eBay Classifieds Scam Warning: How to Protect Yourself – Money

Scammers masquerading as fictitious buyers or sellers always wander around in eBay classifieds. But with the right knowledge, you can protect yourself from them.

Many have already bought something on eBay classifieds. When it comes to platform scams, most people feel safe and think that it will not happen to them. But scammers use obnoxious methods, some of which are not easy to see. We present the most common methods used by scammers in eBay classifieds. Whether it’s signup trap, triple scam, or fake money heist – we’ll show you how you can protect yourself.

Dodge with TAN codes

With this fraud there is no personal delivery of goods and money. Instead, the goods are paid for remotely and must be shipped by the seller. Potential responds to your classified ad. He asks questions and inquires about the article and appears unobtrusive and genuine. The communication often switches from the internal messaging system of the classifieds portal to emails, WhatsApp or SMS. The potential buyer then tells you that they wish to pay for the goods via PayPal.

To protect against fraud, you must first confirm the security code that you will receive via SMS. If you pass this number, at the request of the supposed buyer, you will lose your money immediately. The TAN number is not used to protect against fraud. It is a transaction number that you use to confirm the payment. This way you confirm payment for a product that the fraudster bought online.



In order to protect yourself from this fraud, the portal advises Verbraucherschutz.com To communicate only through the message function of the respective classifieds portal. The safest way is to personally deliver the goods and money on site. In addition, disclosure of personal data is not recommended. You can also have what’s called a third-party blocking set up by your mobile service provider. If this is set up, no items can be paid for via the phone bill Verbraucherschutz.com.

Warning: the subscription trap

You can find a lot of offers on eBay classifieds. But with baby chocolate to “give up” alarm bells should ring. If you open the ad, you will find a link where you will be asked to enter your details. Among other things, your cell phone number is required. And here’s the trap: By entering your cell phone number, you’ve already got a subscription. The chocolate scam was 4.99 euros a week, or about 20 euros a month.

Always be vigilant on eBay classifieds. Never follow external links and never contact the buyer or seller outside the classifieds portal.

Shipment confirmation wrong

This sounds serious and credible, but it’s also a scam. Once you have contacted the seller of the goods you want, the seller will be asked to switch to other means of communication, usually via email. And the big show wasn’t long. The scammer offers to send the goods to you at the employer’s expense.

Payment must be made in cash on delivery directly to the postman using the so-called Paysafecard. The scanned Paysafecard will be sent as an attachment to the email address of the assumed post office. But once you do that, you’ve lost your money. The supposed seller did not mean to send you the goods you paid for in the first place.

The same applies here: Communicate exclusively through the news function of the classifieds portal and never give personal data such as cell phone number or email address to people you do not know who may misuse your data.

scam triangle rip off

The victim of the triangle scam is not just one person, but two. However, as for stealing, it’s a low-risk path. The triangle scam works in such a way that the scammer copies an ad you created and publishes it himself. He then contacts you to purchase the item and expresses a preference for payment via PayPal or bank transfer.

But while negotiating with you, it forwards your account details or PayPal address to the parties involved on the copied ad. So you get your money from an innocent prospect and send the goods to the scammer’s address, which usually turns out to be an empty apartment with a fake PO Box sign. However, the real buyer who paid you does not receive his goods and contact you to get his money back. Only now I became aware of the issue.

In such a case, it is difficult to trace the culprit because the contact details are usually fake. Buyer gets their money back from PayPal, but the seller doesn’t get their merchandise back. To protect yourself from the triangular scam, avoid paying via PayPal or bank transfer. If possible, give preference to the delivery of money and goods in person.

capture scam

While personal delivery is the safest way to sell things, it’s not the safest – because you don’t have proof that the goods actually reached the buyer.

Imagine the following scenario: You sell your goods to a potential customer who pays for them via PayPal. However, the item is not received by the buyer himself, but by a friend. After a short time, the fraudster complains that he did not receive the goods and activates PayPal Buyer Protection. The money will be refunded via PayPal. However, there is nothing you can do because you have no proof that the goods have reached the buyer. So you lost both your goods and your money.

To avoid this fraud, send the goods insured and keep the receipt as a guarantee. Transfer money in advance.

PayPal Scam: “Friends and Family”

To pay for goods and services, there is a corresponding payment method on PayPal: when you make a purchase, the seller pays a small fee to receive your money. However, if you pay using the Friends & Family option, the seller saves the fee – but the Buyer Protection does not apply as it is not intended for such transactions.

The following scam indicates this detail: as soon as you pay for the goods via “friends and family”, the buyer disappears and with them the goods you purchased. In such transactions, you must only pay using the “Goods and Services” option to benefit from Buyer Protection. In case of fraud you can get your money back.

empty containers

The package has just arrived, you are looking forward to it. You open it – and you are disappointed. The packaging is empty. However, since you paid the shipping company directly with cash on delivery, you will not receive a refund. The scammer made it this time, too.

Protect yourself from this by avoiding cash on delivery if possible. If you decide to do this anyway, you still have the opportunity to open the package to the postman.

Double lottery trick

The “double lottery trick” mainly applies to electronic devices. If you sell a working electronic device, the fraudster will contact you and take the device directly and pay for it, or send it to you and pay for it. But he complained shortly afterwards that the device is not working and wants his money back. Since the guarantee applies to private sales, the buyer will also get their money back. However, the scammer will send you a defective device that matches yours and keep the device working.

To protect yourself from these unpleasant surprises, document the condition of your device before selling it and take a picture of it. The serial number, for example, is important here. You can also show the fraudster how the device works when they pick it up. This way you avoid unfounded complaints.

Counterfeit money when paying with cash

Cash payments can also be fraudulent. And that when paying with counterfeit banknotes. If you use it to pay at the supermarket, for example, you face legal consequences.

If you receive counterfeit money, report it to the police immediately. Because there is an obligation to report fraud.

In general, the basic rule applies in the online payment system: be vigilant and somewhat skeptical. If you notice something funny, you better get your hands on it.

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