Am I being scammed?

July 19th, 2006

So today my auction for the tc1100 tablet PC ended. The winning bidder:

  • Is registered to eBay with a Malaysia address
  • Wants me to ship to a Nigeria address (I specifically said in the auction that I do ship internationally, but I ship only to PayPal verified addresses — and I doubt that anybody in Nigera has one)
  • Uses the name “Strong Buyer” in e-mail From line. (There was a real-sounding name in the message from eBay, and the person wants me to ship to a “stepson” in Nigera, also with a real-sounding name)
  • Only registered on eBay today
  • Asked me to send it via DHL, which costs about $250, compared to about $70 with USPS Global Express Mail to Nigeria
  • In the auction, I asked people to “ask the seller a question” to get shipping quotes to their country before placing a bid. This person didn’t (several others did).
  • Has a free throwaway email account (not as well known as hotmail, but the same sort of thing)

I replied to the buyer’s e-mail giving shipping prices to Nigeria and Malaysia, and restating my policy of shipping to only PayPal Verified Addresses.

So what do you all think? Is this a scam?

I was shocked at the amount of scams that sellers on eBay are exposed to these days. I’ve never seen this before, even just a few months ago when I sold my last item on eBay. But with this one, spammers and scammers are using the “ask seller a question” interface. One person tried to get me to use an eBay phishing clone site. Quite a few tried to get me to sell to them off eBay, to people in China, using a non-reputable billpay service. And there was just some generic spam.

So all that, plus the fact that they want me to ship to Nigeria, plus the fact that the person just registered on eBay today, is making me nervous.

So it seems odd, but I can’t quite work out how somebody would actually defraud me here. Also, I’m interested in what I should do if it is a scam.

Categories: tc1100 tablet

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Comments Feed15 Comments

  1. trent

    I wouldn’t sell it to him

    Reply

    Pupeno Reply:

    If they give you the money first then I don’t see what you may have to loose.
    There are countless of situations where a perfect transaction might appear as scam (you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to do business from third world countries).
    But granted, this looks too suspicious. I’d check with ebay, I’d send them an email. If someone knows about this kind of scam it’ll be them and if someone wants you to sell unless that is bad for you it’s them.

    Reply

  2. nhippi

    Money laundring?

    They are converting stolen credit card numbers and/or paypal accounts into goods.

    Just reject the pay based on inconsistent buyer details.

    Reply

  3. Jim

    eBay will check this out for you, maybe.
    I get a lot of second chance buyer offers. I send them to “eBay’s Trust and Safety Department” at
    “eBay Spoof” .
    I have always received a response, only once have they said things were legit. It wasn’t for a second chance.
    ..

    Reply

  4. James

    Of course its a scam. Never buy from or sell to Nigerians on eBay… hate to discriminate against the honest Nigerians out there but it is too great a risk. # Only registered on eBay today is the other give away – you’d want your buyer to have a decent history if you’re selling something as valuable as a tablet PC. You could have removed his bid during the auction legally, not sure what to do now, but whatever you do don’t ship it to him.

    Reply

  5. Wouter Verhelst

    There are many ways in which they could defraud you. One of them is that they try to get you to ship the goods to an “escrow” bureau, the idea of which is that this escrow then checks whether the goods are in good order, order the buyer to pay, and only then deliver the goods to the buyer; if they never pay, you (allegedly) get your goods back.

    In reality, of course this “escrow” is another identity of the same scammer. Don’t ship anywhere except if the buyer already paid or if the escrow is listed on ebay as actually someone you can trust.

    You can also ask ebay for advice; they have a pretty good overview of what you need to do in their help section (just search for “scam”)

    Reply

  6. Jon Kåre Hellan

    The classical scam would be that you get a check, the bank honors it, and he gets the computer. Everybody is happy until one month later when your bank takes the money back because the check didn’t clear in Nigeria.

    I don’t think you wrote how you were going to receive payment. Anyway, throwaway email and fresh ebay account are reason enough to stay away.

    Reply

  7. Ben Hutchings

    When they refuse to pay you through the specified method, you will have to go through the [url=http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/unpaid-item-process.html ]Unpaid Item Process[/url].

    Then you can do a [url=http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/second_chance_offer.html] Second Chance Offer[/url] to the next highest bidder.

    Reply

  8. John Goerzen

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I have contacted eBay with my concerns. I did hear back from the buyer — he asked me again about shipping options, and said he would “contact PayPal” about the verified address. Seemed to be in a terrible rush to get it shipped off, too — and asked me to make sure to wrap it well to prevent tampering.

    So I’ll give it a bit of time and see what eBay says, or if the buyer manages to come up with a PayPal verified address. I’m guessing not.

    Thanks again.

    Reply

  9. Daniel Nelson

    If they are using a stolen Paypal account, then the money will get charged back against you later when the owner discovers the fraud. By then you have shipped the item and if your Paypal account reads negative until you pay up.

    Reply

  10. Tom Moertel

    You wrote that, “I specifically said in the auction that I do ship internationally, …” If that’s what you said in the auction, why are you even considering shipping internationally?

    Cheers,
    Tom

    Reply

    Tom Moertel Reply:

    Scratch my previous comment. I misread “do” as “do not” in your original post.

    Reply

  11. Erich

    Insist on using an escrow service. Be honest about his details not matching, and escrow being the best option for both of you.
    For safety reasons, insist on using only official escrow services via ebay,
    http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/payment-escrow.html

    When something goes wrong, the money is with a US company, which probably gives you a much better standing than any nigerian. (I mean, they could still claim they received a broken shipment or so, and try to not release the money…)

    Be careful with the escrow, too – I saw some security issues with the escrow service ebay recommends for germany back then; no idea about the current state. I recommend to setup the transaction yourself, and be as careful as you can WRT to spoofed emails. Don’t trust any email, always try to log into the https website of the escrow service.

    There is a chance if you point out that you are very suspicious that he’ll just give up.

    Reply

  12. Marcus

    Look in wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-P-P-Powerbook
    which links to:
    http://www.p-p-p-powerbook.com/

    Or type “scambaiter” into google.

    If you still believe the this guy is not scamming you, maybe I can connect you with some well meaning people who send me an email today if I could not pick up a money-bag with 24M$ in Nigeria. ;-P

    You could kill two birds with a stone and make the delivery in person…

    Reply

  13. Steve

    I just had the same experience. This ebayer Colonel62 purchased my Sony Vaio laptop with the buy it now option and then sent me a fake paypal statement and a email that was such a spoof It made me laugh. Here is the email that he sent me:

    Hi Steven,
    Good day to you.I am Richard Hudson from Pocahontas,Arkansas,US.I’m contacting you concerning your item on Ebay which i eventually became the winning bidder for your item.Morever i’m presently serving our beloved nation here in Iraq with the United Nation and i intend sending this item to my wife who works with the American Embassy in Nigeria as a visa Officer.You shouldn’t worry about the shipping fees to her okay?.I’ll take care of it with my Personal FedEx Account # after payment so you won’t need to pay any money when mailing it to her over there.I will be making my payment to you via PayPal,So get the package ready for immediate or next day shipment okay.Make sure you send me your PayPal Email Address so i can immediately make out my payment to you for this item purchase.You are to mail it out immediately you get the confirmation mail from PayPal.Mail me back it’s urgent.

    Regards.
    Richard.

    I had to relist it. Hope ebay does not double charge me for the Laptop listing.

    Reply

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