How not to be scammed on eBay

How not to be scammed on eBay

You have found some very attractive listings on eBay but have not yet made any purchase because you are afraid of being caught up in online scams? I understand your concerns, but you do not have to be paranoid! Asking yourself How not to be scammed on eBay or other e-commerce sites is lawful, even dutiful, but you do not have to see “monsters” everywhere. Also because with a pinch of attention you can make purchases on eBay and many other online stores with absolute confidence.

If you want to clarify the topic, dedicate a little of your precious free time and let me explain how the main eBay scams are perpetrated: so you can learn to recognize them and, above all, to avoid them. For completeness of information, then, I will explain what you could do in the unfortunate event in which I fell into the scams perpetrated on the famous online shopping platform founded by Pierre Omidyar.

Courage, get comfortable, take the time to read the next paragraphs very carefully and, more importantly, put into practice the “tips” I will give you. You will see, if you follow my advice, you will minimize the chance to come across a scam on eBay and you can start making purchases online more consciously. Good reading and good shopping!


  • Example of scam on eBay
  • How not to be scammed on eBay
  • What to do if you have been scammed on eBay

Examples of scams on eBay

How not to be scammed on eBay

How is a scam on eBay perpetrated? Answering this important question will also allow you to understand how you can effectively defend yourself against the bad guys who wander in the maze of the well-known e-commerce site. To make you understand How not to be scammed on eBay, I will give you a concrete example that concerns one of my dear reader who is called “Jennifer” (a fancy name, of course!).

Some time ago, Francesca wrote to me saying that unfortunately she was the victim of a scam on eBay, despite being a “fanatic” of this online store and used it for a long time both to sell and to buy auctioned products.

Francesca participated in an auction but, unfortunately, she was not able to win it. At the end of the auction, however, she was still contacted by the seller, who proposed to buy privately from him – then out of eBay – the product that had not been awarded. Incautamente, Francesca accepted and paid the seller (or rather, the scammer) by making a prepaid credit card recharge in his favor.

After a week, Francesca did not receive the product purchased and therefore contact the seller to ask him about it. The latter replies that the package had returned to him because he had mistaken the shipping address and, having accidentally deleted his e-mails, did not know how to contact her (but look a bit ‘that “strange” coincidence!) .

Francesca writes a new e-mail to the seller indicating his shipping address, spend another 15 days and, not having received any response from the latter, Francesca tells him that he is going to report it to the Postal Police. Suddenly responds a person who looks like his “relative”, which informs Francesca that the seller is unfortunately in the hospital (another “strange” coincidence!).

At this point Francesca no longer believes all these excuses and taking a look at eBay notes that the scammer with whom unfortunately has had to do is far from sick … continues to perform operations on the e-commerce platform looking for of other unwary users.

The story that happened to Francesca, I just described you, is one of the most widespread scams and, alas, even one of the most effective that are perpetrated to the detriment of users: the purchase off eBay. To defend yourself from this and other scams, do not accept for any reason to buy off eBay and follow the instructions you find in the next few lines to protect you.

How not to be scammed on eBay

How not to be scammed on eBay

Now it’s time to figure out How not to be scammed on eBay. All you need is a little common sense, the feedback system on eBay and PayPal, which if used as a payment method allows you to have numerous protections both as a buyer and as a seller.

Use common sense

How not to be scammed on eBay

Using common sense is the first thing you should do to avoid scams on eBay and, more generally, on the Web. So if you find an advertisement where you are offered the purchase of a smartphone of the latest generation at a price to say the least ridiculous, a scam is probably hidden behind the ad!

The same is true even when, for example, you find apparently branded products that have attractive prices but come from China, Vietnam or other Asian countries: as tempting as the offer may seem, you would do well to pay close attention, because you could risk buying counterfeit products and thus running into scams.

Check the feedback

How not to be scammed on eBay

Check the seller’s feedback (or, if you’re selling a product yourself, the buyer’s ones) can help you figure out if a user is more or less trustworthy or if, instead, he might be a scammer.

Since some users are able to “inflate” their feedback – for example by creating fake eBay profiles and releasing positive feedback to themselves, negotiating positive feedback or even extorting them from other users – I suggest you also check how many products have been sold (or purchased) by the user on eBay: the higher the number of products sold and / or purchased, the higher the score of the feedback and the lower the chances of being in the presence of a scammer.

That said, do not stop at the mere score in the feedback: before making a purchase, take the time and the trouble to read also the various comments released by other users who somehow have had to do with the user: so you can be even more sure of its reliability.

Check the accepted payment methods

How not to be scammed on eBay

Also checking the payment methods accepted by the seller is another trick that you would do well to take to avoid being cheated on eBay. If, in fact, the seller only accepts payments in cash or by money order, you should start to seriously suspect that behind it he actually hides a scammer.

Use PayPal as a payment method

How not to be scammed on eBay

Remaining on the subject of payment methods, try to use as much as possible PayPal, a fast and secure payment method whereby anyone with an email address can send and receive payments online using their current account or their credit card. credit.

Among the many advantages offered by PayPal is the PayPal Program for the protection of the buyer, thanks to which you can receive a refund of the full amount of a purchase (including shipping costs) if this does not conform to the description made by the seller, shows signs of damage or wear not indicated in the description or is not delivered.

You can learn more about the PayPal Buyer Protection Program by visiting the relevant help pages that you can find both on the PayPal website and on the eBay website.

Other useful tips

In addition to the suggestions that I listed in the previous lines, there are other useful tips that you could take into account to avoid running into a scam.

  • Carefully analyze the advertisement – do not neglect anything and take the time to carefully read the various conditions set by the buyer. Do not forget to also take a look at the photos in the ad trying to catch any defects in the object that have not been highlighted in its description (scratches, splits, injuries and so on).
  • Contact the seller to request any clarification – before proceeding with the purchase of an object, try to contact the seller in order to dispel any doubts on the listing.
  • Ship the product to the correct shipping address and use tracking shipments – in this way the buyer can not make excuses about the delivery of the purchased product and you will not have to make a refund not due to the latter.

What to do if you have been scammed on eBay

How not to be scammed on eBay

If unfortunately you have been scammed on eBay, maybe because you have not paid attention to the suggestions I gave you in the previous lines, try to contact the Customer Service of the famous e-commerce service by visiting the appropriate contact page and using the right option to report the problem you’ve encountered.

To contact eBay after a scam, first indicate if you have encountered the problem as a buyer or seller by clicking on Buy or Selling respectively. Then select the specific problem you’ve found by selecting one of the available options.

For example, if you purchased a product but did not receive it, click on the items Buy> Pay items> Item paid but not received, then click on the button Open a request and use one of the contact methods available to contact eBay (of course, after making reasonable attempts to contact the seller himself).

You can contact eBay either by phone (available from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:30), or via chat (Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 20:00) or via e-mail.

Of course, I can not guarantee that eBay will reimburse you (especially if you have not used PayPal as a payment method or if you have not paid attention to one of the conditions set by the seller), but I suggest you try anyway. As they say in these cases, tempt no harm!

How not to be scammed on eBay