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eBay vs. Romania's Online Scammers

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the sounds-like-a-movie dept.

Security 162

spinctrl links to an interesting story in the L.A. Times about the cloak-and-daggerism of fighting online scams in Romania, summing it up like this: "The country is the top source of auction site scams. One company is trying to do something about it, with increasing collaboration from local law enforcement over recent years. Ebay has sent over equipment and a team to help the authorities combat this form of cyber crime, which is run with all the organization of an industrial-scale business."

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Nigeria? (3, Interesting)

Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (221748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21830832)

You'd think Nigeria would have a host of auction scammers.

Re:Nigeria? (1)

Dramacrat (1052126) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831618)

Not quite, most of it comes from Romania and Bulgaria and, to a lesser extent, their neighboring countries.

Re:Nigeria? (3, Insightful)

Giovanni666 (1208942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832002)

I agree. Are they then going to China to stop counterfeits of all types? What about all the scammers in the USA? If ebay was serious, they would require proper registration at the gate. They would disallow user generated content which contain active scripting formats, and they would completely do away with html based emails which contain links, and 'second chance offers'. They would quit depending solely on the 'community' to police the site (READ: FREELOADING). This is nothing but feeble PR spin, which borders on racism. Simple as that, & they know it. ebay is fraught with troubles of all sorts, & trying desperately to help their sagging image. The fact is, they try a lot harder to conceal the fraud rather than fix the real problems. They have been caught covering up & spewing falsehoods over this entire hacking & Vladuz situation over & again. Back in the summer of '07, around late June-early July they had a similar PR stunt. "eBay cracks down on Romanian fraudsters",1000000189,39287770,00.htm [] After that, the hackers UNLOADED on ebay bigtime! We started to see 10s of thousands of fake listings on hijacked accounts rather than just dozens or hundreds. Anyone ever heard of jimmy.cry?

Re:Nigeria? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21834670)

They do. I've heard many complaints about Nigerians attempting to pull the counterfeit bank check scam on people who list items for sale on eBay and other forums.

lol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21830836)

fr0st p1st

If I Was a Mudslum (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21830858)

If I was a mudslum I would assassinate any woman with the temerity to run for public office.

Allah is a bloodthirsty God, and Mudslums are his evil minions.

Re:If I Was a Mudslum (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832148)

"Mudslums"? Oh, please. At least call them by the right word: sandniggers.

Good.. (3, Insightful)

blinx_ (16376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21830866)

I'm all for something being done about the scammers, eBay sometimes looks like all it cares about is getting their own share of the auction price. However what I don't understand is that people still fall for these scams, even the tiniest amount of logic applied before sending money to the scammers would eliminate >90% of the cases. Havn't everyone by now heard about, "If it's too good to be true, it proberly is"?

Re:Good.. (2, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21830992)

If it's too good to be true, it proberly is
I can honestly say that I've never heard that before.

Re:Good.. (1)

blinx_ (16376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831054)

Darn me for not using preview.

If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't :)

Re:Good.. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831206)

I think he was referring to your invention of the word "proberly". The phrase makes sense either way, like:

"If it seems too good to be true, it probably is [too good to be true]."
"If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't [true]."

We know what you mean either way.

Re:Good.. (5, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831154)

I remember last year I was looking at getting another Sony HDC1 HDV camcorder for my business. I liked them better because they used HDV tape and had a standard mini-jack for mic input instead of Sony Propitiatory interface crap. The only way to find one was on Ebay.

I ended up winning the auction at around $800 (IIRC). Most of these cameras were going on Ebay for around $900 for onces that were "refurbished" with half the parts missing and $1200 used in good condition. (Not bad considering I paid about $1700 for mine brand new).

At anyrate the auction was reported from someone in Oregon and they said they accepted paypal. After the auction I got instructions to send the money western Romania. And this wasn't their bid pay service (or whatever they call it. I did use it once for a pair of goalie skates, worked out well).

That was a huge red flag (no pun intended) that something was wrong. A seller that was supposed to be in Oregan, said they accepted paypal, but wanted the money sent to Romania? The next day I got a message from Ebay saying the seller's account had been compromised and that the auction had been cancelled.

A couple days later I got a nasty message from the Romanian threatening to leave bad feedback. So they got the operation down to a science.

When dealing with online transactions you have to use common sense. No paypal or merchant/credit card service: no deal. I have one credit card, with a $750 limit, that I only use for online transactions. Anything goes funky, I report it, out $50 and cut up the card. (And I've had it happen once).

Re:Good.. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831364)

You're going to buy a HDV camera without XLR audio input ? crazy

Re:Good.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21831394)

When dealing with online transactions you have to use common sense. No paypal or merchant/credit card service: no deal. I have one credit card, with a $750 limit, that I only use for online transactions. Anything goes funky, I report it, out $50 and cut up the card. (And I've had it happen once).

I've got a Mastercard that offers one-shot credit card numbers that are generated on demand. Do you have access to anything like this? I use this feature for online purchases all the time.

Re:Good.. (1)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831694)

Your first red flag should have been the seller's inability to spell "Oregon."

Re:Good.. (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831704)

A manager I worked under once had a similar experience.

There were lots of red flags that this was just a bad deal waiting to happen. Never mind he was getting a laptop at $500 off the cost anyone was selling it for.

Every time he asked me a question about the deal I said don't do it. In fact, I wasn't the only person who said don't do it and he didn't listen. Needless to say, he wasn't a bright man and he was blinded by greed. (not the first time).

He actually did send the money via western union to some place.

Guess what? Well it's not hard to understand the laptop never showed up.

The best part is he fought like crazy trying to get some one to cover the cost of his folly. eBay, the credit card company and I think he even tried speaking to western union. He was never very good at admitting he was at fault or it was his mistake.

Re:Good.. (4, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831830)

Same thing, except 'buyer' was in Indiana and the Shipping was to AZ.

I got a message about one of my auctions "Do you accept credit card, I wish to purchase all of your units."

I play along and within a few hours I get all the credit card info via e-mail:
"Here is my credit card information:
John Smith
Crown Point, IN
(Cc#) (#Exp)

Please ship to Bob Jones
Phoenix, AZ"

The FIRST thing I did was look up the phone number sure enough, it belonged to John Smith. So I called him and let him know to cancel his card, it had been stolen. Left a voice message on both his cell and home phone.

I debated sending a cinder block via COD but I got lazy.

The only thing that did tick me off is I didn't even get a thank you from John. Nothing.
I would also suggest a credit card company that lets you create 'virtual' credit cards. Citibank does so for every online transaction I set a $ amount limit and the card automatically expires the next month. The # is one time use only so if anyone tries to use it again or the merchant tries to charge more $, it gets denied.

If I buy a $23.43 widget from Widget Co, I create a new Card for $30, use it once. And then it's done. The only time I ever use my Real Number is in physical form.

Re:Good.. (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832158)

Reminds me of the anecdote, told to me by someone who knew the guy it happened to:

Guy buys laptop from dude on ebay, sends money order. Guy gets laptop box in mail. Guy opens box, finds big flat rock. Guy realizes he is screwed.

I've never bought off ebay, believe it or not. I have, however, bought some A/V stuff from Amazon's marketplace and had very good experiences. Given the rise in the general uproar of "teh ebay suxxorz" I doubt I ever WILL buy from ebay.

Re:Good.. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21833800)

I've never had a problem buying or selling on eBay.

I think its just the minority moaning loudly.

eBay is very useful for finding cheap or rare items.

Re:Good.. (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832314)

"That was a huge red flag (no pun intended)"
Romania is not a communist country any more (since 1989) if that's what you (not) intended to say.

Re:Good.. (1)

petehead (1041740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831596)

Just yesterday, I bought a piece of OEM software on Ebay. I paid via PayPal and, soon after, received the shipping confirmation and tracking number. Then, three hours after that, I received an email from Ebay saying that they had removed the listing and would not explain why. Good job pulling the listing of a completed auction, Fraud Department.

true story... (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831722)

eBay is fine with scam operation as long as they get a cut. A couple of months ago I listed a laptop. It was inmediately "purchased" (via buy it now) by an englishman who wanted it shipped to her daughter who happened to be in Nigeria. Payment via a fake scrow agency, etc. Anyway, I couldn't relist the item inmediately (you have to wait for payment for a few days even if you know that it's a scam) so I decided to just sell it somewhere else. Well, after 10 days or so I could finally notify ebay that payment haven't been received, so they withdraw their action % charge...but still expected payment for the listing! I couldn't even relist it on time, and when they offered to relist it for free the item was long gone. I wasted time on this and they still charged me. BTW, I only allowed shipping within my country, so eBay shouldn't have allowed the Nigerian to bid in the first place... Long story short: Fuck eBay and their antiscam policies.

Re:Good.. (1)

xkhaozx (978974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832376)

My friend was once scammed by someone from Romania.

He was selling something, and some person from Romania bought the item. The address on the Paypal account was not confirmed. Normally, because there is no confirmed address, you would have to ship with a signature required option for shipping. My friend hasn't had much experience with shipping to unconfirmed addresses so he ended up only getting "Delivery Confirmation" for the shipping, which is not the same thing.

He had asked me on advice with what to do, but there was some confusion with what the address problem was, so I told him to go ahead, because the eBay account that that purchased the product had maybe 100+ feedback that was around 100% positive.

So as the story normally goes, after my friend shipped the item, the Romanian guy reversed the payment. What happened next was very interesting... I told my friend right away to put negative feedback on his near-perfect account to prevent the guy from doing this to anyone else. But.. to both our surprises, the eBay listing was gone. Completely. There was no explanation, or email from eBay stating why the listing was gone. Because of this, there was no way to put feedback on the guys account.

My friend actually had to call eBay to find out what happened. Apparently, the guy had told eBay that his account was 'hacked' and that he did not make the purchase on the listing. And of course, eBay decided to protect the guy who was supposedly stupid enough to have his account stolen, and they removed the auction so that he does not get negative feedback.

So... If you ever want a listing completely removed, just tell eVBay your account was hacked. Apparently, they also use some sort of tool to determine if you actually did get hacked (so most likely, did you log in from two different IP's, very thorough examination).

It's easy to avoid (1, Flamebait)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21830874)

It's easy to avoid scams. I say they just educate people to the point where these scams are no longer profitable.

-Don't purchase/sell to certain countries.
-Avoid any auctions that don't allow a well-known escrow service.
-Request delivery confirmation on everything you send out.

Problem solved.

Re:It's easy to avoid (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831056)

First mistake is assuming you can educate enough of the people to make it not profitable. Second mistake is assuming education itself can cure self serving nature. The whole point of these types of crime is that it feeds upon peoples desire to maximize profit / savings.

Do people really think that they can buy Photoshop for $99 when it is sold everywhere else for $299? or Vista Super Delux for $49.95 when there is no such product? Most people know when they're about to be had, but they have this override switch in their brain that tells them that this is the "exception".

I'm sorry, but I have little sympathy for people being had by Nigerian, Online Pharmaceutical, Sexy Girl, Cheap Software scams.

Ebay has always scared me a bit, because you just don't know who you're dealing with. However your suggestions are certainly a good place to start. It will not ever solve the problem because the problem is human nature.

Re:It's easy to avoid (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831156)

Besides which, these types of scams feed upon pure numbers. You might educate 95% of the populace enough for them not to fall for scams, but the scammers will still feed quite well on the remaining 5%. It's a bit like spam. It costs nearly nothing to send out a million spam/scam attempts, so virtually any money that comes in is profit. Five percent of a million is still 50,000 folks waiting to lose a few thousand bucks each. And 50,000 * a few thousand each = lots of cash.... especially in a place like Romania.

Re:It's easy to avoid (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831404)

I suppose you're right. I can be idealistic.

A friend of mine did just that last month. He was looking for a guitar, and found a great deal on a nice fender, so he bid on it. Later on he let me know about the auction. The first thing I noticed was the phrase "No Paypal." He only wanted money orders- you know, those things you can't take back once they're sent.

I alerted my friend, but he was too starry-eyed about the price and the product to see what was going on. His defense was that the seller had a good rating. (Nevermind the posibility of a hi-jacked account).

He won the auction, and sent a money order, against my recommendation. A few days later nothing happened, so he contacted the seller to get this: "Uh, your thing you sent wasn't signed, so I can't cash it."

The deal had obviously gone sour.

Interestingly enough, the seller sent back an unsigned money-order and had my friend sign it- send it back, and eventually he got the guitar.

A good example, and a poor lesson for my friend. It had miraculously worked out for him, against the odds. Everything about that deal was shady and I certainly wouldn't have taken part, if it had been me. Unfortunately, it worked out, which hasn't helped do anything but confirm a bad habit. He thinks my advice was bad, and he'll continue doing stupid stuff with his money.

Ah, well. A fool and his money are soon parted, right?

Oh, and about my parent(2 up), flamebait? Come on! It was an honest suggestion. Gimme a break here.

Re:It's easy to avoid (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831858)

I wouldn't use "No PayPal" as an immediate red flag. I Put "No Paypal" in all my auctions. I detest them they're holding $800 of my money hostage because somebody I sold something to paid with money that he got from someone else that was 'stolen'. Their fraud detection is a scam and I honestly can't see why anyone uses them.

What I do put is that I accept "Credit Cards" and then if the person wants to pay with CC I just send them an invoice via Google Checkout. I don't put GC directly in the auction because eBay is protecting us from the big evil Google.
So your entire story boils down to:
Won Auction
Paid for auction. Forgot to sign the check. Signed check.
Got goods?

I don't have a problem sending a money order to "John Smith in Michigan," I'm not going to send a check to "Ntonenth Nhontan, Nigeria." There's common sense and then there's being hyper paranoid about everything. PayPal wouldn't help you much in either situation. They'd send you a nice "We tried to recover your funds but the guy only had $10 in his account. Here's $10 of your $500 back. Thank you for using Pay Pal"

Some people don't like paypal, some people actually prefer checks and money orders. It's how I do most of my business on ebay with only 50% wanting to do Credit Cards.

Re:It's easy to avoid (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832038)

It just doesn't make sense to blindly send a money order to somebody you don't know. It's easy to take the money and leave. You can't put a stop payment on a money order like you can a check. You can chargeback a credit card.

Having too much faith in humanity doesn't make me paranoid in contrast. It just makes you too trusting.

Re:It's easy to avoid (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21834474)

How is it any different than PayPal? It's money, it's easy to take and leave. PayPal is Damn slow when it comes to account recovery. Set up 2-3 paypal accounts. Bounce the money around. "Buy" and "Sell" some things on ebay. Go through Tor. Dump it into an account and walk out the door with the money. All you need to become "Verified" is a routing number and an account number.

If you don't pay with credit card in Paypal, you have no 'charge back' option.

Re:It's easy to avoid (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21833830)

The problem is with your system, if you want to scam me then there is little I can do.
At least Paypal is part of eBay so they know for a fact you've paid.

Re:It's easy to avoid (2, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21834428)

And if I decide to scam you with paypal how is it any different?

All I need to open an Emigrant Direct account is a few numbers (which probably aren't hard to come by). I can link the paypal account to the emigrant direct account then flush it out from there.

Congratulations, so ebay knows you've paid. If the money isn't in the account, it's gone. Kiss it good by. Ask me how my Shiny new G5 tower is that I never got. I went through PayPal I was young and dumb. I got the stamp of approval of a "protected" auction.

I'm now short $2k and a G5. Nothing seemed to good to be true... PayPal was thankfully able to recover $200 out of the account.

Thanks PayPal!

While we're at it... (2, Insightful)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831094)

Let's teach people about tech so they don't ask irritating questions and make the same mistakes.

Why stop there, though? Let's teach people about economics so there are no more money problems. Then we should teach them how to drive so they don't have auto accidents. Perhaps we could teach them about copyright law so there is no more maf-IAA... etc. Point being that educating the general populace and getting them to act on their newfound knowledge is usually easier said than done.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832006)

Mod parent up! He's got all kinds of crazy good ideas!

Re:It's easy to avoid (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832104)

Avoid any auctions that don't allow a well-known escrow service.
That one doesn't work outside of the US. Escrow is primarily a US phenomenon, there are few well known Escrow companies domestically in most countries, and even fewer that operate internationally.

I can't agree with you (5, Informative)

gr8dude (832945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832338)

I happen to be living in Moldova, a small country which probably scores worse than Romania if you check it with your "country-o-meter".Romania is our Western neighbor (the really long story is that our countries used to be united, but this is just FYI).

A lot of times I have to deal with the fact that an online-store does not deliver to Moldova, so either I have to know someone abroad (who lives in a "good" country and can make the purchase for me) or forget about the product.

But hey, we're people too! We are intelligent, reasonable, we have feelings, we trust other people, and other people trust us. Simply 'blacklisting' a country is not a good solution, because it still leaves a lot of unhappy folk.

I even had cases in which some companies refused to sell software (no export control regulations involved), all they have to do is send me an email with the registration number _after_ the money is transferred to their account; but no...

What the hell will I do? Stick my hand into "teh tubes", grab their necks and then suck them into the abyss?

In other words, item#1 in your list should be removed, imho.

Re:I can't agree with you (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832606)

I've never been a big fan of universal blacklisting. It's a lot like racism.

The problem is simply this: I still have no assurance that it isn't fraud, and as this article says Romanians are dangerous. And I'm an American, you expect me to differentiate between Romania and surrounding countries? If there's one thing you should know, we love us some propaganda- and you are the target. As far as I'm concerned, you're just trying to swindle me out of good judgment so your neighbors can rob me and you can laugh all night long. :P

No but seriously, I feel for you, I just can't do anything about it.

Re:I can't agree with you (2, Insightful)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21833546)

What the hell will I do? Stick my hand into "teh tubes", grab their necks and then suck them into the abyss?

In other words, item#1 in your list should be removed, imho.
Sorry, but until your country is statistically a good bet the fact that you personally are an honourable upstanding individual is completely irrelevant to me. Blacklists are unjust, but they're not for the benefit of the people on them - they're for the people who use them.

Re:I can't agree with you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21833570)

Well, replace "Romania" with a bad ISP, and suspected scams with suspected SPAM, and the Internet's answer is "you are the problem. You need to leave your ISP/country".

I have systems with large, well travelled forums that are blacklisted by various RBLs. We run legitimate systems, but operate them on an ISP that has had a lot of problems with customers that generate spam. When I try to get my systems out of the blacklist, the response is "you live in a bad neighborhood, the solution is to leave the neighborhood".

Effort (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21830916)

It always amazes me the effort criminals use to commit crimes. However, I finally realized what the issue is and it comes right back down to supply and demand.

The demand for legal use of the skills required to pull this off, is already saturated with the supply of legal workforce, so the criminal moves to a more lucrative marketplace, the black market. When applying the same skill level and effort of his legal counterparts, the criminal maximizes his/her profit potential by moving to a marketplace that has much lower supplies.

The only thing that can counter act this phenomenon is making getting caught extremely expensive, thus driving up the "cost" of the black marketplace. I suggest to you, that financial or incarceration penalties are not nearly enough to drive the markets to unprofitability, that it requires something more costly and more effective ....

I'll leave the particulars up everyone else to ponder.

Re:Effort (1)

m4ximusprim3 (619388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831082)

Good thinking ace!

Let me advocate the devil for a second- what if the penalties are already high, but *gasp* they aren't being levied?

Why, then someone would have to send over a high tech team to assist the authorities in catching the criminals! And you might see a news story about it on some websit...wait a minute!

Re:Effort (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831194)

Um, you're not thinking creatively enough. Might I suggest a freelance team similar to [] :-D

Re:Effort (1)

m4ximusprim3 (619388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831656)

the eb-A-y team?

Re:Effort (1)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831204)

Thinking economically about these problems is a good way to approach them, but your reasoning is not complete.

Criminals tend to believe they will get away with it. Obviously instituting the death penalty would dissuade some, but I don't want people to be killed for fraud.

A better way, possibly concurrent to increasing sentences, is to make sure they actually get caught. All the judges and legislators in the world can't do anything if no one can enforce the law.

Re:Effort (4, Interesting)

fia (861441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831314)

I am from Romania and I can assure you that the "supply of legal workplace" is very abundant here. If you are an IT guy you can easily find work for about 3 times the medium salary in Romania. I think most of the scams that are done from Romania are done by a small group of people which specialized in this. Not only eBay, but in Romania it is kind of a national sport to scam, starting with the political class and down to the beggars in the street.

Re:Effort (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832004)

Romanians = romany = gypsies. Basically they're a nation of villainous scum who live as parasites on everyone else.

Re:Effort (1)

GringoCroco (889095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832062)

romany = gypsies. Romanians != romany ... you insensitive Anonymous Clod.

Re:Effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832142)

Well I'll tell you one thing about gyppo's, they sure don't come from Germany.

dating fraud? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21830934)

From the fine article:

...Russians have a profitable niche in Internet dating fraud...

What exactly is dating fraud? Is this where you setup a date with some hot Russian gal online, only to wake up in a hotel room a week later married to the scariest woman you have ever seen?

Re:dating fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21831002)

Yes. I would elaborate more, but this Holiday Inn wireless connection is about to expire, and Helga is demanding tha I come back to bed to massage her bunions.

Re:dating fraud? (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831262)

Can you tell my mom to pick up some milk on her way back from the hotel?

Re:dating fraud? (1)

edawstwin (242027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832150)

What exactly is dating fraud?

I believe the article is referring to the practice of placing an ad for a foreign husband, then demanding money for postage, visas, plane tickets, etc... from any responders.

Reminds me of a Romanian friend of mine... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21830946)

... his best joke was:

What's the recipe for a Romanian omelette?

Step 1: steal a dozen eggs.

high tech gypsies (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21830986)

Nothing has really changed over the years in Romania.

Re:high tech gypsies (3, Interesting)

m0n5t3r (1154605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832498)

not really... our gypsies (the ones that are not dirt poor) are rarely "high tech", they make their money by sending their children to beg and pick pockets, stealing cars abroad and selling them here, robbing and stealing from our Italian ans Spanish friends; some of them may be at the top of the scamming groups, organizing the business, or at the bottom, acting as decoys that receive the money (the decoys are the ones that usually get to serve time in jail).

Most of the ones collecting the stupidity tax from the US are actually Romanian kids, 13 to 20-22 years old; after the age of 18 many quit, because it's more risky (while they are minors the police can't do much to them, they aren't even allowed to beat the crap out of suspects nowadays), or get in the back, taking care of creating fake escrow sites, handling relations, etc...

The locals call them "hackers" because they use computers and do something bad, but they aren't really that computer literate (my brother had a classmate that needed someone else to start the computer and browser for him, and yet was highly successful in the scamming business), all they need is a web browser and a WYSIWYG html editor like Dreamweaver for creating their escrow sites.

Nothing has really changed over the years in Romania.

Wrong, the problem is slowly solving itself, as things evolve: the first item a kid that made an assload of money buys is a fast car, and a lot have died in car accidents, some more went to jail for 1-2 years (and our prisons aren't pretty); also, money laundering is a lot harder due to our EU membership.

Re:high tech gypsies (1)

calculadoru (760076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21834960)

Nothing has really changed over the years in Romania. ...says the brave AC.

Nice image piece (5, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831096)

Slashdot story about ebay sitting on its hands and doing nothing when given proof of fraud, complete with stories from slashdotters who used to work for ebay: []

This guy adds in his own personal experience, where eBay wanted a $25 fee to handle a fraud case: []

In 2002, ebay sits on its hands and does nothing when given evidence of fraud: []

FTC says Ebay is the #1 source of online fraud complaints (circa 2003):,-states-take-on-online-auction-fraud/2100-1017_3-999009.html []

Still a problem in 2004: []

...and the beat goes on! Just google "ebay fraud" and see hundreds of news stories and personal accounts...

I recall reading a few years ago that eBay was a source of something like 75% of all complaints about online fraud. Just yesterday I saw an item for sale by a guy with a positive rating of something like 24,000. Unless he's selling 6 items a day for the last 10 years, I see nothing has changed.

Re:Nice image piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21831598)

The answer is simple.... dont do business on ebay.

After the phishing scams got so official looking i couldnt tell the difference, i forwarded it on to ebay with a note saying this is why i was closing my account & wouldnt be back.

If more people did this, ebay would have to take notice.

Re:Nice image piece (2, Interesting)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831700)

I recall reading a few years ago that eBay was a source of something like 75% of all complaints about online fraud. Just yesterday I saw an item for sale by a guy with a positive rating of something like 24,000. Unless he's selling 6 items a day for the last 10 years, I see nothing has changed.

Oh, you must mean the new ebay feature where they let you create your own random feedback number? /rolls eyes...

There are plenty of people/businesses on ebay that have legitimate high feedback numbers - a 24,000 isn't even "high" by most standards any more. I regularly buy small items like cell phone chargers, USB cables, etc. from vendors with hundreds of items for sale at any given time and a vast majority have very high feedback numbers.

Yes, there are plenty of scammers out there, but I'd be willing to bet that if you sat down and went through the stack of "ebay fraud" reports you would find that a significant portion fall into the:

"I was too busy to read the fine print in the auction and didn't realize that I would have to pay a high price for shipping & handling *and* be charged for insurance whether I want to pay for it or not!",

another large percentage will fall into the "I bought this item that was clearly labeled with 'As-Is' and it's broken and they won't refund my money",

and yet another percentage fall into the "The auction promised to send me 1 lb of un-searched rubies/emeralds/antique coins/etc. and all I got was a 1 lb bag of crap with no valuable rubies/emeralds/antique coins/etc.",

another small group will be of the "I paid for this item the day before Christmas and paid extra for overnight shipping, and now it's Christmas Day and where is my box? I was robbed!"

and so on, and then the last 35-45% of complaints actually work out to intentional scams where someone "sold" something and never delivered, or sold something like "X-Box 360 Box (with no contents)" or "BIG PICTURE of TELEVISION!" or something similar. I have no qualms about shopping on ebay, but I make it a point to check feedback numbers, length of membership, etc. and even if those numbers look good, I intentionally avoid any auction that is too good to be true, although that did end up with me missing out on a steal of a deal on a dual-core server that was listed with a starting bid of $0.99 and a Buy It Now of $0.99 instead of the $499.00 it was supposed to be...

Re:Nice image piece (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21831762)

As a former employee of eBay and someone who still has friends who work there, I know that eBay does in fact take fraud seriously. They are also a serious target. And there are legions of people who seem to think that eBay is out there trying to screw people over. They are not. EBay fully understands how the fraud is hurting their business.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that is not publicly discussed.

Re:Nice image piece (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21833308)

So can you give me the name and number of one of these employees who takes fraud seriously? I'd like to see someone jailed, please.

Re:Nice image piece (2, Informative)

Giovanni666 (1208942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832616)

Here ya go. Ebay has been caught in so many lies about their crappy security it is not funny. Anyone remember that thing about the credit card numbers getting posted on the Trust & Safety forum on 9-25-2007? They lied through their teeth and tried to cover it all up. [] [] []

They also threatened, intimidated, and blackballed websites that had dared to post the facts about them being hacked. []

What about the massive hack & hijacking attacks all summer long? Looky here: [] 60 thousand fake items! They tried to cover all that up too. They pulled threads about it warning people in record time, while the fake listings stayed up forever, and kept coming.

Simply put, ebay is hacked. Ebay is dishonest. ebay has been caught too many times in too many falsehoods to ever be trusted by any reasonable person again. Let me also remind everyone that ebay is sending bills to the hijack victims, & trying some strongarm tactics to make the victims pay. []

To top everything off, the ebay execs have been dumping their own stock like there is no tomorrow.

Does anyone really trust this creepy outfit?

Re:Nice image piece (1)

spamuell (1208984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832986)

Just this week, a parliamentary enquiry [] in the UK found that ebay profits by colluding with black-market ticket agencies.

Nigeria vs. Romania (1)

ufoman (544261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831110)

Every time I'm on eBay both buying and selling I get like ten Nigerians and only five Romanians trying to scam me. Heck I can't even post anything on Craigslist without having some Nigerian try to scam me.

Happens to everybody... sometimes (1)

kaynaan (1180525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831112)

Nobody is immune from scam's
Happened to a good friend of mine , who has been working in the IT industry for > 15 years.
The money he lost in the scam was nothing compared to the loss of credibility it had a really bad affect on his contract work when word got out.

common if you see 'Nigeria'+ 'transfer money'+ 'you get 20%'+ 'obvious bogus name'

you don't think somethings wrong you are not worth the paper you're degree was printed on.
Now he is really interested in the Security Area.

Ebay ad (5, Interesting)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831180)

The article sort of looks like an Ebay ad. So, the billion dollar corporation has devoted one (whole) employee to fighting Romanian scammers and donated some pc's etc to the local police. Unless that one person is John Rambo, this is not enough. It is however enough for Ebay to claim "hey look, we 're doing something, when we don't even really have to".
From the horror stories I have heard from people around me about Paypal (owned by Ebay) scams and the indifference with which Paypal deals (or more accurately does not deal) with them, I know that Ebay is doing far less than it should, even when their own payment system is involved, and even when the scammers are here in the US. Deal with that first - it is so much easier - and stop BSing us about hunting down Western Union scammers in Romania...

Re:Ebay ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21831450)

Unless that one person is John Rambo, this is not enough.

Chuck Norris wasn't available?

Re:Ebay ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832396)

He's busy suing right now, while John Rambo is back in action ;)

Secret Service Agents?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832404)

Why is the U.S. wasting my tax dollars by sending Secret Service agents along for protection? I doubt they're investigating Counterfeiting, or protecting the president... I think eBay can afford to hire their own security guards. But then again it really doesn't come as a surprise when they fuck the public over to protect the record and movie companies, or the tele-co's, or anyone else that isn't required to pay a mandatory yearly bribe (ie. Taxes) and they can squeeze for some extra 'campaign contributions'.

Truly, Fascism at work!

They gave the equipment to WHO? (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831246)

Why do I suspect that much of this donated equipment has gone straight to the scammers. An operation as big as they say pretty much has to involve the "authorities".

Re:They gave the equipment to WHO? (2, Funny)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831816)

Yeah, it turns out ebay was scammed by a Romanian group that pretended to be anti-scammers. Ebay should've seen the warning sign when the email they received about the matter stated that once they receive the equiptment, they'll send back 10 times the equiptment, plus 8 extra computers for their trouble.
tsk tsk, ebay.

that is why i don't trust ebay (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831270)

Cause people will screw you over for money. i am so reminded of this case on judge judy. []

Who hurts more (1)

smARMie (743226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831272)

All these scams by romanians scammers hurt more for other romanians who would like to buy or sell something legit, but can't get the chance, because they are look upon with suspicion. Aren't there some services (escrow i think they are called) who make sure that the transaction goes according with the way it should?

Re:Who hurts more (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831730)

Not to be too cynical, but anytime I'm faced with trying to decide whether an online ad, auction, offer, etc, is legit or not, if the word "escrow" comes up, I'm all of a sudden less interested.

Why should I even get involved with a seller who's

a>in another country,
b>won't take paypal,
c>doing things very similar to what other known scammers are doing?

Re:Who hurts more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832680)

Here's a fun exercise:

1) Define 'escrow'.
2) Explain what service PayPal provides.
3) Compare the results from steps 1 & 2.

U.S. Secret Service agents??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21831324)

"U.S. Secret Service agents escort her..." Oh?

Is this some special offer that the Secret Service makes to all US citizens traveling to Romania? Or is this something that only big, rich corporations get? Am I, as a US taxpayer, paying for providing security to an employee of a company that can assuredly pay for a private security firm?

Never mind, I already know the answers.

Re:U.S. Secret Service agents??? (1)

Cowculator (513725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832234)

You don't know nearly as many of the answers as you think. The Secret Service isn't just a security force -- it used to be part of the Treasury Department before getting moved to Homeland Security, and one of its responsibilities is investigating fraud [] . You, as a US taxpayer, are paying to have them assist in a fraud investigation (and one that happens to be dangerous as well) to protect US taxpayers such as yourself.

what about the clown buyers? (1)

shlashdot (689477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831356)

I have no problem sorting through the sellers, but what is not usually mentioned is the fraudulent buyers, and the fact that a seller has no way to prevent anyone from "buying" an item. At that point one is out the listing and sales fee, and the hassle of trying to get it back is not worth it. So we no longer sell on ebay.

I suppose ebay should have an "approve buyer?" button, but to my knowledge they don't.

Is There A Way to Confirm a Seller is Legit? (1)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831420)

I've bought and sold on eBay about 25 times in the past few years without any problems.

Now I'm watching for camera lenses for a new Canon 40D (bought from Amazon), but my wife (who checked out several 40Ds on eBay) warned me about these scam rings and that cameras and camera accessories are a favorite bait to lure unknowing buyers.

Apparently the eBay ratings system can be gamed. Does anyone know of a way to confirm a seller is legit before placing a bid?

Re:Is There A Way to Confirm a Seller is Legit? (2, Interesting)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832430)

Somewhat off topic, but a roommate of mine who was into buying high end photo equipment on ebay, and had a friend who got ripped off in a big way.

He found some equipment he was interested in buying, bid on it, or "buy it now"'ed it. He contacted the seller for payment info, since the price was around $10,000. The seller was anxious to ship the stuff, and got his ship to address, so he could get it out. The seller contacted him sometime before payment was sent, but after he had the ship to address (which happened to be his home address.)

About a week later, his house was broken into, and all his existing high end photo equipment was stolen.

Of course, the timing could be coincidental, but it's interesting that the auction was cancelled in such a way, once the seller had the address of someone who's buying high end photo equipment...what are the chances the buyer has more high end equipment lying around?

Highly organized (3, Interesting)

teal_ (53392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831492)

The amazing thing is that in Romania, Russia, China, as well as other countries-- online fraud is a full-time business with real offices and employees and everything, just like your job but the mission statement of "the company" is to make money by devising and executing online fraud. They have R&D teams that come up with incredibly sophisticated attacks and they have teams to execute the existing plans, etc. The employees get vacation time, salary, benefits, everything. It's an actual real job, it's basically a wing of organized crime, not just some guy in a basement outsmarting the security folk at ebay. The local politicians are greased to look the other way and impede law enforcement, which is what makes it so difficult to shut them down. There are ISPs in Russia _known_ to be owned by the mob. It takes serious anti-fraud resources to combat these people.

Re:Highly organized (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832970)

Can you actually provide an example or it's just that you're full of BS?

Re:Highly organized (1)

a_claudiu (814111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21833494)

I don't know about Russia or China but what you say about Romania is wrong. I'm Romanian and I never heard about companies doing this. Hearing about a gang or a group of teenagers "hackers" yes but never about a company. Yes, the corruption is big in Romania but not so big. Considering Romania is part of EU and NATO no politician will ever think about protecting this kind of criminality. So at least 1/3rd of what you say is BS.

Informative? (1)

gandracu (951016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21833842)

Are you kidding me? Actually, are you kidding yourselves? How are teal_'s opinions informative? I mean, besides informing us of teal_'s willingness to throw unsubstantiated claims left and right?

Hey ! Don't generalize ! (1, Interesting)

Random-words-writer (1157121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831532)

I'm from Romania and I have few friends that are great online-traders and deliver the object every time ! And some things that worth to know:
  • this year we received the right to make full-access accounts on PayPal (some time ago we couldn't receive money, only send and at the beggining of this year we couldn't make accounts at all)
  • many of us are trustworthy people
  • some of us are considered "hackers" by the media beucase they are selling fictive objects on eBay
  • and a part of the population thinks it's a hard thing to lie online, on eBay
  • all users should buy big things only from sellers with good feedback
  • on our online auctions site, the most popular delivering and payment method is "face-to-face", mainly beucase there is a large group of "traders" in Bucharest, followed by the ramburs shipping (at the postal office, when you receive the package yo,u give the money)
  • there are some legal and good online businesses in Romania that rely on PayPal, so if they'll block our accounts again, this won't be a good thing for a big part of online entrepreneurs

Bitdefender? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831884)

I find it funny that the article makes it sound like Bitdefender is the greatest anti-virus software. About a year ago I found it caused at least 3 separate problems at two different businesses. It wound up costing one of the businesses about a thousand dollars to discover it was the anti-virus software causing a problem. No anti-virus software is perfect.. but that's quite a bad track record in my experience.

Re:Bitdefender? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832290)

Yes, Bitdefender is a piece of shit.

As a Romanian, I'm much more embarassed by Bitdefender and other local 'products' than by the eBay scammers.

Only racist true-believers would make generalizations and start fearing everyone after falling for stupid tricks a five-year old wouldn't believe.

But it is very tempting to assume than just because I'm Romanian and lived and learned here I should do the same style & quality of engineering as the fine people from Bitdefender.

Goddamn scammers (3, Interesting)

Pulszar (968478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21831942)

What's really annoying about eBay is selling. When you buy from eBay, it's easy to know if you are going to get scammed (providing you use some common sense). A buyer from Jersey needs payment sent to India? I'm out. But selling is a whole other issue.

I had this one incident where I was selling something and the winning bidder looked pretty trustworthy; a few dozen positive feedbacks, a member for 2-3 years, from the States, the whole deal. So a few hours after the auction ends I get an email saying they needed the item shipped to India because they were visiting family and didn't want the item sent to an empty house. To the average, non-common sense using user, this might seem like a reasonable request but it's bullshit.

So I refused the deal, reported the account to eBay and the next day got an email saying the real account owner's account had been "compromised" and that they were looking into it. What really sucked is that it took 2 months to get a refund for the cost of putting up the auction (listing fees), and the final value fee from when the item sold. Since it was kind of an expensive item, and eBay already rapes it's users on fees, I was out something like $30 until it was finally refunded.

So again, buyers can avoid trouble with common sense, but wheres the protection for sellers? We can't tell off the bat when someone steals a legit user's account and then tries scamming us AFTER the fact.

I really hate eBay.

Re:Goddamn scammers (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21834144)

Similar thing happened to me when I tried to sell my PS3 (which actually led me to keeping it and I've actually been having fun). The first time it was with somebody who had a compromised account. The second time was pretty similar, but the person had bid on a number of higher end items and provided a fake address and phone number; though it was kind of fun to watch their rating drop like a rock.

I must be watching too much Family Guy.... (1)

fataugie (89032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832138)

I have this scene flash in my mind's eye of these Ebay Huey's flying into Romainia like the opening scene of Preditor....they come in low over the trees sideways, flashing eBay logo's painted on the sides.

Once they land, out jumps Arnie and his crew, packing toughbook laptops, rackmout equipment chomping on a cigar, looking pissed off at having to go to Romainia. Borat runs over, salutes and grabs some equipment and throws it in the back of a jeep. They ride over to the command tent to get their breifing, set up the surplus Carnivore equipment.

Yes, I have a fertile imagination. I wonder how much is true.

Why are they complaining ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832202)

The city in question used to be a large industrial center and most of its factories were bought by western commercial interests only for the purpose of being closed down. The westerners did not want competition that would certainly undercut their prices, given the cheap labor force available.

Now that unemployment runs rampant, the commercial interests moan about online scams. They are very conveniently oblivious of the fact that they created the situation to begin with. So what exactly is it that they are wanking about ?

Re:Why are they complaining ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832658)

Who are the 'westerners' you are talking about ?

It's not the same people who closed the factories who are running eBay now.

It's idiots like you who are poisoning any discussion with their 'Westerners', 'Muslims', 'Romanians', 'Commercial Interests', collective guilt and conspiracy theories.

Frustrating for Good Romanian Citizens (4, Interesting)

TrevorB (57780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21832570)

I have a good friend living in Romania. She's not a scammer, nor works for a scamming company, but because of Romania's label as a scamming country, internet usage can be very hard for her. For instance, Romanian credit cards are worthless on the Internet, even though she will pay for the goods she purchases.

I'm figuring things might get a smidge easier now that Romania is part of the EU. It would still be nice if she could validate in some way that she was a good customer, rather than a "Romanian customer"

Re:Frustrating for Good Romanian Citizens (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21833662)

I feel your friend's pain. I'm an exiled Nigerian prince (trying to get my money out of this damn country) and you wouldn't believe how reluctant people are to help me.

Re:Frustrating for Good Romanian Citizens (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21833890)

Read the article referenced in post. Romania seems to be the hind part of the EU. So much so that Romanian workers are unwelcome in most of the EU, what with being well-skilled and very, very inexpensive.

Gee, maybe we could do the same thing here with Mexic... nevermind. Won't work.

Re:Frustrating for Good Romanian Citizens (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21834416)

same goes for Poles in the Netherlands. People here are absolutely rabid against former east block workers for exactly the reasons you stated (skilled, very very inexpensive). The really bad part is that the big guns here have already made a killing on the opening up of the former sovblock countries by buying up lots of factories and real estate, driving tens of thousands of people in those countries from their jobs. So, now they come here simply to work and take home some money and there is lots of bad blood between them and 'skilled' workers here. Especially in the construction business. Overt aggression is becoming more and more common, and politicians (most notably the SP, but also 'Wilders' and 'Verdonk') are using this as a popular theme to get voters to line up behind them. The whole Islamist fear thing doesn't help much either.
Shades of the 1930's.

Paypal and Ebay scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21832920)

If you live in Puerto Rico, Guamm or Hawaii it takes over 45 days for some parcels to arrive. Yet, Paypal and Ebay's policy is that one has to file a claim within 45 days...

It cost me $200 to find that out the hard way. ( following that, on two separate occasions I reported sellers to ebay before 45 day limit lapsed only to get the package they've sent to me a week later )

Buyers can scam sellers and get posative feedback! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21833392)

Posting as AC I think for obvious reason's.

I sold some online products (gaming gold) on Ebay back before Ebay had completely banned it for all games etc...

Anyhow this was a perfect setup for someone to steal from me via the assistance of paypal.

Paypal said they had paid the money and turned the money over to me, I then met them in game and gave them the payed for goods.

After this I left posative feedback. (no feedback was giving to me ever...(I assume it was being left as a bargaining chip for shut up or I leave negative feedback etc).

Anyhow after 30 days (the time limit to leave feedback had I not left any) paypal then informed me that the account and CC used to purchase my goods were stolen, and that I was responsible to pay back the fee owed to paypal. (They 3-4 years later are still trying to collect). Apparently if I had had a signed delivered signature for the product paypal would have then tried to collect from the thief rather than me. (Never ship anything as a seller form ebay that doesn't require signature on delivery).

So getting no-where with paypal, ebay or emails sent to the account. (that had changed emails from when I did business with it). The account wasn't shut down or punished in any way for being 'stolen'. In fact they now had one more positive feedback (provided via me).

Well I thought to myself I better keep others from being ripped off so I looked high and low on how to 'add' to my comment, restract or change my comment, now that I had found out this individual had stolen hundreds of dollars from me. Guess what? THERE ISN'T ANY Ebay purposely makes it so there is no way *I* can tell the world that this user I interacted with stole from me!!!

Be very careful Ebay thieves continue to get 100% posative feedback, Ebay knows of this and continues its policy of tricking honest users into leaving posative feedback before the hammer of theft comes down on you. As a seller your are powerless.

The lesson, feel free to buy all you want of Ebay, in fact after you bought a bunch of stuff and received it tell your CC company your ebay and paypal account were hacked and have a merry free X-mas, paid for by people stupid enough to still sell on ebay!!

Do this every year and continue to collect your positive feedback scores that are left well before the seller is informed the money you gave them well they want it back...

Change credit cards every year of course so that you don't get anyone being smart and putting 1+1 together.

Don't you think enough is enough? (1)

mtmihai (1209028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21834696)

This is the worst movie scenario ever!
Ian Wylie must be on something stronger than cocaine.

I'm used to read a lot of stupidities written about my country but this one is so full of crap it makes me think it's some kind of a joke.
- Albena Spasova driving the twisting highway (she must be drunk, there is no highway there), escorted by US Secret Service (on horses, with stetsons and stuff)?
- She can't trust the telephone line (what's up sugar this kind of technology is to new for you)?
- Local hackers circling around (probably some pimps trying to offer her a decent job), instead of hacking on eBay?

What are you talking about?
Do you think this is Somalia or something?

Waaaah I'm a tardcart and got ripped off... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21834782)

The top seller on ebay actually has something crazy like nearly a million sales in 8 years. Feedback of like 688,507 I know cuz I bought something from him, it was a great purchase and customer service was awesome. Just cuz someone has what seems like an unrealistic transaction score or feedback doesn't mean sh!t, I have several friends that quit their jobs to exclusively sell crap on ebay (not fraudulently), one of em makes 6figs/year doing it!

Ebay is just THE place on the internet with the highest possibility of fraud, its like saying the used car lot on the wrong side of the tracks has the highest possibility of fraud, that doesn't mean you are going to get screwed for sure, or else that lot wouldn't exist long. It's the same thing with ebay, if the rate of fraud was really that high we would be hearing a LOT more about it than we are. Probably senate investigations into in and the whole shebang, and I'm not saying ebay is perfect either, but their customer service has always helped me out (although I've never been a victim of fraud, cuz I have at least half a brain).

So remember that cheese goes great with your whine.
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