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Some of the current Ebay and Paypal scams to be aware of Answered

Recently the spam activities increased for my inbox and with that the amount of phishing Emails and direct scams.
Today I will only focus on the big two: Paypal and Ebay.

1. General Paypal scams and phishing mails....
Most of these are really easy to spot.
Genuine Emails coming from Paypal always address you with your full name!
Scam or other bad Paypal Emails will use your Email address or just your first name.
There is a problem with some users here, but I will go into these details a bit further down.
In most cases the scammer will spoof areal looking Paypal Email or server address.
This means in your Email client the sender appears as "Paypal" and not some cryptic server address you can find in the source code of the offending mail.
The simple scams use links to malware or phishing sites - often trying to look like the original so be aware of this.

2. The latest and for some hard to spot Paypal scam.
You are more likely to become a target if the Email looks genuine enough to fool you to click on some link in it.
A lot of users do a quick check with the mouse on some links offered and check in the bottom left corner for the link that appears.
Sadly in the latest scam mails the scammer uses genuine graphics and links.
In some case directly from the Paypal servers, like logos and backgrounds.
Only one link is in there that will fool you.
If the scam informs you about a payment you supposedly made than it will be the link directing you to your account to cancel the payment for a refund.
If the scam mail is about a refund you got then it is the same link - the one making it easy for you to get to your account settings.
In one scam mail I landed on a really good looking copy of Paypal's login portal.
The address bar however did not contain the usual secure HTTPS and neither a genuine address going to paypal.
Problems with these new scam mails happen if you follow the suggestions or free will for naming your Email account.
If your Email is for example tommy19726@mymail.com then you will spot this quite easy in the scam mail when you are addressed as tommy19726 instead of Tommy Hilfinger.
It seems to be a favour now to have a real looking Email, so Tommy might have used Tommy.Hilfinger@mymail.com.
And then in the scam mail he would be addressed as "Tommy.Hilfinger" - only the DOT is then different to a real Paypal mail!!!
If you have one of these Email addresses with no numbers and just your first and last name then pay specail attention when checking Paypal mails!!!

3. The latest Ebay scam from China :(
Lately I had to order quite a few things that I could only get through Ebay for a reasanable price.
Shipping costs were the major problem with other sources as I don't see the point in paying much more for postage than for what I bought.
Anyways, the scam goes like this:
You order something with a value above about $50.
You get the usual payment confirmation and a few days later a tracking number.
Problem is that this tracking number won't get any updates at all.
It usually only states "Shipping information received".
This means someone in China requested a shippment but never actually lodge an item or had one picked up.
You can't do anything through Ebay until the max delivery time is over.
Trying to get a working tracking number from those seller only gives you excuses but nothing of use.
In many cases the answer you get has no relation to your request!
Once the last date to get the shippment is over the seller keeps stalling and asks you to wait a few days more.
No attempt to explain that the tracking shows that nothing at all was sent on the way gets any useful answer.
It is like talking to your digital assistent set to a language you don't speak.
Once you start a claim through Ebay the case and refund is handled quite quickly.
Does not mean you are left alone by the seller, especially if you did the right thing and left negative feedback.
And no surprise, suddenly the seller is then even able to uderstand your language LOL
Biggest thing is that these dodgy seller are adjusting quickly.
Once you state in your responses that you will open a calim they usually "offer" a refund.
Even if you clearly state you want the item and not the refund you will get a nice thank note back and then a refund that makes a claim impossible.
You are left with no item and can wait another 3 or 4 weeks if you find trustworthy seller that is.
Only chance is to open a "Item not received" claim right after the last due date.
But even if Ebay agrees and provides you with a refund, as they have no interest to do more, you need be quick!
The item in question will end in the hidden section of your purchase history.
Only if enable to show your hidden items you can then select it to rate at least the transaction for a negative feedback.
If you act quick enough you can even leave negative feedback in the usual way, but only through activating your hidden items.

What can you do to stay secure?
The easiest way for Paypal is to simply ignore all content in any Email you get that seems to be from Paypal!
Whatever you do or feel you need to check: Go directly into your Paypal account through the app or with your browser but DO NOT use any links provided in any Email.
If you think an Email is suspicious then just forward the Email to "spoof@paypal.com" - or .com.au for Australia, .de for Germany and so on.
In case the Email is genuine you will get a corresponding response.
If the Email is indeed fishy then Paypal will notify you to delete the Email in question.

For Ebay the problem is not s easy - at least if you don't buy locally.
From my end I can only state it is the Chinese sellers, Hong Kong and mainland.
And a few years back the recommendation was not to buy from a seller with less than 95% of positive feedback.
You can try it yourself and mess up one sale if you are private and see how badly your feedback goes down - just kidding, please don't try!!!
With the introduction of "power Sellers" and Ebay stores however this guide was rendered totally useless.
A power seller with 99.7% positive feedback can still literally have hundrets of negative feedback comments for the past few months.
Quite often you see it spiked a month or 6 ago - a clear indicator the seller is going to new account and tries to make as much quick money as possible before Ebay closes him down for good.
If in doubt you really need to check the negative feedback in detail before buying.
Some really dodgy sellers make all sales "private".
This not only removes the item from the feedback but also the sale price.
Intended only for special uses, Ebay sees no need to stop this misuse.
If you can't see detailed feedback for a seller then just don't trust the seller!
If you see way too many negative feedback comments during the past 6 months then stay away!
Click on other listing showing identical listing images and you can be almost certain that even if the seller name is different it will be the same scammer.
You can usually confirm this by seeing a similar pile up of negative feedback with that seller.

Why do I stress so much about Ebay scammers if you get a refund anyways?
No really, I mean interest in getting it for the money in your account.
Firstly, if you wasted about 100 bucks and waited a few weeks for finally getting a refund, then you were out of pocket twice.
Once by paying for something you never got and then again for the money you lost in interest.
Sure on your end only a few cents worth...
But see it from the other side:
Have just hundred transactions of $50 going into your Paypal account where you never actually bother to send anything.
Add a longer than usual shipping time and make it free.
Means you have $5000 in your account collecting interest rates for 4 to 6 weeks.
Do it on an even bigger scale and you can invest 10.000 or more on a regular base.
With up to 10% of interest on foreign currency Chinese banks are only too happy to take it.
Or did you never wonder why an item sold in Greece needs to be paid for in US Dollar, UK Pound or Canadian Dollar? ;)
A good Ebay scammer can make over $25.000US in interest rate payouts this way before Ebay even decides to limit or monitor his sales.
And once Ebay or the feedback rating goes to negative on him it continues on another account with the same items and availbilities.
Quite often you can find a seller has let's say 5 items sold and 12 still available.
Isn't it then funny and of course pure coincidence that another seller has the same, hard to find item, with the exact same 5 items sold and 12 available?
Ebay has no interest to actually stopping this in any way, Paypal also prefers to look away if the same account is used for multiple Ebay accounts.
Not even the need to provide the Paypal details of the seller in plain english is a requirement anymore.
You need to use a translator to figure out what "company" is behind the Paypal account and it never matches the Ebay account in any way....
I did some checks on the few suspicious sellers that still had at least item prices listed with their negative feedback.
There are some out there having a vlue of well over $12.000US in "not received" claims over the last 12 months.
About a year ago I tried to start a little (ad sponsored) reporting service online.
Scammed Ebay users were asked to provide the details about the item, Paypal address of the seller and the amount/time until refunded.
Within 3 days of going online and with only having two users that reported a scammer my provider gave me a shut down notice - effective immediately.
A few days later I got an Email stating my website was shut after both Ebay and Paypal stated I would violate their privacy terms and break US law.
Needless to say this notice also included a note informing me that if I attempt to conitnue to provide such service I will be taken to court for legal action.
So what was the fuzz all about you might wonder?
It was planned that users can provide the required data, without this data actually showing up anywhere.
Once the databse was full enough a user could enter a seller or shop name or even a Paypal account to have it checked for negative things.
You either get "unknown" or a list that states when and how many users reported this seller.
With no deatils about any transactions, item numbers or user names linked.
Did I mention how supportive Ebay and Paypal were when I contacted them about the take down notice? ROFL

Rules and regulations...
I pointed these flaws out to Ebay and Paypal more times than I can count over the past 3 or four years.
But as always, money is all that matters and those scammers won't be stopped.
If you get a refund then the seller will be punished by more than your feedback, only if the Paypal account he used was unable to provide the required funds.
In the rare case the Paypal account disappears with the seller you will notice the refund comes from Ebay or Paypal but not from the seller's account.
This is the only real buyer protection Ebay has on offer.
The rest is just following the pressure of local laws, especially in terms of refund and warranties.
Does not mean though a warranty for an Ebay item will be honored by a company....
If you start selling on Ebay then one big requirement is to have a validated Paypal account.
Also a real physical address - although this is only too often just taken as granted once you had a delivery to your nominated address.
Either way you Paypal account's address and name must match what you used for Ebay.
Means if things go really south both Ebay and Payl will have enough details to surrender you to the local law.
In China however things are different, starting with space.
An export business is highly subsidised as it brings in foreign currency.
So you can just hire a dummy letter box in some office building for company purposes.
All mail however will be directed to whatever real address you specified for your "company".
Same for actual company grounds.
A n awful lot of producing factories/companies over there get additional support by the government for supporting small export businesses.
That means you, as a little Chinese Ebay power seller forward your orders to whatever factory produces or stores these thing in huge amounts.
This company then does all the shipping for you.
Becomes really clear once you try to figure out from where you Ebay shippment really came.
There won't be any Ebay seller name on the address, same for whatever you found in the Paypal invoice.
The guy can just sit in his lounge room and never actually touches any shippment at all.
In mayn cases those sellers have good discounts and since small items ship for free out of China, no one complains about the extra work.
Both Ebay and Paypal are well aware of those loop holes in China!
But as with multiple accounts they look away and prefer not to act as long as the money keeps flowing.


The forums are retiring in 2021 and are now closed for new topics and comments.

1 year ago

Little update from Paypal in regards to the latest scam I reported:
As usual I was advised to delete the offending mail and in case I clicked on something to contact Paypal.
As this time the offender was local and not located in asia I called Paypal's support team today to ask if they would have any details about the case.
To my surprise I was forwarded to someone from the spam department :)

My system stopped already in the sandbox when I tried to test the offending link from the Email but Paypal managed to get one step further.
If someone unprotected or unsuspecting enough would have followed the link and on top would have used a security suite that is not really up to date this would have happened:
Several browser hijacks get active right when the website is loaded.
Appearently they alone would only lock you out of your browser and only provide access to another website.
Following that available website is a disguise to install malware.
In reality the warning that somethin wants to install something through your browser is redirected so what you see on the screen.
Clicking on it then allows the malware to install.
I was unable to get any details about the type of attack used but I was assured it was serious enough to issue an immediate takedown notice to the provider of the service - which was followed and executed within 3 hours!

It shows Paypal is quick when it comes to reported scams and suspicious Emails.
Makes sense then to keep that in mind and to use this service.
So again, if you get a suspicious looking Email that appears to come from Paypal: Don't be shy and forward it to SPOOF@PAYPAL.COM
You have nothing to loose if was genuine but did good if it was fraudulent.
So once more just to be sure:

Never click on anythin inside a Paypal Email!
Always use their website or app with a normal login to access anything in relation to your account!
If it is only in your Email account but does not appear in your Paypal account then you can rest assured it is a scam unless it is something like to inform you about policy updates.
And as said, if it does not have you full name to address you than it can't be genuine either.