eBay Buyer Scams

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Last week, we listed five ways in which sellers on eBay could scam you. This time around, we’ll be looking into how buyers can be the scammers and how you can keep your transactions safe.

Shipping to a different address/another country

This scam usually occurs when an innocent buyer’s account is hacked. The hacker will purchase an item using the hijacked account, and then convince the seller to ship to a friend/relative/boss at a different address, often in another country (most commonly Nigeria), which is not verified by PayPal. The innocent victim will have essentially paid for someone else to have an expensive new gift.

Always insure that you ship to the confirmed address. If a buyer asks for an item to be shipped to a different address you must ask them to change this on PayPal – never ship an item that is not confirmed.

“Damaged Item”

The scam buyer will have a damaged item that needs replacing. They’ll find the exact item on eBay and will be sure that the item has shipping insurance. Once they’ve received the item, they’ll switch it with the broken one and claim that it was damaged in transit and demand a refund, meaning they’ll get a brand new replacement absolutely free.

The best way to avoid this scam is to take down or photograph any serial numbers or unique features and be as honest as possible about the item in the description – if the item has a few marks or scuffs, be sure to let people know. Scammers won’t try to trick you if they know that you have proof.

 Item “Not Received”

This scam highlights the importance of delivery confirmation. The scammer can purchase an item, receive it and claim that it was not delivered. If you don’t have proof that the item was delivered (i.e. delivery confirmation), the scammer may receive their money back as well as keeping your goods.

Shipments using UPS, FedEx, and DHL automatically have delivery confirmation, so try and use them. For other delivery methods, you can usually add confirmation with ease. As well as this, state that delivery confirmation is used in the listing – scammers will avoid you.

“You have been chosen to sell our products!”

You may receive an email from a seemingly-official company, stating that you’ve been selected to be a seller of some top-of-the-line products as a result of your amazing positive feedback. You’ll be asked to list the items on your account. You’ll then receive payment and send a large percentage of the money to the ‘company’. They’ll send the product to the buyer and everyone’s happy! Except for the buyer. And you.

The ‘company’ won’t send the item to the buyer, and you’ll be left to take the blame when they demand their money back. Don’t fall for this scam – ignore any unsolicited emails.


This is where a buyer pays with their credit card asks their respective credit card company to remove the charge because the goods were not received or it’s fraudulent. The best way to prevent this sort of scam is to keep ALL documentation and evidence of transaction and delivery. Keep an ‘eBay Folder’ with all of your documents filed away – you never know when you might need them!

Remember folks, it’s all about being vigilant and using your common sense. Keep to eBay and PayPal’s guidelines, ignore untrusted emails and if in doubt, walk away!

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