In one of my previous articles I have explained how scammers open a fake paypal Account. eBay accounts can be exploited just the way paypal accounts are. Usually what you need is just some technical computer know-how, and a virtual credit card and you’re ready to open up a fake ebay ID, with the purpose of scamming a few people before you get caught. If the process is repeated, you can imagine that the sums of stolen cash just keep on increasing day after day. Once read about fake paypal accounts you will understand how easily is to do just the same on other websites where similar authentication of user accounts is used.
Shill bidding is artificially increasing the price of an item by any means may it be a second eBay account or a “friend” bidding on your item. These methods are used by both sellers to sell an item higher as well as buyers to get an item for a lower price. We will look at both examples.
A seller has set up an auction for his car. His starting price was 5000$, but four days after he logs in to eBay and notices the price got up only to 5430$ and only 2 days are left to auction end. He gets scared because he was hoping to get 8000$ for the car. He creates another eBay account or calls his friend to bid on the item to raise the price. This is unfair to other buyers and also prohibited by eBay.
A buyer, we can safely call this buyer a scammer, looks for a new computer. Soon he finds what he is looking for. A brand new Toshiba laptop starting at 1$ while the retail price is 1500$. Naturally he wants the item to sell as low as possible, so to secure this price he uses a sneaky method. On this current account he places a bid of 400$, he then logs off eBay, signs in with another account and places a bid of 1600$. As you see he placed a bid higher than the price of the new item. This is done for a reason. When normal ebayers see this, they will not bid on the item since it is overpriced already. Minutes or seconds, before the auction end he will retrace the 1600$ bid which will automatically make his second account where he placed 400$ the winner. He was second in line and if the highest bidder retraces a bid, eBay system chooses the next in line as the current highest bidder. If you’re a seller and don’t want this to happen to you, use a buy it now price, or a starting price which you think is fair and acceptable for you.
To setup fake auctions thieves need multiple eBay accounts, because eBay is catching scammers and looking 24/7 for bogus auctions. There are two ways to obtain multiple eBay seller accounts:
a) Opening multiple accounts under a false ID
c) Gaining Access to the Database (extremely rare)
Image Example of a False Auction
These scam auctions usually have these following points in common. Feedback of the seller doesn’t matter here, because these accounts were hijacked and are used by a different person, Scammers. Many times auctions are posted in a totally unrelated category, such as seen on the picture example above. The Auctions goes for a Travel Trailer and the category of the selling item is Music Cassettes! This is done by the scammers to lower the rate of being caught. Another thing by which you could recognize this auction as a scam is that the “seller” tries every possible way to contact him outside of eBay. One thing that can’t be seen in this example here is, the real auction description was clickable and directed you to a site out of eBay. Seller said to contact him through email to either negotiate a buy it now price or other questions. That is because he knows eBay is on his track and sooner or later his fraudulent auction will be put down, so he wants as soon as possible other means of contact for his targets, in this case email. A trick to fool you can also be a “Buy It Now” button or link inside the description. If you are about to click this link you will be forwarded to an eBay clone (an exact clone of eBay, of course a fake one, set up by the thief) where you can be scammed more easily, because the dupe eBay site is in direct control of the con artist. These thieves are in a hurry to scam you so they will often repeat sentences like “I ship fast” or “contact me fast, before it is too late”. The grammar also will be of very bad nature and contain more spelling mistakes than you can count on your fingers. Sometimes, duplicate auctions will be setup by scammer. This means that one is legit, from a real seller but the other one is a dupe from a scammer, a copy-paste. More then often these will be from China at ridiculous low prices and descriptions will contain more talk about their culture, how great their country is than from the selling item itself. Funny but True!
Fake auctions, sometimes, are placed by usually honest ebayers who are pulling a prank or trying out and idea on their minds. A great example happened about a year ago when xbox360 came out and there was a huge demand for it, they were selling like break. So in all this chaos, someone had the idea of selling an xbox BOX. Yes just a box, he clearly did write he is selling a box from xbox 360. In the description he added all the necessary information for xbox 360, but in the bottom of the post he mentioned he does not sell an actual xbox 360, but a regular cardboard box written xbox 360 on it. I had a pretty good laugh at it, since it was the lone fault of the buyer not reading the description in whole. Although the auction was deceptive, it is the buyers responsibility to read the whole page and inform himself properly before making a buy decision.