A Bulgarian woman has been arrested, accused of using eBay to swindle American buyers out of US$350,000. Mariyana Feliksova Lozanova, a.k.a. “Gentiane La France,” a.k.a. “Naomi Elizabeth DeBont,” who is said to be part of an “transnational crime group”, advertised expensive boats and cars for sale on the site. Winning buyers were then advised to wire cash to “eBay Secure Traders”, a sham payment site which then transferred the cash to bank accounts held by Lozanova, which had been opened using fake US passports.
The Register, with their usual anti-eBay bias, want this story to be about how eBay should police their site. Really the issue is one of buyer common sense. Would you send several thousand quid to someone you didn’t know, by a method that offered you no protection if something went wrong, trusting them to send your expensive purchase? No? How about if a website said it was alright? Just because it’s eBay and it looks like a bargain, doesn’t mean common sense should go out the window. Sending money to an escrow service you’ve never heard of, recommended by a seller, is just asking for trouble. Credit-card funded Paypal payments offer buyers two levels of protection in the event of a problem. And always remember: if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.