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EBay Scams - Protect Yourself!

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Ebay- Online Auction

  • Ebay
    Ebay is the largest online auction. You can find new and used electronics, cars, clothes, collectibles, books, sporting goods, toys, and so much more at low prices. You can buy these items or sell these items.


Ebay is a great source of products and people. You can find the rare and unique items from years ago or those items that were only manufactured a few times. You can find your childhood favorite toys, if you wanted to. You can, even, find bulk items, as well as, other items that you've been searching for.

On Ebay there are a large number of products as well as an even larger number of sources to find the prodcuts, which are usually for a cheaper price than the store price.

It sounds great right?

It is....

Most of the time...

Fraud and scammers are all over Ebay. You have to protect yourself from scams because they are everywhere, and the scams are far and wide.

Nigerian Scams

  • Nigerian 4-1-9 Scam
    Find advice about Nigerian scams. Learn how to determine a true scam over something that may be true and real. There are a few keys that are an average to most Nigerian scams.
  • Scam Busters- Nigerian Scam
    You can find information about the Nigerian Scam by Audri and Jim Lanford. The Lanfords have provided information about the Nigerian Fee Scam, to include a sample letter and information of to protect yourself.
  • Nigerian Scams
    You can find example scam letters and emails, so that you can be versed in the different styles. The origin of the Nigerian scam is explained, which may help you better understand what's going on.

Nigerian Ebay Scams

Nigerian scams are everywhere online. In many cases you will receive an email asking for money to be sent to a bank account. This can apply to Ebay on a different level. For example, if you sell an item on Ebay, and receive and email from the wining bidder, in which the buyers is trying to get you to get the information to shipping to Nigeria or some other country, usually an Africa country, in order so that he can send you the money. But, it's not real money.

DO NOT click any links in the email, as the link(s) will lead to fake paypal and ebay websites. When you click on the link and sign in to the fake site, you will be handing the scammer all your information. Once they get a hold of you password and log in name, they will take over your account. Once your account has been hijacked, you will not able to log into your account for a day or so which gives the scammer time to post one day auctions for multiple, expensive items.

Make sure that you DO NOT send the item for any reason, EVEN you got their paypal payment because their payment is fake, as mentioned before, the money is not real.

In some cases, sellers may receive money orders or checks. Even still, do not send out the item until you can get the check examined. In this case, you should take the check or money order to a bank; they will be able to check it out, and tell you whether it is real or fake. In most cases they will be fake, especially if they are for extremely high dollar amounts for items that really aren't worth that extreme. In these cases, the scammer will continue to bid, driving the auction to a ridiculous amount for the particular item. They will contact you immediately to get your address in order to send out the payment. If you give them your address, don't always trust the check or money order even if the buyer is prompt and conversational.

In some case, the Nigerian scammers will be more aggressive by threatening the seller in hopes that the seller will back out and send the merchandise anyway. Don't do it.

Sometimes, the scammers will tell you that they are being investigated by the FBI for fraud for not shipping the goods to Nigeria. Don't be intimidated. If you have any doubt, you can contact the police or just ignore it.

Do NOT reply to the email because by replying to the email(s), the scammer will get your email address. Once they have you email address, they can sign up for various things online such as porn site and gambling sites and they can send you a fake paypal and ebay email. Either way, they can spam up your inbox.

Make sure to report the situation to Ebay. Open a new internet browser. Sign in to you account. Click "Help," which is located on the top right of the ebay page. Click "Contact Us," which is located in the middle, left section of the page. Then choose "Account Security" in order to report the situation. By reporting the scam, you can help to protect other Ebayers.

Sample Email:

I just came across your item on eBay and I was looking for an exact gift to a relative of mine, who is in Nigeria. I hope that your item is as good in its condition as you have described at your auction off eBay. I will like you to get the cost for the shipment of this item to him. As soon as you got the price for the shipment, please kindly get back to me, and add the amount to the cost of the item and sent it with the invoice at paypal or eBay. I would to make the payment of this item via paypal. Paypal protects both the buyer and the seller, so I will like you to send me your paypal email account so that I can direct the money to your account today okay. And remember that you are to ship the item via USPS GLOBAL EXPRESS MAIL, or EMS 3 to 5 business days for the delivering.

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Protect Yourself from Nigerian Scams

Square Trade Scam

  • Ebay Warehouse and Square Trade
    Here is a Public Service Announcement. It explains that Ebay does not have a warehouse, and square trades do not bond the seller. This is a popular Ebay scam, so you may want to read about possible scams.

Ebay- Square Trade Scam

In many cases, this particular scam is more closely related to Square Trades, but you can find the scam at Ebay, so you should understand what's going on.

In these scams, you may get a person who says they are using Square Trade, or Ebay, with a "third party" so that you can get your money back if the deal goes wrong or if you become unsatisfied.

Niether Square Trade or Ebay accepts cash, store goods, or works as a "third party" for any deals that have not gone through completely.

In some cases, the person will email you via a personal email instead of using messages through the website, saying that they would prefer you to wire them the money to them.

You should, always, remember that neither Square Trades or Ebay do not email you in order to certify a seller or ask you to wire money to someone. In many cases, your "Ebay Invoice" will ask you to send the money via Western Union.

Example email addresses that you may see can include and

These people tend to live in other countries, so prosecuting them becomes a complication.

These scammers tend to be the sellers in the auction. Sometimes they can be the buyers, but usually they are the sellers of larger, higher priced items.

Phishing Ebay Email Scams

You must remember that Ebay never emails you to update your information. So when you get these emails, you should delete them right away.

Do not respond to the emails.

Do not click on the links.

If you do click on the link, just to verify that it is not Ebay, you should always check the URL address. True ebay urls, in which you will update or change your personal information will appear as Make sure that you see the 'S' after the 'http'. Otherwise, do not enter you information because as soon as the scammer gets you log in name and password, tons of damage can occur.

A new version of the Email scam is that the scammer will reproduce an auction listing or an Ebay page. In this instance, the scammer will then send an email through Ebay, asking the seller if he has another item similar to one in the listing. When the seller is directed to the fake page, where he logs in, the scammer will have access to the seller's log in name and password.

Ebay Email Scams

Emails such as these ask for you to log into your account. They scammer then gets a hold of you account information.

Emails such as these ask for you to log into your account. They scammer then gets a hold of you account information.


Fake Ebay Website


Ebay Second Chance Offer Scam

A very common scam on Ebay is the Second Chance Offer scam, as it is a world-pool filled with scammers. The scammer check out top winning tems that were sold for high dollar. They then send the second top bidder a second chance to win the item.

The scammer does not have the item, they just want your money.

The best way to check to see whether or not the Second Chance Offer is real or if it's a scam is to check your 'My Messages' in your ebay account. The only way an Ebay seller is able to contact bidders is via Ebay, sending a message to the bidder. So if you do not have a message in your 'My Messages' folder, then definitely do NOT bid accept the Second Chance Offer, as it's a scam.

To accept a real Second Chance Offer, you will need to purchase the item from the Ebay website. Which means, you will need to log into your account and go to your 'My eBay' page or to the listing, itself. The Second Chance Offer will have a different auction ID number than the original listing, so don't let this alarm you.

But remember, if you attempt to reply to a fake Second Chance Offer, more than likely, the auction ID number will be the same as the first, original listing.

Judge Judy- Ebay Scam

Fruad on Ebay

  • Ebay Scams Part 1
    As there are a number of various scams that can occur on Ebay, they have compiled a listing of the most common scams and fraud that occur on the website.
  • Ebay Scams Part 2
    The compiled listing on Ebay Guides, is a complete listing of the most common forms of fraud on the website. From the smallest Contact Me scam to the largest Nigerian Scam, the guide is complete to date.

Ebay Fraud

Because Ebay is widely used and loved by many innocent people just looking for a place to buy new and gently used products, it becomes a cesspool for fraud and scams.

The most common scams tend to involve higher priced items to include those found in Ebay Motors, as well as televisions, video game consoles, popular cell phones, and the various rare and unique items.

Some of the more common Ebay scams include:

  • Shill Bidding- seller uses an alternative account to raise the bid
  • Fake money orders or bad checks.
  • Switching items- after payment for an item, seller sends a lesser item or bootleg.
  • Escrow Scam- fake emails from Paypal or fake bank accounts.
  • Claim Jumper- after buyer bids, he will receive an email offering the same item at a better price from a scammer, using the sellers Ebay ID.

More Ebay Fraud

Common Ebay Scams

  • Doc's Collection of Ebay Motors Scams
    Ebay Motors is a very popular place to find scams. Because many of the items are cars and car parts, the auctions tend to go for higher bids.
  • Be Safe From Ebay Scams
    Because Ebay is a modern time marketplace, where you can find almost anything, you will not only find great bargains but thieves and scammers, as well. This site explains 8 common scams.
  • Anatomy of Ebay Scam
    Because fraudulent activiy can be found all over the internet, what protects the innocent people on Ebay... Nothing. Ebay is packed with items to which money will cross hands, leading it as a very sensitive place for scammers.
  • Report Ebay Scams
    If you have been a victim of an Ebay scam, you can report the scam to this website. They've already composed an extensive list of various Ebay scams. Help report the scams, so you can help protect others.


Slyh on March 11, 2013:


Ebay is a scam For sellers , they impose an illegal 21 day hold on payments made to sellers , and Despite knowing that the 21 day hold is a direct Violation of the Canadian business act they refuse to change this Policy .

Not only dose Ebay impose fees on seller they also charge a percentage of the total amount of what the product costs , plus they Charge a %age of the shipping Costs

EBAY IS A SCAM TO SELLERS John Donahoe either needs to change their policy's to make it fair for Sellers or A lawsuit must ensue , in order to force them to adhere to the Civil rights of Sellers

JaJaRye77 from Either in Masan Bay S. Korea, Palm Beach, FL. or Robin Hood's Bay, UK on April 30, 2012:

Whitney05, You have done some research into eBay. I am impressed with you piece and yes we must be careful with Ebay and similar sites. There is one huge scam that Ebay has missed and sellers are making a killing at. Many sellers are breaking a federal law put into oplace by the US Postal Police Angency and yes there are Postal Police. I am a collector of rare fishing lures, rods, and reels and one purchase I made on Ebay was a lure from 1903 that weighed 9 ounces. I won the bid from $25.00 and had it shipped through the US Postal service with no insurance for rush shipping charges yet the shipping alone came to $22.00 from Michigan to Boca Raton, FL. The day after I received it I returned a package containing a full can of beer and wrote you over charged me for shipping that lure. I sent the can of beer exactly the same shipping process used for the lure and asked if the price was more or less because it was being shipped from Fl. to MI., the answer was no at all. The post office charged me $2.32 plus gave me newspaper and tape for free to ensure it would arrive safely. I bought a Callaway Big Bertha 9-wood for $12.00 and shipping was $12.75. VA. to FL. though I shipped my dad an empty golg bag from FL. to NNY. for $9.10. It may not be EBay but the sellers, yet this is federal felony. I guess it depends how much you are willing to pay or over pay for what you won. Look for more from me JaJarye77 and in my Int'l column "Duck or Get Hit".

louromano on March 21, 2012:

Thanks for these tips. Now I'll be more aware about these things especially in emails, cause i received a lot of those everyday.

dino on March 10, 2012:

Well, I am a victim as well due to my lack of experience on ebay.

On italian ebay, a seller under the username ramsede6411 took my 1016 Euro bank transfer and then became "no longer registered" on ebay. And of course he never sent me the Electrocompaniet CD player.

I complained to ebay, but it was all useless computer reply.

The seller Information

User ID: ramsede6411

Name: daniel scarpone


City: venezia

State: VE

Country: Italia

Phone: 384325649

Registered Since: sabato 05 mar 2011 13:14:44 CET

Address: 30171 venezia, VE Italia


The bank account he provided

Beneficiary's name:EFRAIM DI TUCCI

Beneficiary country:Italy

Beneficiary's account or IBAN:IT91M0103073990000001821441

Beneficiary bank name and address:Monte dei Paschi di Siena,GAETA


Debbie on February 25, 2012:

beware of a bad buyer e bay id "Magical_Chap" .. This person has a history to purchasing items saying they were damaged

Sarah on August 27, 2011:

To Amy me and my partner have just had the same thing happen to me down $5000 :( not happy

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on August 18, 2011:

Good for you for writing about this in such detail. I still run into friend who just don't understand how to protect themselves. Now I can give them a link to your hub. Voted up and useful.

martial470 on August 13, 2011:

ebay rule number ONE....READ the FEEDBACK

Venture Boyz from Floating in the clouds on July 24, 2011:

Great hub to raise awareness and protect your readers from theses potential scammers. It is scary and sickening how many people are out there trying to make a living by ripping off other people. A good rule of thumb is, if it looks to good to be true then it probably is. You can not give anyway the benefit of the doubt these days.

jtyler on July 06, 2011:

Thanks for this. I use ebay every once-in-a-while, but I think I can smell a scam when it presents itself. However, not everyone can, so this is a perfectly useful article.

a.bishop on June 21, 2011:

watch out for person buying mobil phones from c.a

US he buys,does't pay happened 2 different people same day. 10.6.2011...ebay

JawsDive1 on April 14, 2011:

I listed an Apple iPhone 4 on ebay, item sold as a typical auction style sale. After the winning bidder won, payment was made. Buyer then was very aggressive about shipping and handling procedure. Buyer insisted that I use USPS with delivery confirmation. So I followed all the steps given from ebay and then after I was rerouted to USPS for postage and payment. After approximately 10 days I was contacted by the buyer and he insisted that I didn’t send the item and then opened an ebay buyer protection case against me. I gave all the information that was provided to me by ebay and USPS. After much frustration and long hours of research, I found several others that this buyer has done the exact same SCAM to. We all have contacted ebay in hope to stop this unethical SCAMMING practices but ebay sides with this buyer every time because he found a loophole in eBay’s system. Ebay refuses to take responsibility for their mistake and allows foreign individuals in other countries to abuse the ebay buyer protection program. So, they receive the item, claim they didn’t get it and then get issued a refund. Ebay then takes the funds back from seller and if they cant recover, collections, harassing phone calls and of course, account suspension. To add insult to injury, this SCAMMER only had his account open for less than 3 months and had already SCAMMED 4 honest sellers. Ebay allows it to happen and returns the funds to them every time. Even after ALL the complaints!

AmrilRadzman on March 16, 2011:

Wow thanks for the warning. It's really good to have good tips regarding a place where you put your money on. btw, there's a typo at Fruad on Ebay under the Judge Judy

marrkywolfgann from San Diego, California on February 23, 2011:

Thanks for these tips. Now I'll be more aware about these things especially in emails, cause i received a lot of those everyday.

Ervin on February 11, 2011:

I think these wed site sales on ebay are a real rip off.

Get in business buy a website and make money only .89 cents. Then they hit you with all kind of fees. They are using you to make money for them and make you pay for the privaledge! IF SOMETHING SOMES TOO TO GOOD TO BE TRUE LOOK OUT!

lindatymensky on January 31, 2011:

This was very helpful. My sister got scammed on ebay.

writinginalaska from southeast Alaska on December 16, 2010:

i have been using Ebay for over 8 years and overall I have had a very positive experience. Never had problems with scams, but i am savy about not clicking on links and only dealing directly with sellers through Ebay. I have only had a negative experience with two different sellers both from NY who were very slow to ship. I always pay immediently through paypal and one guy took his sweet time and waited 6 weeks to ship. i finally left him negative feedback and at the time he hammered ME with negative feedback and a very nasty email. Otherwise I have managed to find very nice and honest sellers. So Ebay isn't all bad in my opinion. You just need to have your wits about you. Great hub thank you.

moonlake from America on December 05, 2010:

I was scammed today by a seller that removed the item I think within minutes of it ending. I was winning. She wasn't getting enough money. I believe that's why she removed it and ebay let her get away with it.

projectrunway1 on November 18, 2010:

There is NO Seller protection at all. In fact, Ebay team up with scam buyers to steal from sellers.

Thanks to My3cents website where I can read all the recent horrors about Ebay. I share the same horror too.

Basically, I sold an item, buyer open claim not rec'd, not as describe. Then Ebay ignore all my Tracking# as proof, and reimbursed buyer. Now, buyer get to keep my item, get money back and now, Ebay turn around to seek reimbursement from me through collection. Beware of buyer "fernsu" resides at:

Susan Fernandes, 873 Monarch Cir, San Jose, CA 95138. If you see her wearing my brown Guess platform boot, it's what she stole from me.

Furthermore, Ebay seeks past buyers where sales transactions have been completed and suggest buyers to seek reimbursment from me. This is completely illegal. from Vancouver / Bangkok on October 12, 2010:

Top ten eBay scams :

1: eBay buyer protection - they don't really pay

2: eBay feedback policy - sellers can't leave feedback

3: free shipping - eBay wants sellers to pay more fees

4: eBay chat - they can't solve issues they are useless

5: Paypal limited - they steal your money for 180 days

6: feedback extortion - their policy encourages this

7: Paypal policy - the have the right to steal your money

8: DSRs - Satisfied buyers now have a new way to complain

9: Vero - a poor attempt to pretend ebay is legit

10:Selling limits - eBay has hit the self destruct button

gessraha on October 08, 2010:

from only 2 day i have been scammed by a seller on ebay he send to me fake ebay mail as it is invoice from ebay writed in this mail that i was under ebay buyer protection and i send money by western union to ebay address and then he told me that i refund the money and i scam them . ebay is noooooot safee . i prefere to pay more in other company and get a safer bought. plsss dont buy from ebay.

Eugene Sung from Philadelphia, PA on September 25, 2010:

LOOOOL I got such a great laugh out of that video.

Anyway back on track, eBay now has buyer protection so that type of scenario would be settled by eBay, right?

andygrant on September 23, 2010:

I had been a victim of such fraud and lost around $300. Thanks for providing such a great information about this topic.

adorababy from Syracuse, NY on June 22, 2010:

This is so scary. I love eBay so much. I buy most of my stuff in eBay because they are way cheaper than the store price. I am not aware that there has been so much going on with these kinds of scam. It's just that I haven't experienced it before. It's a shame that people have to sort out to all things just to earn their money indecently. This makes such a sad story.

Moon Daisy from London on May 09, 2010:

Interesting hub. As I'm just investigating how to use eBay, I'm grateful for the information, but very wary now about using it at all!

jeanie.stecher from Seattle on May 04, 2010:

Thanks for the information. It is best to better confirm your purchases on the net. Just have time to look into some comments for each site where you want to purchase or if in ebay, the rating. This way, you will most likely have that assessment before you release your money. Nice hub. Nice information.

Scott on December 15, 2009:

I have the OPPOSITE problem. I listed a $500 item that was really heavy (guitar amp). The buyer sent the cost of the item plus most of the shipping. He was short 36 bucks. So I sent him messages that he should pay the remainder of the shipping cost so that I can send it to him. It's been 2 weeks and I haven't heard anything back. I have over $600 of this guys money and he won't even answer my ebay messages. Anyway Idea why someone wouldn't want their item or money back?

metalmom36d on October 19, 2009:


Scott on June 26, 2009:

Their Buyer Protection plan is not real either i recently bought what i though was a 1979 Trans Am with a 400 engine as listed that was said to be drivable and had four minor issues. What i got was a 1980 Trans Am with a 301 and about 75 other issues all that was good was the body itself and the car was not drivable i over paid by $3000.00... Supposedly when i bought this i should have been covered, But what i found out was i am dealing with a company that really doesn't care and is only about their bottom line and what's best for them not their account holders... You are all right i have bought on here for years and e-bay is not what it used to be.

BooBoo Kitty on June 15, 2009:

I found a listing on craigslist for an EXCELLENT deal on a vehicle. I emailed the owner via my personal email account and received a response suggesting that the vehicle will be "shipped" to me. All I had to do is give them my name and address and once I received the vehicle, then I'd have 10 days to pay through ebay! Not certain what to think abou this now!

Wheelie on March 19, 2009:

I have to agree--ebay is no longer a good place to shop. I've been taken one too many times.

kiwi91 from USA on March 18, 2009:

I've received all of these phishing scams you've outlined. I myself was scammed once, but not anything like this. It was an actual Ebay seller who was selling counterfeit merchandise in bulk. I fell for it. The seller was very stubborn, but I did wind up getting my most of money back. I'm not a big fan of Square Trade either, they were very unhelpful in this instance. Great hub, I published a Squidoo lens on this same topic last year.

jordana on February 23, 2009:

I learned the hard way...I paid for an item on Ebay that wasn't set up with paypal...they only accept credit cards...I thought it was fishy...even emailed ebay help to seek guidance...they said basically "their" payments set up are safe...or I could try to request the sellers email and send a payment via paypal. Well, I ended up paying via their payment page since it was secure site...etc. I get an email from Ebay a week after paying, saying Do not pay if you haven't already....user is now no longer registered user...possible scammer...and I clicked on the username from my email they had sent...and read 15 negative even said they had called the police on the guy and there is a warrant for the man's arrest.. Never Again.

razzigirl on February 18, 2009:

I placed my first order through ebay 4 days ago and after reading these comments I am a bit worried that I may not receive the items. Even if I do though, I will never again buy anything through ebay. They don't take care of their customers!

eBay Buyer on November 03, 2008:

I purchased a car from a eBay member and got well ripped off and eBay don’t help when it comes to tracking the person down and are happy to allow someone to sell five cars a week and still claim to be a private seller and when they do give you the sellers details they only provide a partial address so you are on your own. My trouble started with a Mr Garry Horton from Oldbury who is a very over weight gentleman with short graying ginger hair and tattoos and it turns out after a lot of effort on my part that other eBay members had been conned by this man and they had managed to have six of his eBay accounts closed down. eBay could track his IP address or assist by providing partial details from the person credit card to enable people like me to get a bit of justice but they don’t so it must be assumed they are happy to assist the criminals to keep opening one account after another.

RUTHIE17 on April 19, 2008:

No, don't think that was it. Had them try to send to my daughter's computer with the same thought in mind and there was still nothing that came through. Tried everything we could think of to make the download work but--nada! Just a bad deal all the way around.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 18, 2008:

Maybe the seller DID try to send it to you, and you computer or program wasn't compatable.

RUTHIE17 on April 17, 2008:

Another bad thing about ebay is you think you're safe paying through PayPal. Not hardly!

Paid for a download, from as it turned out-Nigeria, but even though I was re-sent the download at least 5 times by the seller, it never came through and worked on my computer. It was always blank.

PayPal was no help--just told me the seller had "tried" and that was all that was required. Great scam--Just send an attachment or address that has a blank on the other end and get paid for it over and over again. Then the seller threatened to have ME kicked out of ebay for complaining about the deal!

Ebay just "ain't what it used to be!" Buyer Beware!!

45sherrie (0) on April 17, 2008:

Great coverage of a tricky subject. I have a camera that the Nigerians seem to want very badly. Wether it is my soft sounding username or the fact that I have yet to get any feedback I seem to attract many of the scams like some kind of crime magnet. I found this post while looking for some research information for my own ebay guide. Seems like you already covered every angle - or have you? Send me a paypal payment and I will fill you in on yet another way to scam someone on Ebay - LOL.


45sherrie (0)

myi4u from United Kingdom on April 04, 2008:

Hmm ... I am very careful with my money. In such cases, I normally will not buy stuff online which involve even hundreds of dollars unless it's first hand and from reputable websites. I do know that lots of people are buying cars from ebay but wouldn't it be better to look at it yourself rather than just looking at the pictures?

Regarding scams, unless it's giving me money, otherwise, I would ignore things like requesting me for information or requesting me to send money. hehe ..

Anyway, good info.

Amy on March 28, 2008:

I got scammed on eBay for $4000. The lady sent me a fake email from ebay saying the agent received my money and the car would be shipped in 3-4 business days. I never received it. Now I'm poor and really pissed off.

trish1048 on March 19, 2008:

Excellent information! some of it I heard about, but a lot of it was news to me.

Thanks for sharing!

Tony Sky from London UK on November 13, 2007:

Another great Hub with really useful info..It's a shame that such a popular website to buy and sell things gets targeted by fraudsters..

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