Another eBay seller scammed for over £10k (probably £15k)

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Darren from Motorsavers has discovered that he is the latest eBay seller scammed by the eBay PayPal email payment address fraud.

The first indication that something was wrong was on receipt of an email from eBay citing “unauthorised use of your account” and forcing a password reset. However the email didn’t indicate anything further was wrong. It was a week later when he noticed that returns cases were being automatically closed by eBay that he contacted customer support to ask why. It turns out the the returns were being closed because they were related to fraudulent eBay PayPal email payment addresses and customer support asked if 3 PayPal accounts with three different names and email addresses being used on his account were legitimate. eBay support also suggested at this time checking the PayPal email address on all listings.

Having only ever had a single PayPal address on listings since the account was first opened in 2003, it was obvious the other three addresses weren’t legitimate and Darren replied to customer support saying so. However this was the last contact from eBay until around £1500 in credits appeared on his account without explanation. eBay hadn’t confirmed that these credits are related to fraudulent PayPal addresses and also hadn’t been straight up and informed Darren that he’d been scammed.

In mid September, spotting that eBay sales reports and PayPal reports showed a significant mis-match, they called eBay and asked for a report on the transactions with the fake email addresses. They were given impacted item numbers and discovered the PayPal payments were missing and when they called back were given yet more affected item numbers.

At this stage, off their own back they spotted that additional payment rules had been set up in Business Policies but for some reason eBay didn’t advise checking there.

Every day since, they have been contacting eBay to request a full report of transactions where the funds were sent to scammers but haven’t yet received it. As usual, PayPal are saying that it’s an eBay problem and down to eBay to put right.

Currently, Darren has identified losses of around £10,000, but this is expected to grow to around £15,000 based on the eBay fees refunded.

It’s strange that eBay have been so slow to at least provide a transaction report detailing those where the funds were stolen as in other instances of an eBay seller scammed this has been provided within as little as 15 minutes. It’s also encouraging that eBay appear to have taken action by forcing a password reset, but at the same time disappointing that they aren’t spelling out the problem to the sellers who have been scammed. They’re not telling them that funds are stolen, they’re not telling them in the initial contact that they need to update listings or payment rules in Business Policies. They’re not automatically sending a transaction report even when they refund fees. MOst of all, eBay are not telling sellers a definitive way to either avoid becoming the victim of this scam or for sellers who have had funds stolen telling them how to avoid it re-occurring.

eBay have given vague advice in their comments, such as using two-factor authentication. Verbally, support have also suggested bulk editing listings on a daily basis to ensure the PayPal email addresses are correct. They also appear to be scanning accounts and forcing password changes which suggests they are taking action internally, but they’re not reporting effectively to the impacted sellers what’s happened and what the sellers should do.

eBay have a serious trust problem. They have buyer protection which is great. They have seller protection which is great. They’ve just announced enhanced seller protection for Top Rated Sellers which is also great. None of this matters if sellers have zero protection as every eBay seller scammed for 10s of £1000s are telling us. eBay need to give some explicit guidance to sellers on how to secure their accounts and provide a method of alerting sellers if their eBay PayPal email payment address is changed.

17 Responses

  1. I have also fallen victim to this scam to the tune of several thousand dollars. I am removing all of my listings and re-evaluating the value of my association with eBay. I have tried calling but you only ever get customer service representatives from third world countries with little interest or motivation to help resolve the problem. Ebay needs to fastrack sellers experiencing these sorts of problems to properly trained non outsourced company employees in the. Countries and even geographical proximity to sellers affected or they will suffer serious loss of confidence in their model. Ebay is becoming known quickly as the place you better not sell anything valuable or risk complete loss. In my opinion if eBay does not become intimitelly involved in the shipping process through ownership either merge eBay and PayPal or get out of the payment handling business.

  2. eBay should refund ALL affected sellers from the first day the problem was reported – as they should’ve added immediately confirmation facility to such important piece of the system. They didn’t so they are responsible for all future loses.

  3. Has anyone any idea where these BUSINESS POLICIES are. We are only small seller and we can find instructions on ebay about how to change/set up you business policies . However the tab only shows in the Account Information if we click through from the Help section (ie not when we link from our Account tab) and then it says there is something wrong with the link and to tray again later
    Maybe this only appears if you have Anchor shop ??

  4. To those who can’t find it on the top left of the ebay page when signed in it will say

    Hello – your name

    Click on the small arrow next to your name
    Click on account settings

    There should be a menu (on the left of our screen) with the words business policies, click on this and it will show all your policies including payment policies

  5. Hi David
    Thanks for the info but we already did that on both our business accounts and the Business Policies tab is missing from the menu list It only appears if you search for info on the Help Pages and link through from there – then the Business Policies tab says there is an error and to come back later
    TOBY – we did exactly the same as you and got all that garbage. Thinking (hoping) it probably won’t do anything anyway . Would ring ebay if only I had the strength and determination to try to explain this to someone for whom English is a second language. :-((.

  6. I don’t think this should be continually referred to as a ‘scam’ that eBay sellers have fallen victim to at this stage with more coming forward everyday I think it is looking increasingly unlikely that access to edit listings has been obtained through negligence with passwords by the seller. Continuing to do so makes it sound like those involved got taken in by an email from someone in the Nigerian finance ministry.

    I think this is a theft and very likely the lapse in security was not within the sellers involved businesses.

    I find it odd that eBay are refunding any fees if they truly believe sellers were negligent in disclosing their passwords – unless, of course they know something the rest of us do not.

  7. Hi. Maybe ebay sellers can contact the financial ombudsman and other authorities like trading standards to look into the operating platform and why they are shrugging off the sellers with little or no help. EBay rent their website to individu al sellers to use at a fee. Maybe NO. FEES until this is resolved. Sellers could also see a solicitor for compensation. When any of the above is in motion. It’s then you will see a change in how they conduct their business as at the moment they think they’re untouchable. .

  8. We also have been the victim of this fraud to the tune of £12.5k, We were blanked by ebay and didn’t have fees refunded, but helped a little by paypal so we could identify values and products effected, who do in the end pass the buck to ebay!


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