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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » EBay Fraud (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

geemack
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Greg McNeil Peoria,Illinois
294 Posts

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When considering placing a bid on eBay, always check the bid history on the item. If there are canceled bids, you might want to be wary of the integrity of the seller. There's a fraudulent practice involving bid cancellations, and here's how it works...

Lets say the current bid on an item is $100, and you bid $150 for the item. Once you've made that bid eBay automatically places a $102.50 bid for you, the next acceptable bid above the current $100. But your full $150 bid remains in the background. Now let's say someone else bids $125. Since you have a background bid of $150, your bid will automatically go to $127.50, and you'll still be the high bidder. So far so good.

Now let's say the seller has his friend, the shill, bid $200. His bid will automatically go to $152.50, the next acceptable bid above your background bid of $150. So now the seller's friend knows how much your highest bid is. Now the shill cancels his bid, putting you back in the winning spot with $127.50. Okay, apparently no harm done. But wait.

Let's say nobody else was going to bid and you might have won that auction with your $127.50 bid. Here's where the fraud comes in. The seller's friend knows you have a background bid of $150. So shortly before the auction ends the seller has his shill bid $145. He knows he's not going to win, because he knows your background bid will still beat him. So that forces your bid up to $147.50, and you win the auction. But your final price is $20 more than it should have been. The seller had his accomplice place a bid, determine your background bid, cancel his bid, then bid just below your actual high background bid amount. Fraud complete.

So always check the feedback of the seller, and of course most of us already do that. But check the bid history, too. And check the feedback of the other bidders. You might just find some of those other bidders are in a habit of bidding on that same seller's items. You might just find some bidders are probing for the high background bids, then canceling their bids. This should be a red flag, especially if it happens more than once on any given item, or multiple times for a given bidder and/or seller.

When you see this sort of suspicious activity, notify eBay at their fraud email, fraud at eBay dot com. Let them know the item, the seller, and the bogus bidder. Now indeed a bid cancellation may come as a result of a legitimate mistake in entering the bid (or for a couple other valid reasons). But if eBay finds a particular user is in the habit of such bidding, they'll cancel that bidder's account, and likely also cancel that seller's account, too. This particular scam is perpetrated simply to raise bids to their highest possible amounts, and is only to the advantage of the seller. So when it does occur, it's likely that the seller is in on it.

Lately I've noticed a particular seller of magic items who appears to be utilizing this bit of fraud. I've informed eBay, and hopefully the shills' accounts will be removed and it will cease to be a problem. But it's not an uncommon practice among other unscrupulous sellers, so be wary.

Greg
nucinud
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Inner circle
New York, New York
1298 Posts

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Shills in Magic, Okay.
Shills on eBay, NOT Okay.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

www.mandelmagic.com
irossall
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Snohomish, Washington
529 Posts

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I got ripped off of a $5.00 purchase but E-Bay wanted $20.00 to settle the dispute.
You can't really be ripped off by this scam because you only bid the maximum that you are willing to pay anyway (even though you may have gotten a better deal).
E-Bay would have to prove that this was a deliberate scam which may be very difficult at best.
Not getting a product that you payed for is an altogether different type of scam but you must make sure that you are willing to pay the $20.00 to have E-Bay go after the culprits.
I agree with Greg about checking the feedback on the seller before making a serious bid on an item.
Iven Smile
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geemack
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Greg McNeil Peoria,Illinois
294 Posts

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Quote:
On 2006-01-06 15:40, irossall wrote...

You can't really be ripped off by this scam because you only bid the maximum that you are willing to pay anyway (even though you may have gotten a better deal).
E-Bay would have to prove that this was a deliberate scam which may be very difficult at best.

Mostly true. But really the top amount we bid is the maximum we're willing to pay in a fair auction against other bidders who also have a legitimate interest in buying the item. The maximum I'm willing to pay is significantly less if there's collusion between the seller and a non-legitimate buyer.

EBay frowns on these sorts of manipulations by sellers. And while it's true we probably wouldn't be able to recover any "losses" (the difference between the legitimate bid and the artificially pumped up bid), eBay does delete accounts all the time based on simple suspicious activity. So reporting it still keeps the whole operation cleaner and safer.

Now I hope I haven't given any of you unscrupulous sellers any ideas here. It is against eBay's policies and you're not likely to get away with it. Smile

Greg
amerkle
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At http://www.bid-on-magic.com we always encourage users to check the feedback of the seller. We also do NOT allow bid retractions. Once you place a bid--you are legally committed to the item. We feel this offers the most protection for the buyer and the seller.
Richard Evans
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1377 Posts

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Thanks for sharing that info Greg.

Richard
I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I only lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three. Elayne Boosler
Mehtas
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England, UK
1650 Posts

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Shill bidding is not allowed on ebay.

I've managed to report three members so far and two of them have been suspendid due to many more reports.

You can go to a bidders history and see his/her bidding patterns.

Always report him to ebay if you see something fishy.


:kewl:
Mad Jake
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All the voices in my head helped me make
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Greg,
great bit of information. Shill bidding has been going on for quite some time on ebay and safeharbor is always on the lookout and greatly appreciates any information they recieve. Bid retractions by the same person over and over are watched very closely by safeharbor for that reason. Usually when we have a bid retraction we block that buyer from bidding in the future, unless the retraction is legitimate, like when I entered 850.00 instead of 85.00, generally when an incorrect bid amount is entered and then retracted the corrected bid is placed immediately afterwards, if it's not, that sets off a red flag with safeharbor and that user is watched and bidding patterns are tracked by ebay's software.

Jake
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