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Monday, December 11, 2006

The Anatomy of an eBay Scam – Reloaded

As eerie as this may seem, this recent eBay scam I have been caught up in has more turns and worse endings than the Matrix movie series. Just when I thought it was safe to come out of the woods, I find myself snarled in the eBay / Paypal ripoff gone wrong again. Wait until you hear what happened today!

I was planning on giving the Thousand Oaks police department a call today to update a police report / close it due to the fact that I received my refund from the seller as you read about in my article here. Then I got the following email from my good friends at PayPal:


It has come to our attention that you may be the recipient of potentially unauthorized funds. We have initiated an investigation into this event. In the meantime, we have placed a temporary hold on the funds in question until the investigation is complete. This temporary hold will show as a deduction in your available balance. In the meantime, you are free to continue transacting using your PayPal account.

Transaction Date: Dec. 9, 2006 16:46:35 PST
Transaction Amount: $289.00 USD
Payor's Email: ****NAME SCRUBBED****

If you have not delivered the goods or services related to this transaction, we ask that you delay or stop delivery until our investigation is complete as you may be liable for the amount in question.

To assist us in our investigation, please send an email to with the following information:

1. The item, service or purpose of the purchase, and the associated value;
2. The name and address given to you by the sender (if an item was purchased);
3. If shipped, the company used for shipping, date of shipment, and tracking number for the shipment;
4. Details of any other transactions related to the transaction(s) in question;
5. A phone number where you can be reached during the day and evening; and
6. Insurance information, if applicable.

Any additional information you have regarding this transaction, such as email correspondence, will further help us to expedite our investigation. Solving these cases helps us continue to offer PayPal as a secure and cost-effective payment service. We appreciate your cooperation and assistance.

PayPal Account Review Team


According to PayPal, it looks like I may be in receipt of a payment that was unauthorized. Even though the subject of the payment had to do with the “Refund of Canon SD800 IS Camera”, it looks like the users account that provided the refund may have been compromised. It appears that the person that I have been dealing with is into crimes much deeper than simple fraud. They may also be involved in some sort of phishing ring that is moving not only defrauding eBay users, but also compromising PayPal accounts and leveraging them to pay other individuals. Will wonders never cease?

So, I went ahead and contacted the seller – I am not expecting a returned email, but I demanded that the money be refunded from the account I originally paid in order for me to stop any proceedings against them.

In a couple of additional wrinkles, when I received the funds into my PayPal account, I immediately transferred them out to my bank account given my recent experiences. So, we will see how serious PayPal handles this mess than is even larger than before. I may just close my account!

Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Can Google checkout get more pervasive any faster? Someone needs to replace PayPal in the market – they’re an absolute disaster.


Stockpile said...

I bet paypal was poised to place a freeze on your account the moment you responded to that email.
I wasn't so lucky... When I first started selling on ebay, I only accepted money orders and US Bank Checks. Ebay Bidders kept complaining, that I should accept Paypal. They whined, they bitched, and they complained so much that they wore me down. I set up a paypal account and now all of my auctions accepted paypal, Boy did I see the difference, alot more bidders bid on my items. It must have been because I accepted paypal. Everything was going great, and I did not have one problem, for a long time. Then, about 3 months later, I had a first time, ebay bidder! Honestly, this bidder had Zero FEEDBACK (0)!
He won, one of my items, OMG, I had heard and read about first time buyers, First One for me... Well, they opened a dispute against me, because, they had not received their item and it had been 7 days since the auction had ended!
In my auctions, I clearly state that I ship once a week!
I ship only on Friday mornings, between 9 am and 10 am,
And I asked buyers not to bid on my auction items, if they were in a hurry, too!
The new ebay bidder auction ended on Saturday.....
I shipped the item on friday at 9:00 am the following friday, as scheduled. I receive a email from paypal, saying that a customer who paid by paypal had opened a dispute against me for a unreceived item? Huh?
They also informed me that paypal HAD PLACED A HOLD, ON MY PAYPAL ACCOUNT, and that the money was not going to be available, UNTIL THEY COMPLETED AN INVESTIGATION REGARDING THE CLAIM! No problem, the item was shipped on the correct day and this would be over quickly! How Ignorant was I ....
Unforunately, very ignorant, because, I did not understand what paypal meant in that first email. I aske paypal why didn't the customer email me? I explained that the auction item was not shipped until the following friday as stated in my auction ad! I even had the conformation/tracking number etc.. I sent paypal a copy of the auction ad and the tracking number, and I told them that I thought that the buyer was new and must just be impatient, blah, blah, blah! To make a long story short:
My paypal account had over $400 in it from my ebay auction sells that day, and I usually paid my bills online through paypal/my wells fargo bank account. I had to write out checks to pay my bill,CHECKS! Even the automatic payments were blocked. Hey my ebay seller fees were automatically paid through paypal....I was denied access to all of MY Personal Bank Accounts! Then checks came back, stamped unsufficeint funds! Big fees and charges and this escalated all over a $10 item. Which ended up costing me thousands! It was like I was in a bad episode of the Twilight Zone. What a UNHOLY MESS!

FYI: Did you know if you give a refund back or receive a refund via paypal, a freeze is usually placed on your paypal account only, and it usually takes up to 5 days for that to clear before it is deposited into yours/their bank accounts. That is why I said you were so LUCKY!

Ken Hanscom said...

Stockpile, that sounds like a really bad situation, I feel bad for you. As I have mentioned in some other posts, something needs to be done with them.