company, they are taking the law into their own hands"

People taking the law into their own hands when traditional (socially acceptable) methods fail. Now were have we seen this before? I predict we will see much more of this, as our society breaks down. The "should know better" warring with the "don't give a damn about knowing better".

Thanks Google! (-1, Redundant)

FsG (648587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622554)

Read this story without registering [nytimes.com] , thanks to Google.

Re:Thanks Google! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622583)

I love your "Why I returned my iMac" story. I should write up my "Why I quit Apple" story.

eBay Does Do A Lot... (4, Informative)

bc90021 (43730) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622566)

...but more often than not, it's the banks that are watching out for suspicious things. The one time someone tried to pay me with stolen credit cards, it was the bank that alerted me (thankfully before I sent the laptop).

Really, what should be happening is that eBay should cooperate as much as possible with the banks/credit companies, and that would take care of a lot of fraud then and there.

gay faggot sex (for niggers) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622567)

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As long as they don't stop... (5, Funny)

The-Dalai-LLama (755919) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622580)

...the clever people who've sold things like "genuine air guitars" and "nothing".

Half the fun of e-bay is the really bizarre stuff. [bidboy.com]

The Dalai Llama
This .sig available for purchase: $100,000 USD -ebay auction #66666. Buyer pays shipping from Andorra.

Re:As long as they don't stop... (5, Funny)

Necrobruiser (611198) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622789)

I'll never forget the first time I surfed Ebay. I ended up in the "Adult" section, and found an auction for a "5 Ball Butt Plug". Now, I know what a butt plug is, but I had no idea what a "5 Ball" butt plug is, so I checked out the description. There was a lovely picture, and I now know what a "5 Ball" butt plug looks like. However, the scary part was when I saw the descriptive phrase "Like New" next to the picture.

Needless to say, I'm still emotionally scarred.

Is it appropriate? (0)

Kyrian (743086) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622592)

I agree wholeheartedly that ebay should be doing more to stop the scams. However, it is the companies decision to make their own descisions however smart or stupid. I would appreciate it if ebay had moderators, but just because they don't, does that really mean the users should be shutting down auctions?

Ebay has let users work to close these fakes down. (5, Insightful)

Graemee (524726) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622593)

Many forums have a link right on the post that allows reporting of improper material. Ebay could use this feature.

I've found questionable sales, usually someone asks me "Hey, look at the deal", but when I've looked for a way to report it. Zip nothing. They did not list any contact in safeharbour for this.

Hell, it took way too much time to find the link to report the phish emails I got last year.

Yes, it will mean more overhead, but that's what it's going to take if Ebay expects people to continue to use the site. Allowing a group of moderators that can flag obvious problems will help.

Re:Ebay has let users work to close these fakes do (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622731)

eBay could very easily design a "Click here if this looks bogus" button for registered users, and then place the auctions that are reported in a queue for moderator review, with additional trust given to those who have successfully reported violations in the past, and less value given to those who false report.

Re:Ebay has let users work to close these fakes do (1)

Tralfamadorian (115732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622845)

I spent over an hour yesterday trying to find a place to report a suspicious auction and got nowhere. Your idea is a very good one.

What were they expecting? (1, Insightful)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622595)

I have never purchased anything from any online auction site. Nor have I ever given a company like Paypal [paypalsucks.com] jurisdiction or even access to any of my financial assets (checking, credit, etc). Why? Because it is readily obvious how easily exploitable these mechanisms are.

I hate to say it, but if you actually put your faith in such things as online auctions you shouldn't be suprised when you are scammed. I liken it to network administrators that run open relays because "we are behind corporate's network and firewalls", or the person that uses Outlook and wonders why he is infected with worms and viruses every month.

Re:What were they expecting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622662)

It's all to do with managing risk. The risks of losing money using something like eBay are higher than buying from a proper retailer, but the potential gains are higher. You can get some excellent deals on eBay but you have to take some risks and trawl through endless scam listings offering information or links.

Re:What were they expecting? (2, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622665)

I don't know if I would make such a blanket statement about the insecurity of eBay and PayPal.

The people that have been scammed, for the most part, are people that were expecting to get something for (next to) nothing.

A little common sense goes a long way on eBay. Unfortunately, most people have none, especially when a deal "looks too good to be true".

It's really the same kind of gullibility that keeps spammers in business. For some reason, people think that if it's "on the Internet", it's automatically legitimate. When, in fact, the exact opposite is true much of the time.

Re:What were they expecting? (5, Interesting)

synergy3000 (637810) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622691)

I've put faith in those online auctions and have not been scammed in over 150 plus auctions. Mostly sales, a few purchases. If you are careful with who you buy from and walk away from deals too good to be true you should be fine. As for readily exploitable mechanisms like Paypal its a fricking bank account. If you lose your check book, your credit card number or even your SS number you can get exploited. Its not like it is all that much easier through paypal. Email scams have been asking for bank account numbers and what not in addition to paypal passwords. Run and hide in a cave and have no contact with the outside world and then your "financial assets" will be safe.

Re:What were they expecting? (5, Interesting)

Penguin's Advocate (126803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622745)

I've used ebay and paypal to buy and sell a lot of things, and never had any problems whatsoever. Then one day my brother decided to buy a computer on ebay (which I do regularly). He found a good system for a good price, looked entirely legit, plenty of positive feedbacks for the same or similar computers, my friend built a similar system for himself for around that same price. So it looked legit, but my bro is now out $1060 with no computer and the guy has disappeared, and the weirdest part is, the guy contacted my brother 2 months later, after fraud charges had long been filed with paypal, ebay, and the IFCC, and told him that he was embarrassed by this and promised to ship the computer the next day, which of course he did not. But WHY would he do that? He didn't ask for more money or try to sell anything else, he just promised to ship it after we'd already done everything we could think of to get him.

On that note, don't ever buy anything from StudentCompSolutions.com, Jeff Bellisimo, or jeffyjimmy@*.*
And if anyone lives near 5150 Argus Dr. in LA, and would like to pay Jeff a visit for me I'd be much obliged.

Re:What were they expecting? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622829)

I have never bought anything with a credit card anywhere. Nor have i given a company like a bank jurisdiction or even access to any of my financial assets,(money, credit, etc). Why? Because it is readily obvious how easily exploitable these mechanisms are.

I hate to say it but everything you use if your not careful is going to end up biting you in the ass eventually. Banks are broken into, credit card numbers are stolen, ebay makes it easy to get into contact with stupid people and paypal isn't perfect, but if your careful with everything you do, you have a good chance of not getting taken in.

If your happy with your paranoia, I hope it works out for you, but just because you say its obvious, and inevitable doesn't make it so. Ebay has made it a lot easier for me to find some parts that just aren't readily available around here. Ask some questions of the seller, check their feedback and in general be careful and everything should work out fine.

Once... (4, Funny)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622603)

Once someone was selling a car headlight modification they didn't have. The way they were busted was rather unique-- they posted pictures (hosted off-site, of course) of a car that wasn't theirs.

The person who owned the site saw the traffic coming from the ebay page. He then proceeded to change the images to one insulting the scammer in a very something awful-esque way, and photoshopped eyes over the car headlights. It was hilarious-- anyone have a link to it?

Re:Once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622834)

Stuff like that happens fairly regularly anytime someone appropriates images/bandwidth from the server of somebody who pays close attention to their logs.

The incident I found really funny was a woman who was putting links to images from some fellow's server in mass emailings at her place of work. The fellow whose server it was didn't seem to appreciate her doing that and he substituted some pornographic images for those she had linked to. I bet she doesn't deeplink images anymore.

Fields of Fraud (0)

Caedar (635764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622612)

A word to all looking to buy a Playstation 2, Game Boy Advance, or any other modern system: Make sure to check the description of the auction closely, many of these too-good-to-be-true auctions actually are. If they mention anything at all pertaining to instructions or wholesalers, AVOID IT ALLTOGETHER! I've been sucked into one of these auctions, which worded very vaguely that they 'work with a wholesaler to get you this at the lowest possible price', which was another way of saying 'we're giving you instructions on how you MIGHT get it at a lower price', which might not even be a lower price after what you paid on the auction.

Here's a tip (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622613)

Stop bidding on items from Andora and Romania. A little common sense goes a long way.

Good! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622617)

I've been ripped off on ebay before, ebay did not help, paypal did not help - only my credit card company helped. I wish these guys would have saved my ass.

Take the law in your own hands!!!

Favourite quote from the article: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622630)


I said it isn't really that way and that karma was going to catch up with him one of these days.

How true!

eBay's job is to prevent these things... (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622631)

The reason people pay to use eBay rather than setup their own auction script on their web site is because eBay is providing a regulated marketplace, one where eBay makes the rules and enforces them to prevent fraudulent activities from affecting buyers and sellers.

If eBay can't get a grip on their fraud problems, then the door will be wide open for another marketplace to challenge them.

Darn it, I was almost there, too! (5, Funny)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622641)

Here I was auctioning off evidence/information on whereabouts of WMDs in Iraq when people got all huffy and decided to shut it down. I nearly got some dude named Dubya bidding oodles of cash for the info but got shutdown before bidding was over.

Why can't you vigilantes just mind your own biz, damn it!!!

Yo, it's a joke -- no need to start a super-secret file on me.

It's a scary world (2, Insightful)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622703)

It's a scary world when you have to include a disclaimer such as "Yo, it's a joke -- no need to start a super-secret file on me." in a Slashdot post making parody of the president. The Patriot Act has proven far too powerful and unjust.

By the way, this was just a joke, no need to make an entry of me in the CIA's secret files.

Re:Darn it, I was almost there, too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622762)

This vigilante...his username wasn't jkerry_4_2004, was it? Or was it OBL_jihad4u?

Ebay's 15 mintues ticking away (1)

stecoop (759508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622652)

About a year ago I still used Ebay but moved away from it. I found better deals new at local stores (go figure?). I got so tired of buying a DVD and it was a suspicious looking printed label in foreign languages products not quite as described showing up a few months latter.

But here is some rules that need to be implemented or followed by any buyer:

1) No credit accepted no thank you and that goes for PayPall too (don't ever link your bank account to any service including tanning salons)

2) AS IS - means it broke guaranteed (I wish I could filter these out)

3) For Me I buy USA - must be a person located in the US of A or no sale

4) Ebay's Fraud Protection is pitiful you're out 25 bucks from the start with a long wait. Ref http://pages.ebay.com/help/confidence/questions/pr otection-program.html

5) Don't worry about letting an item go to a higher bidder - It isn't a challenge.

6) Ratings don't mean any thing when your out the money - there should be a better rating system (anyone think Slashdot could help there)

Re:Ebay's 15 mintues ticking away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622778)

yeah but how would they take care of karma/feedback whores?

"I'm not expert and I haven't plugged it in..." (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622787)

The ones I love are the descriptions of old electrical items, phonographs, wire recorders, whatnot, that say "I haven't plugged it in" while vaguely implying that it sort of looks as if it ought to work.

fros7 pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622656)

Bidding qualification? (4, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622678)

One reason why people are able to place a $2.5 million bid to try to kill off an auction they think is fraudulent is that it doesn't cost anything to place a over-high bid on eBay.

Maybe eBay should set some threshholds at which point bids require a deposit in escrow in order to justify a large bid, money that is returned if the bid doesn't win, but is lost if the transaction doesn't close because its withdrawn while being the high bidder.

Re:Bidding qualification? (0)

amateur bore (682284) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622866)

Maybe eBay should set some threshholds at which point bids require a deposit in escrow in order to justify a large bid ...
So you're saying that eBay should take measures to stop the people who are trying to prevent fraud?

Don't forget Paypal scams! (5, Informative)

Genghis9 (575560) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622682)

Recently bought a router, the seller shipped a hard drive to me by mistake. After emailing back and forth I sent the hd back, but no router. Seller stops responding to emails. So what happens when I fill out the Paypal form to try and get a refund?

They have an item asking if you received ANYTHING in the mail. So I checked that off. Bad mistake! They classified the report as "misrepresented item"!!!! Then a few days later closed the complaint saying they didn't do anything in those cases!

Paypal = SCAM CITY

Lesson: accept Paypal payments for expensive items and mail a jellybean to the buyer. Paypal will support you all the way.

Hit me too (3, Interesting)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622683)

I must admit that I also was the one to suffer from that. After a great deal on an expensive digital camera (Sony F717 :)) that went flawlessly I got too relaxed.
They got me with a road bike for 100 EUR + 50 for shipping and I bought it. It's been a month without the bike and any reply to the emails.
This article motivated me to go to the authorities to try to get the money back. This fraud was stupid enough to give me his bank acount and a postal address. Let's see what the police san do about it!

My Biggest Ebay Pet Peeve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622684)

What I really can't stand about eBay are the loose requirements for being a registered user. All you need to sign up is a valid e-mail address .. no credit card, no verified address, no bank account.

This allows sellers to easily create shill bidders and buyers to hijack auctions with no intent of paying. All this fraud of course benefits ebay since they are only interested in listing and final value fees.

There is an eBay user summit on March 30 and I hope this issue gets hammered home to the top brass.

amazing (5, Funny)

segment (695309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622692)


You mean that Paris Hilton action figure [ebay.com] is a fraud!. People auctioning off their life [ebay.com] , and those imginary girlfriends [ebay.com] are frauds! I for one am shocked. And awed too

Re:amazing (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622718)

Actually, the "imaginary girlfriend" services are sort of ingenious when you know what you're actually getting. They send messages, flowers, etc. as if you really did have a distant girlfriend (all of which, of course, you've paid for and then some) for the sake of creating the illusion that there's really somebody sending this stuff... useful for fooling an ex if they are still close enough to be observing such deliveries such as at an office.

I have a... (-1, Troll)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622710)

beowulf cluster of Plasma screens for sale in Soviet Russia, send a Western Union, PROFIT!!! Is this WHAK? I'm honest, you insensitive clod.

Ebay has fallen a long ways i n my book (4, Interesting)

cpex (601202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622721)

I liked ebay when it was just people selling second hand items, businesses selling surplus etc. Ever since the ebay business model sprung to life ebay imho sucks. Sure they let something like a cell phone faceplate go for $2.00 that you would pay $15 for in the mall. ut then they hit you with a $8 to $10 s/h fee, and you get it in an envlope with 0.95 postage marked on it. They are just using the shipping and handling fee to insure their profit. And good luck if something is broken or incorrect when it comes back with these mega sellers of cheap crap, they glady will take the negative feedback point as it will be lost in the thousands of others were they didnt screw up. And the scams are unblievable. Instructions to build your own projection tv, wholesaler list. errr

How about those "Get info on FREE Ipod/HDTV" Bids? (1)

phoxix (161744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622727)

Oh man,

You can't even hit up ebay for anything these days without getting billions of those.

Add the professional snipers, and Ebay wasn't what it used to be (well what did we expect ? heh)

Sunny Dubey

Re:How about those "Get info on FREE Ipod/HDTV" Bi (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622820)

Try this search:

ipod -"free ipod" -info

Seems to weed out 90% of the buggers.

No problems with lawnsale-ish junk. (5, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622753)

I've been buying and selling low-value items on eBay for some time with nothing but good results. It's fun.

The other day, I remembered an LP I found fascinating when I was a kid, called "Hearing is Believing." RCA put it out--I believe they gave it away for free--in the early fifties. It was an introduction to hi-fi. I suddenly "I'd get a kick out of hearing that again." I went on to eBay, there was a copy up for bid at a starting bid of $3.00, nobody else bid, I got it for $3.00 plus $3.50 shipping, and experienced a intense burst of pleasurable nostalgia at hearing it again.

Nobody can make a fortune scamming people $3 at a time, so most of the low-value weird junk items are legit. And if they aren't--so you're out a few dollars, who cares?

I won't say there are easy answers, but by far the largest number of horror stories seem to all be about one specific category: people that believe they can get new or practically new electronic gadgets for substantially below the new price. Indeed, no doubt you sometimes can, but that is the kind of item where the risk is high.

Of course, trading junk doesn't appeal to everyone, but I think it is one of eBay's highest and best uses.

Re:No problems with lawnsale-ish junk. (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622841)

I've done the same, generally buying cheap CDs or books only. I've only bought two expensive items via eBay, and in both cases, I made sure that I did some serious research. Both items were available from the sellers on separate, commercial websites that I found reputable -- the eBay offerings were merely overstocked inventory.

Buying the big stuff still frightens me. I don't think I'll be bidding on plasma TVs anytime soon.

Re:No problems with lawnsale-ish junk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622850)

Nobody can make a fortune scamming people $3 at a time, so most of the low-value weird junk items are legit. And if they aren't--so you're out a few dollars, who cares?

If nobody cared then you obviously could make a fortune scamming people for $3 a time. The risk is that enough people will care to make life hard for you.

People sometimes do this out of anger... (2, Interesting)

grungebox (578982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622776)

A while ago some people were auctioning off CD's with all the cartoons from Homestar Runner [homestarrunner.com] on eBay. Some fans got pissed at the people selling the CD's and overbid them to millions of dollars. I've seen it happen to people trying to sell CD's of Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] strips as well.

Start a new E-Bay (4, Interesting)

randomErr (172078) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622788)

Vigilanties usually don't fix a problem. They almost always make things worse. If one person is saying an auction is real and another says they are fake then who should you believe? The answer is no one, go other to Yahoo! Auctions or somewhere else.

E-bay will have to restructure and get rid of these fake auctions or die.

So which will it be e-Bay?

Anime Bootlegs? (2, Interesting)

Ondo (187980) | more than 10 years ago | (#8622796)

What about bootleg anime on eBay or half.com? They're often easy to spot, but I don't know what to do about them. Is there an effective way to report them?

Why buy on eBay at all?? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8622849)

Most of the time, you'll find a better price in a regular eShop (hint: http://froogle.google.com/)
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