eBay is a popular selling platform, and there are plenty of great things to buy. However, eBay buyers and sellers should be vigilant on the platform as there are opportunities for fraud that scammers can take advantage of.
Can You Get Scammed by Using eBay?
Unfortunately, like many of the platforms available on the Internet, scamming is always a risk. The eBay website is generally very safe to use, but scams have been on the rise across different platforms.
There are a few different types of scams currently going around, with some that use specific features of eBay to their advantage, as well as common credit card fraud scams that are seen on other platforms
With some common sense and knowledge about common types of eBay scams, you can protect yourself and your eBay account while using the platform.
- READ MORE: How to Make Money on eBay
Be Aware of These Common eBay Scams
eBay scams can vary, with some using specific eBay money features to defraud users through buyer purchases. Other scams may be related to disputes, providing incorrect addresses, and even using stolen credit cards to purchase items. We’ll explore some of the common scam types you’re likely to come across on the platform and how they tend to work so, you know how to protect yourself.
1. eBay Gift Cards Scams
One of the more common scams you might see is eBay gift card scams. Scammers may purchase gift cards you’re selling, and after redeeming the card and draining the balance, they will file a dispute with eBay and/or PayPal, claiming it was an unauthorized purchase. In this case, buyers must pay back the fees while losing the gift card.
To avoid these scams, it’s best not to buy or sell gift cards on the platform. Similarly, you may have someone contacting you to urgently purchase an eBay gift card and give them the redemption code for payment. This is another type of eBay scam where you will be left with the purchase price of the card and scammed outside of eBay. If using an eBay gift card, do not share the redemption code with anyone except for trusted friends and family.
2. eBay Buyers Scams
If you’re selling on eBay, a large percentage of your sales will go without a hitch. However, there are certain types of buyer scams to be aware of so you can protect yourself and your money.
For example, one of the common scams you’ll see is buyer claims that the item never arrived and files a dispute to get the money back – even if you’ve sent it already. You can protect yourself by having some proof of postage for the item so that you can provide evidence for a resolved dispute in your favor.
Another version is the empty box scam, where the buyer receives an empty box instead of what they ordered and files a dispute. Tracking numbers and signature delivery are the best defense against a scam. Again, use tracking number options or signature confirmation to prevent any issues down the line.
Another type of scam is that buyers often ask to have the item sent to an address different from what’s listed on their eBay or PayPal accounts.
Do not accept buyer overpayments for items, especially if the buyer asks for the money back after purchasing. If you see something that looks like a red flag, declining the sale is okay.
3. eBay Seller Scams
Buying from eBay is a great way to get items at a fraction of the price, but unfortunately, you should be careful of many cases of seller fraud. Fraudulent sellers have been using different techniques to scam users, so it’s essential to keep looking for them to protect yourself.
One common scam is that sellers may ask you to pay outside the eBay platform, citing high fees and other issues. They may ask you to wire money to a bank account or complete a bank transfer money directly to their account. They may ask you to send money differently, even saying they accept checks.
But no matter how you slice it, it will be a bad idea. It would be best if you kept all interactions on the platform, including business transactions, requests for wire transfers, and payments. Seller requests like these should be declined, and you should avoid buying from them.
Another scam you should be careful of is sellers asking for additional shipping costs after purchasing the item. If the sale is final, do not agree to other payments and cancel the order instead. It’s not worth trying to fight with them over the purchase, and eBay does have a money-back guarantee that you can use in cases like this.
A fraudulent seller may also scam you after the purchase. Sometimes, the seller ships the items with an incorrect name on the package. When you return it to the post office, the item is sent back to the seller…and you lose your money. Since the item has shipped and been delivered to you, resolving a dispute in your favor can be difficult, and the seller will keep the item and the money.
- READ MORE: How to Refund a Buyer on eBay
More Major eBay Scams to Watch Out For
There aren’t many eBay scams to look out for, but it’s crucial to stay vigilant.
4. Credit card scam
This one is harder to control for sellers, but it is happening more often. Fraudsters will use stolen credit cards to purchase items and leave sellers to deal with the ensuing mess with the credit card company and potential chargeback fee once the fraud is discovered. Always check the address and name of the buyer before shipping the item and try to match it up with the payment when possible.
How to Avoid an eBay Scam
eBay has a lot of unique products and legitimate sellers that you can purchase from. Here are some tips to help you avoid eBay scams and buy confidently:
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is: If you see a super rare item for a very low price or something that looks like an amazing deal on heavily discounted items – it’s better to do research beforehand than worry about it later. Always check the market price for items and read descriptions carefully before purchasing.
- Ignore fake emails: Many scammers have been using fraudulent emails as part of phishing attempts to gain sensitive information. Sellers should only be able to contact you on the eBay platform for payment and other issues and avoid clicking on links in suspicious emails.
- Don’t buy counterfeit goods: eBay sellers often put up fake listings to pull a bait-and-switch scam – you think you’re buying an original product, but you get a counterfeit one instead. Ask sellers questions about items before purchasing, and again, if it looks like too good of a deal…it probably is, so it’s best to avoid it.
How Do You Know If Someone Is Scamming on eBay?
Most common eBay scams have a lot of red flags associated. For example, they’ll often have the wrong name on the account or be pretty new accounts without much activity. Before purchasing, check whether sellers have positive feedback before purchasing and their previous history.
Can You Get Your Money Back If You Get Scammed on eBay?
In some cases, yes, eBay does have a money-back guarantee, but in other cases, no. It will depend on the circumstances of the scam whether you can retrieve your item. For example, if sellers cannot provide proof of postage and you never receive the item, you can receive a refund.
Are eBay Sellers Covered by the PayPal Seller Protection Program?
The PayPal Seller Protection only applies if the purchase is completed via PayPal on eBay.
Is It Safe to Give eBay Your Bank Account Information?
You should avoid providing too much personal or financial information on eBay. You can have a card number saved, which is preferable over bank account information. Alternatively, you can use PayPal to protect your financial information.
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