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eBay Scam Victim Strikes Back

CmdrTaco posted about 10 years ago | from the this-is-funny-stuff dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 631

jcomeau_ictx writes "Justin Spence doesn't take lightly being scammed out of $1155 for a laptop he never received. The seller, Salvatore Wise, Jr. of Philadelphia, is growing openly more hostile over the webpage Justin produced exposing his and his wife Michelle Heinlein's scams to the world. So far Justin has documented $6841.00 total lost to this crook, but the total is more likely in the tens of thousands. " As it goes along it just gets more and more bizarre. My favorite part is when "Sal" says that all the earlier messages were sent from a different Sal, but you can tell them apart because the true Sal always writes his emails in italics.

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P-P-P-Powerbook (4, Informative)

halo1982 (679554) | about 10 years ago | (#9771900)

Has anyone heard of the P-P-P Powerbook [] ? Its another case of the scammer being scammed, and quite amusing. Theres a full list of correspondence between the scammer and seller, complete with photos and videos. Enjoy.

Yes, we've heard of it. (1, Funny)

Wakko Warner (324) | about 10 years ago | (#9771944)

Though I can't remember where... []

Re:Yes, we've heard of it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9771990)


I just saw this new thing on the intar-web. There is this video game called Zero Wing, and the intro to it is HILARIOUS! There is this broken English (Engrish, really) story of this guy named 'Cats' and he says....get this....ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US! ROFL! That doesn't make any sense whatsoever! People have done these crazy pictures putting that phrase in's hilarious! And it's brand new!

Re:Yes, we've heard of it. (1, Funny)

cephyn (461066) | about 10 years ago | (#9772052)

no way man! thats awesome! EVEN BETTER was this thing i found the other day! Its a goofy page of a bunch of hamsters! DANCING! Who's ever heard of something so absurd! I can't wait to see what else people make dance!

Re:Yes, we've heard of it. (1)

bryanthompson (627923) | about 10 years ago | (#9772191)

yeah way, isn't that hilaious! Have you seen that crazy page with all of the badgers?! [] It's almost as good as Schfifty-Five [] ! And I found this crazy little page with all of these greeting cards and things to send to all of your most distant relatives who haven't heard from you for like, ever. Oh yeah, and I forwarded this email that said that if I forward it to enough people i'll get $1,000 from bill gates! what a nice guy!

Re:Yes, we've heard of it. (1)

Sprite Remix (725063) | about 10 years ago | (#9772200)

Sad thing is, I really want the original site back... Anyone have the original mirror (Having trouble on Surprisingly it worked perfectly on the Sega Dreamcast web-browser, sound and everything.

Yes I was a troll :(

Re:P-P-P-Powerbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772074)

Honestly now, is there any fucking reason for that site to have the story in PDF?

Goddamn I hate PDF.

So whats ebay doing? (3, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | about 10 years ago | (#9771909)

This is a long and complex story. I dont blame either party but since I'm more intrested/concered in what eBay is doing to thwart crimes.

Credit Cards (3, Interesting)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 10 years ago | (#9772171)

Isn't there some special online protection plan that can remburse you in case of an online purchase fraud? Why don't people just get one of these cards specifically for ebaying.

Re:So whats ebay doing? (1)

swb (14022) | about 10 years ago | (#9772186)

As long as the gross number of transactions grows, nothing. They have no motivation to, since they make money off of all transactions, including fraudulent ones.

If the gross number of transactions were to fall and it was linked to perceptions of fraud, they might, but how likely is that?

Spam time! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9771911)

yes you can call me at 2154682929 anytime today.thanks

Ain't revenge a bitch?

Re:Spam time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772196)


Queue the wardialers!

Re:Spam time! (2, Informative)

MBraynard (653724) | about 10 years ago | (#9772203)

The number you have dialed, 2154682929, has been disconnected. No further information is available.

Obligatory Simpsons Quote (-1, Offtopic)

Meostro (788797) | about 10 years ago | (#9771912)


slashdotted... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9771915)

and only one comment so far. Anybody got a cache?

2 comments and already slashdotted (-1, Offtopic)

Angostura (703910) | about 10 years ago | (#9771917)


Karma Whoring (5, Informative)

ack154 (591432) | about 10 years ago | (#9771918)

Full text:

Salvatore Wise, Jr., or someone going by that alias for several years at least (verified since 1997), has taken tens of thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands, of dollars from eBay shoppers. Whether or not he does other types of online trading is not yet known to me.

"How could that be possible?", you must be asking. Surely there are safeguards against that kind of thing, right? Yes, there are. But Sal has been ingenious in finding workarounds for those safeguards. See, for example, how Justin Spence [] , a shrewd businessman himself who was initially suspect of Sal's integrity, was conned into finishing the deal. Sal doesn't accept credit cards nor Paypal in any form; he wants his money in checks, cashiers checks or money orders. And he often makes believe he hasn't received your payment when in fact he's already cashed it.

Sal's accounts have all been terminated, of course, but he always seems to have one more on the back burner he can use in a pinch. Lately, his wife Michelle Heinlein [] appears to be actively involved, since in at least one case a check made out to her name was cashed, in one of the scams. Notice the same trading pattern as Sal's former username needforspeed97 [] , starting off good then, once he gets a good reputation, cashing it in for a few thousand dollars before eBay kicks him off. I'm pretty sure this guy Robin, needforspeed [] , is the same dude too, but Sal of course denies it.

I'll post more info as I can. Watch out for anybody on eBay from PA who sells high-dollar items. Sorry Pennsylvanians, but you've got a scoundrel in your midst. He lives at 1941 W. Passyunk Ave. [] in Philadelphia, but he sometimes sets his eBay "area" identity as Pittsburgh.

So if I know where he lives, why don't I just go break his legs? Believe me, I've thought about it, but I don't want to do something illegal that'll get me thrown in jail. Besides, he's threatened to shoot me if I come there. So if the threat turns out to be real, I'd either have to kill him or get killed myself, either of which has consequences I don't want to consider. And on top of all that, I'm a coward.

Well anyway, not to be outdone by Justin, I'm digging up my emails now too... here's the most recent thread [] which shows the same typing style (being very loose with that word here) as his recent threats to Justin. More to follow!

Wow, that was fast! Here [] he is again... it's after 2AM on the east coast, so he must be sweating bullets! Aren't you, Sal old buddy?

This is getting to be another blog in itself, so let's just follow the story in my existing blog [] , shall we?

Re:Karma Whoring (0, Offtopic)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 10 years ago | (#9771951)

thanks for posting the text, since the sites are /.ed already, even tho the mods are smoking crack.

Re:Karma Whoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772165)

thanks for posting the text, since the sites are /.ed already, even tho the mods are smoking crack.
Are they ever not smoking crack?

Re:Karma Whoring (2, Funny)

Man in Spandex (775950) | about 10 years ago | (#9771966)

We have to start using the habbits of the middle age. When theres a thief, lets cut his hand and he will never retry. Well him, lets cut his computer mouse, his keyboard and his index fingers.

That should be harder for him to try n steal.

Re:Karma Whoring (2, Insightful)

Vaginal Discharge (706367) | about 10 years ago | (#9772014)

What if he has a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse and uses voice recognition input?

Re:Karma Whoring (1, Troll)

HeghmoH (13204) | about 10 years ago | (#9772081)

Cut his head off.

Re:Karma Whoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772213)

Cut his head off.

What if he's Darl McBride?

Re:Karma Whoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772239)

Cut his other head off.

Re:Karma Whoring (1)

mrscott (548097) | about 10 years ago | (#9772143)

Dig his voicebox out with a spoon.

Re:Karma Whoring (1)

grappo666 (798306) | about 10 years ago | (#9772217)

No dude, that's Stephen Hawking.

Re:Karma Whoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9771972)


the overrated i can follow, but redundant? i'll catch you in metamoderating you douchebag.

Re:Karma Whoring (2, Insightful)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 10 years ago | (#9772187)

Threat to shoot him is illegal under the patriot act. He can call the local authorities and have him arrested if he has the threat properly documented....might as well use the peice of crap legistation for something useful.

Re:Karma Whoring (1)

mog007 (677810) | about 10 years ago | (#9772238)

What a nice way for the /. community to show its collective respect for this guy.

"Let's /. the fuck out of his website!"

"Great idea!"

omg (0)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | about 10 years ago | (#9771932)

Two documents that contain no data, and another horrid green background. Wow.

Peter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9771934)

Oh? You mean how you morally-bankrupted America?!?

You think that's bad? (3, Informative)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 10 years ago | (#9771936)

Check this [] out.

Re:You think that's bad? (1)

eebly (7752) | about 10 years ago | (#9771970)

Ah, it burns! Zee goggles, zay do nothink!

Re:You think that's bad? (2, Interesting)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 10 years ago | (#9772000)

It's a link to an article about a guy who sent a pipe bomb through the mail that killed a 17 year old kid and maimed his mom. He sent it because the kid ripped him off in a sale of a radio arranged on the internet. The guy got the death penalty.

Oh no you don't!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772105)

I know a Goatse/Tubgirl redirect when I see one, pal!

What Ugly Background? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772254)

1) Use Opera browser.
2) Click "Author Mode" icon. Ugly, noisy, whatever $#@! background gone (as if by magic!).
3) Save eyes for important stuff.
4) Opera profits by this suggestion and deserves to.

Re:You think that's bad? (2, Funny)

Simonetta (207550) | about 10 years ago | (#9772262)

Jeez, this schmuck really deserves the death penality. With the world's population growing so rapidly, we just don't need people like this around.
Life is really all that special. Every life form is unique. When someone comes out of the tube with their brain scrambled like this, we don't really have any moral obligation to keep them around.
For hundreds of years we dealt with people like this by putting them in the Army. They go wacko and kill dozens of people on the other side of the world? Cool, give em a medal. They get killed themselves? No big deal. One less asshole hanging around.
But now the Army is so technical and specialized that they are unable to meet their social function as general asshole disposal unit. The army's primary function of defending the country has been solved by hydrogen bombs and ICBMs, so the Army's secondary social functions take on more importance each year.
So we need some other way to deal with total psychopathic losers. If the lithium lollypop doesn't work or a heroin hot-shot from heaven fails to take out the trash, a standard lethal injection will do the trick. No reason to get all worked up about it. At least we don't shoot people in the head and then charge their relatives ten cents for the bullet like the Chinese do.

Slashdotted (4, Funny)

Vaginal Discharge (706367) | about 10 years ago | (#9771937)

That guy's hosting bill is going to be huge after we're done with him. Maybe he'll do an expose piece on how slashdot users cost him thousands of dollars in hosting fees.

Re:Slashdotted (1)

TheLetterPsy (792255) | about 10 years ago | (#9772012)

On that note, anyone got a mirror?

Re:Slashdotted (2, Funny)

Exiler (589908) | about 10 years ago | (#9772025)

And think we can link that from slashdot?

eBay? (3, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 10 years ago | (#9771938)

Well, I never understood the craze about ebay. You're dealing with unknown untrusted people, giving them money in advance (as I understood) I just can't trust anyone on such sites. In case I want something I'd rather buy it new. If I can't afford something new, I just won't buy it.

So, buying anything in those priceranges is taking a huge risk. I'm not saying that these scammer should get away with it (they should be thrown in jail), I'm just saying that I prefer not to take risks.

Re:eBay? (3, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 10 years ago | (#9772019)

Well, I never understood the craze about ebay. You're dealing with unknown untrusted people, giving them money in advance (as I understood) I just can't trust anyone on such sites. In case I want something I'd rather buy it new. If I can't afford something new, I just won't buy it.
So, buying anything in those priceranges is taking a huge risk. I'm not saying that these scammer should get away with it (they should be thrown in jail), I'm just saying that I prefer not to take risks.

I have eBayed since 98, and have sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff, and bought thousands of dollars worth as well. Never directly ripped off. Of course, I only buy from people with good ratings, use a credit card/pay pal only, and take other precautions, but still its safer than buying from a flea market.

Re:eBay? (3, Insightful)

savagedome (742194) | about 10 years ago | (#9772038)

I just can't trust anyone on such sites

You are absolutely right about the risk part. eBay is a risk to begin with. That's the risk you are taking for the low price that appealed you at the first place. However, I disagree with "anyone" part. eBay has millions of users and probably a miniscule percentage are the crooks. But even miniscule percentage of a million adds up fairly quickly and we see stories like the current one.

I have a personal upper limit on buying stuff from eBay. If I want something, I place the maximum bid (which eBay automatically increments on your behalf) and be done with it. If I win it, I get it otherwise forget about it.

Personal anecdote: The most expensive thing I bought off of eBay was a Nikon FM3A camera. The price I was bidding was close to USD500. I was a little shaky to bid that and so I did some research (aka Googling). Found a similar post on a photography forum (under a similar name) that was a month older than the eBay listing. The words and sentences used in both the posts also were fairly similar. Also, a little more power Googling narrowed it down to someone in a specific university. So I wrote a question to the seller and phrased it in such a way that it would make him atleast hint at the university. He replied back with the kind of answer I was expecting and right away I placed my bid. I got the camera and am happy.

Moral of the story: Have a personal upper limit on bidding amount and do some Googling!

Re:eBay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772044)

that's why you read the user feedback, i don't buy things from people on ebay unless they have a 95% positive or better and more than at least 10 sells, and i make a point to read any negative feedback and the seller's responses to them.

i'd always be wary of someone selling a high price item on ebay with 0 feedback.

Re:eBay? (1)

convictus (798307) | about 10 years ago | (#9772062)

Why on earth would you want to buy electronics from people site unseen?
It's like looking for the sellers on pricewatch with no ratings.

Re:eBay? (1)

uberdave (526529) | about 10 years ago | (#9772178)

The key phrase is "with no ratings". EBay buyers and sellers *are* rated.

Good Sometimes (1)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | about 10 years ago | (#9772087)

I too am skeptical of Ebay, however, I have found a bargain once on some cisco routers. Nevertheless, I found them on Ebay - but was able to pick them up in person before payment was made (not far from where I live). That's the only reason I made the purchase. Even then, the guy was in a hurry to get cash - he said he was leaving town.

Re:Good Sometimes (1)

bs_testability (784693) | about 10 years ago | (#9772175)

hehe, sounds like a good deal... the owners of the routers are probably pissed though...

Re:Good Sometimes (1)

Zaranne (733967) | about 10 years ago | (#9772218)

Until recently, I didn't know you could actually buy NEW on eBay. A friend pointed out to me that I could get Dell computers at significantly lower prices on eBay, and they come FROM Dell. Not some third party freak. The only problem I had was that what I bid on (and won), was not exactly what I got. They gave me an integrated video card instead of the good one I wanted, and sent me a USB floppy drive instead. I kept the floppy drive, and argued with Dell for about 20 minutes before I finally got them to send me the correct video card.

How ELSE was I going to play Galaxies?!?

Re:eBay? (1)

stecoop (759508) | about 10 years ago | (#9772098)

Yeah. Never Send Money by any other means then Credit Card.

In Fact, I don't use eBay because eBay's loss protections plan doesn't cover the first $25 of up to a $200 loss REF [] . That's way more than 10% loss on top. If eBay would stand behind PayPal with 100% security, I might use the service. I can, however, usually buy new cheaper than the auctions - why is that?

Re:eBay? (1)

liquidpele (663430) | about 10 years ago | (#9772223)

If you get ripped off for a small amount, just call your credit card company and explain what happened within a reasonable amount of time. 99% of the time they will eat the cost for you assuming it hasn't happened a lot.

Re:eBay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772119)

You are assuming you CAN buy something new. I don't like ebay either, but one of the two things I've ever purchased was pretty much impossible to get a hold of ( a Japanese comic never imported, that was last printed in 1990 ). Old computers that can no longer be found, my friend got his race car off of ebay - a hard find, among many other things. Ebay has it's uses, it's just not a good idea to try to save some money buying things like a digital camera and such.

Re:eBay? (1)

pteaxwa (126635) | about 10 years ago | (#9772138)

Well, I never understood the craze about ebay

Maybe you don't but plenty of people do.

Cringely says: []
(4th para)
"eBay makes more profit than all the rest of the retail Internet businesses COMBINED. It is a money machine. In retail economic terms, eBay IS the Internet."

Re:eBay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772230)

as long as you don't count porn

Re:eBay? (2, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | about 10 years ago | (#9772153)

Some things don't exist new. Many 45 rpm records. Jukebox spare parts. Parts for old motorcycles.

People who buy new stuff via eBay... Questionable. I also question the bidders who run prices up to near new prices. If you can get a discount, eBay is great. If not, and the gang are just fine.

Caveat Emptor (1)

renehollan (138013) | about 10 years ago | (#9772251)

Well, I have purchased plenty of gear over Ebay, including a rather expensive pair of speakers for which I paid over US$1000.

The trick is to understand the risk.

For purchases of around $200 or less, the reputation of the seller, manner of shipping, payment, insurance, and general professionalism is usually enough to judge whether it is "safe". It's not worth soiling a rep over $200. Recent bad feedback is poison for an Ebayer.

However, for larger purchases, I prefer using a credit card that provides fraud protection, and if it is an individual that can't accept a credit card, either an escrow service acceptable to me, or cash on delivery works.

I purchased my speakers from an individual who was located (at the time) within 30 miles of me. Before bidding we had arranged that, should I be the high bidder, the speakers would be delivered, set up, tested, and payment made on the spot by certified cheque, upon my satisfaction that they were as advertised. The kicker was that I was willing to throw in an extra $70 for the delivery service -- that's what the shipping charges would have run, so it seamed fair.

To date, I have not been scammed on Ebay. I suppose it will happen at some point over a relatively small purchase. But, one has to weigh the risks against the convenience and rewards of an online auction system.

Sweet! (1)

EtherAlchemist (789180) | about 10 years ago | (#9771942)

Man, that is a great idea! I've been scammed a few times by the same kind of people. The last one I dealt with came to my attorney sending him a certified letter saying we were going to take him to court if he didn't produce a refund or my merchandise.

It goes the other way, too. I recently sold an Otis player on eBay and they guy failed to respond to emails or pay. I got to looking at his history and he had done the exact same thing to 3 other people. Funnier yet, he left neg feedback 3 weeks later saying the sellers scammed HIM. Loser.

Re:Sweet! (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 10 years ago | (#9772242)

Could it be that he has similar item for sale himself under a different username, so he bids for yours to bump the price up so that people will buy his instead of yours? Then gives you negative feedback to try and push you out of the market for next time?

Emails in Italics? (0, Offtopic)

Webmoth (75878) | about 10 years ago | (#9771943)

I've got Pine. And it comes from UW, not Italy.

Re:Emails in Italics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9771962)

HTML emails should be banned.

Re:Emails in Italics? (1)

Webmoth (75878) | about 10 years ago | (#9771991)

"HTML emails should be banned."

Hear! Hear!

Mirror (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9771964)

Re:Mirror (1)

chicagoan (670650) | about 10 years ago | (#9772139)

If i had mod points I'd give some for this link, this website is hilarious. Thanks AC!

Re:Mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772221)

Here's Sal's e-mail addies from the mirror link posted above:

Wow, proof positive he's the guy (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | about 10 years ago | (#9771980)

[I]Congradulashuns u have fownd the l0053R. No one but this guy writes in Italics.[/I]

Seriously, who bases identity based upon writing style, or even font style. That's surely not irrefutable proof, even to /. standards.

503 errors, the gross mis-spellings in headlines. It's a wonder I don't just find something better to do... like work or something.

Re:Wow, proof positive he's the guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772224)

That is called sarcasm, you know?

Slashdotted to oblivion (4, Funny)

cOdEgUru (181536) | about 10 years ago | (#9771986)

Kinda makes you wonder whether Sal posted the story himself..and must be laughing his way to the bank knowing the site's getting its ass raped by millions of pointed clicks..

By the way, hope Sal finds his way to the following conversation.

Sal, meet Bubba.
Bubba, meet thy Bitch.

This is a bunch of BS!!!! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9771993)

Ignore whatever this guys says on his webpage. There are plenty of good sellers on ebay, and plenty of bad buyers.

If anyone is interested I have laptops for sale. Contact me.


Re:This is a bunch of BS!!!! (1)

mentatchris (585868) | about 10 years ago | (#9772247)

Mod parent up... this is funny!

The E-Bal Pal Song! (3, Funny)

Jim_Hawkins (649847) | about 10 years ago | (#9772003)

Spur of the moment inspiration based on this article.
[to the tune of: Erie Canal]

I know a guy
His name is Sal
I buy stuff from him
He's my E-bay pal

I send all my money
To his locale
He'll send me his stuff
He's my E-bay pal

Watch out!
He just skipped out of town
Watch out!
'cause in legal fees he'll drown
And all my angry neighbors
They're gonna hunt him down
'cause we're gonna take out this E-bay cloooooown.

Oh...come on! It's funny!

Next.... (1)

holzp (87423) | about 10 years ago | (#9772004)

Next he can make a page about Slashdot, now that he is going to be bilked out of bandwidth overage fees.

where's he live? (2, Interesting)

jeffy124 (453342) | about 10 years ago | (#9772010)

I live near philly, maybe I'll pay him a visit.... or least go do a recon.

Re:where's he live? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772095)

he lives in south philly. 7 blocks from pat/geno steaks.

Re:where's he live? (4, Informative)

Jonsey (593310) | about 10 years ago | (#9772127)

or, you can realize that Microsoft isn't quite ALL bad.

TerraServer [] for the listed address.

Public domain pictures courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Don't do anything foolish, stupid, or illegal with this information, just beware that the internet is very very powerful these days, between phone lookups, address lookups, and now photographic lookups, things can be scary.

Re:where's he live? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772164)

In the response from Ack154...

1941 W. Passyunk Ave.
is his address

Sal, we know it was you... (1)

jcoleman (139158) | about 10 years ago | (#9772016)

jcomeau_ictx, or Salvatore Wise? Considering the accessibility of Justin's site, I think we can all guess who submitted this...

Why Do All Scammers Write in Lowercase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772020)

Did you ever notice that most scammers (particularly Nigerian scammers) write in all lowercase? This Ebay scammer does the same thing? Coincidence? Hmmm. I think not.

Re:Why Do All Scammers Write in Lowercase? (1)

jcuervo (715139) | about 10 years ago | (#9772068)

Did you ever notice that most scammers (particularly Nigerian scammers) write in all lowercase?
I was under the impression mugus wrote in all uppercase... :-)

Re:Why Do All Scammers Write in Lowercase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772149)

YOU'RE RIGHT! i wonder why these people write without good punctuation and alternate between ALL CAPS and lowecase, is it lack of education?,!hard to tell, man this is a reel good sentence, see i spel good, i'm really trustworthy, no really, just send me a check, yeah "p.o. box you're a jackass for sending money to me."

hah hah! (1)

torpor (458) | about 10 years ago | (#9772021)

way to help him out ... take justin spence's site out with a quick /.'ing or so ... ;)

Here there be dragons (1)

Grrr (16449) | about 10 years ago | (#9772041)

Looks like it's well past time for eBay to have human beings vet all sellers hawking stuff over, oh, $1K.


Re:Here there be dragons (1)

realdpk (116490) | about 10 years ago | (#9772132)

The problem here is that sellers are realizing that a lot of buyers are "greedy" - they're looking for a great deal, and are sometimes blinded by the deal.

If they're concerned that they may be scammed out of the money, they need to utilize an escrow service. They're not that expensive (compared to the alternative).

I had not heard about it. (0, Offtopic)

legomad (596194) | about 10 years ago | (#9772049)

Speak for yourself.

dang. wrong reply (1)

legomad (596194) | about 10 years ago | (#9772086)

I meant to reply to the first post.

i will try and assist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772063)

i am familiar with that area of South Philly and its only 7 blocks from Pat and Geno's Cheese steaks. its not the nicest area though.

Big Nasty Guys With Guns (5, Interesting)

T_O_M (149414) | about 10 years ago | (#9772071)

Since the scammer wants money orders, I assume that someone has sent a U.S. Postal Money Order.
_IF_ the sender was VERY CAREFUL to enclose the POMO with a "mail order" that PRECISELY describes the item ordered, the Postal Inspectors are VERY happy to help out; they HATE eBay scammers!
It usually takes them a simple fone call or casual visit (flash badge and BIG gun) to convince the seller to cough up the goods pronto.
If necessary, the inspector can patiently explain how 5 years "quality time" with Bubba is a 5 FULL years: no time off for ANYTHING in the Federal pen.

Been tried on me twice. In both cases I eventually received the merchandise - in the condition described at the time of the sale.
Yes - it make take as long as 9 months (in one case) but I have yet to be dissapointed by the power behind that $.90 piece of paper.


Salvatore Strikes Back!!! (5, Funny)

jebilbrey (764968) | about 10 years ago | (#9772104)

Salvatore probably couldn't get him to take his site down, so instead he posted this story on Slashdot and let the /. effect do his dirty work! Muhahaha!

Michelle Heinlein (4, Interesting)

Orbital Sander (237340) | about 10 years ago | (#9772112)

"Michelle" is one of the aliases that the computer personality in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress [] goes by. Cute.

Re:Michelle Heinlein (1)

bludstone (103539) | about 10 years ago | (#9772155)

I noticed that too :)

Well, he may be a scammer, but hes got good taste. (assuming hes referencing)

I love that book.

My post on his obituary thread.... (2, Interesting)

heyitsme (472683) | about 10 years ago | (#9772117)

I posted a back-link to this slashdot article on his obituary thread [] at the Lexus owner's club... it was promptly delted. You all should do the same.

Another Brian Silverman? (5, Interesting)

hacker (14635) | about 10 years ago | (#9772146)

I had something even worse [] happen to myself, and about 200 other people with a very similar-sounding laptop scam from "electro_depot", otherwise known as "Brian Silverman".

Luckily, my vigilance paid off, and Brian Silverman, aka "electro_depot" was caught and charged by the FTC [] for his crimes.

Dozens upon dozens of people were scammed by Brian over the course of a year or two. Many of them went to google to find out more about him, because he failed to return emails and phone calls. At that time, my Advogato diary entry was the only hit that google returned, and over 80 people contacted me directly via email to ask if I had ever received my laptop (at the time, I hadn't).

I had an officer, Det. Mike Gischner from the NYC "Computer Crime Squad" division call me directly, based on that same Advogato diary entry (the only one mentioning "Brian Silverman" by name at the time), asking me if I had heard of anyone else that had problems with Brian. I asked him if 120 people was enough. Silence on the phone. He thought I was kidding. I forwarded him all of the emails I had received at the time, and proceeded with his end of the case. He had no idea that there were that many people being screwed by this jerk.

As time went on, several web sites popped up to try to track the fraud from Brian Silverman, based on my original "collection" of users and emails that I had received. I take full credit for bringing enough evidence to bring him to justice.

I did eventually receive my laptop... the last one he actually sent out to anyone. I managed to track him down, at his home address, and called him one night asking (no no, demanding ) my laptop, or I would be at his front door the next morning. The laptop arrived a couple of days later.

As an aside note, the laptop, which I am typing this reply on right now, has been back to IBM 7 times for repair in the last couple of years, for repairs and replacement of almost every part, several times. Its definately a lemon, but it works well now.. and is basically brand-new again.

Basically his scam was as follows:

  • Put "several" laptop models online on eBay for sale (note: He never actually has these laptops at all, he has never even purchased them). Let's use 10 laptops as an example; 5 IBM laptops and 5 Sony laptops.
  • Get several dozen bidders on the laptops, raising the price around normal MSRP
  • Take the highest bidders on all of the auctions, and demand that they send the payment within 5 days of auction close
  • 10 people send in their payments for the "10" laptops (remember, he hasn't ever purchased a single laptop)
  • Keep the money as long as possible, in a bank account, until people start complaining about shipment
  • Delay delay delay, using whatever tactics are necessary. I've heard dozens of his excuses from various bidders.
  • Delay some more, making sure to keep that bank account interest rolling in (more profit in his pocket)
  • When people get heated enough to start threatening, send 8 people back their money (leaving the highest 1 IBM and 1 Sony buyer waiting) (more profit in his pocket)
  • It is now 2-3 months later, and the "top-of-the-line" laptop is now no longer top-of-the-line.
  • He purchases the laptops, wholesale, from the absolute-cheapest place he can find, having them shipped ground, factory-direct. At this point, since it is 1/4 of a year later, the laptops cost anywhere from 20%-40% less than the original auction price (more profit in his pocket).

Eventually, he decided that the whole "Ship the laptop" thing was just too much trouble, and he started keeping the money, never purchasing any laptops at all, for any bidders.

I'm glad he's rotting in a federal prison right now, getting 60 months (from what I understand), for his crimes, and an enormous $600k fine and penalties.

Pretty slick trick. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 10 years ago | (#9772253)

Up until he decided to keep the money, that was a pretty clever idea. I'm impressed.

Squaretrade, ebay, love-hate. (2, Interesting)

telemonster (605238) | about 10 years ago | (#9772147)

Anyone seen the recent 3rd party company "SquareTrade?" I bought an item from a seller, he never responded to any emails from me, he left negative feedback and a squaretrade case, I responded with my side, and squaretrade still spams me every day telling me I have to pay $20 to get this dorks negative feedbacks removed. I needed the MPEG2 encoder unit for the 5th hope conference in NYC. Time was critical.

The funny thing is, the guy never responded to squaretrade either. It eggs you on like it will take care of you and help you out, but then it always asks for 20 dollars. It's like the loch ness monster, only instead of $3.50 the fucker wants $20! This all happened months ago, and this Squaretrade piece of shit still emails me every other day about paying $20 to resolve some negative feedback that I honestly could care less about. It was false, I'm not giving the squaretrade assholes $20 to remove it from eBay's database.

Ebay and Paypal are a love/hate relationship. They have grown too big for their own good without proper competition to keep them in check.

I sold a Cray supercomputer on eBay. Ebay quickly took the $100 in commision, but the bidder was slow to pay. I went thru eBays 6 step process of reporting the non-paying bidder, and the bidder said he would pay. So eBay still charged me $100 in comission. Here I am 6 months later calling daily trying to get these people at VRSim to pay. I contacted eBay asking why they never did anything / refunded / assisted, and they said "Please go to this page" which took me back to step 2. The deal is, everything has to be done in 30 days .... so once time runs out, eBay is home free. It takes like 2 weeks minimum to complete the non-paying bidder process.

Oh well, what can you do? The deals are good. The fees keep going up on a site with basically no customer service. Gotta love it.

Haiku (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772168)

order from ebay
risky way to get cheap stuff
rip-offs commonplace

mod [Up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772174)


The Fool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772176)

As the saying goe:

The Fool and his money will soon be departed to Sal.

eBay = Buyers beware.

Caveat Emptor (4, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | about 10 years ago | (#9772177)

"Buyer beware" really is as old as the hills. Its an interesting challenge in this digital age as you can't see the person, and you can't be sure they are the person they say they are.

Would we buy a laptop off a bloke on the street who "promised to bring us the laptop same time tomorrow" ? Of course not. But on ebay we make a similar decision on a regular basis.

How about an "eBay bond" where sellers have to lodge the cash with eBay until the point at which the seller receives the goods, i.e. the money is in escrow until the whole transaction is complete. The company goes bust or fails to supply within a set period (agreed as part of the sale) then the money is refunded.

He should call the FBI.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9772193)

and have this guy and his wife tossed in the slammer.

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