Beware: New Ebay camera scam pretty good one!

Started Jan 22, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Beware: New Ebay camera scam pretty good one!
Jan 22, 2009

I consider myself a pretty savvy ebay'er. The typical scam is usually fairly transparent to me... "Oops... I sent you too much money, can you send me back the difference... the broken english nigerian scams, etc." I have a 150+ feedback rating and a 100% positive feedback rating. I've been on ebay for over 10 years and have never been scammed... until now.

I share this only to point out a sophisticated scam I hadn't seen before and in hopes of preventing others from running into a similar situation...

December 9th I sold a Canon 5d camera on ebay via Buy-it-now. Payment was immediate via paypal.

The buyer contacted me, said they had won the auction.

The only slightly out of the ordinary request was that the seller asked if they could bill the shipping charges to their own UPS account. I was pretty much ok with this, as I have done the same thing when I though a seller was over-charging for shipping, etc. My shipping wasn't outrageous... but I did include insurance costs in the shipping amount so it was $40 - $50 to ship the camera.

When the shipping label came to me I double checked that the address matched the ship to address on ebay and paypal.... which it did.

So, money in hand, essentially normal transaction, off the camera goes to the buyer. Buyer responds back to me that they got the camera, and all is well.

Yesterday (January 21st), I get a phone call from the buyer saying, "Yes, I have a paypal charge on my credit card statement for $3000 dollars and I want to see if you can help me figure this out."

The lady tells me her name, which I recognize as the person I sold the camera to and I start to get that uneasy feeling in my stomach. She proceeds to tell me she didn't buy a camera... nor did she receive a camera.

She proceeds to tell me that her paypal account had been hacked. But I am thinking to myself, "I shipped this where ebay and paypal told me to ship this to... so how could this all be?" Things weren't really adding up at the moment.

So, I go to my computer, pull out the shipping information (provided by her... so I thought)... re-check the shipping address... It still matches what is on the paypal and ebay instructions (thank god). So I am thinking to myself, "Is someone lying to me?.... What is going on here?"

So I take the UPS tracking number and punch it into UPS. It shows delivered... but when I hit the "show shipping progress" a whole new story starts to emerge...

The package made it all the way to the seller's residence... by all accounts it should have been delivered... but the person that hacked her paypal account was a real pro (in my book)...

He took the liberty of altering her personal information (address and phone) not only in paypal, but also ebay!!... just enough to where the package wouldn't be deliverable, and the contact info wouldn't match. The package then began to float around UPS as they tried to figure out where it was supposed to go... a process that can take several days to a week. In the meantime the scammer initiated a package intercept request with UPS (which he can do since he was the one that technically originated the shipment... via wanting to charge the shipping charges to his account) and proceeded to redirect the package to someplace in New York (the original destination was California). Looking at the tracking log, the package was not delivered until December 26th (even though it was sent 2nd day air)... so it took 17 days to get to its destination. It shows no less than 5 attempts by UPS to redirect the package to the "new" correct address!

And so, 6 week after the camera was shipped, and 4 weeks after it was delivered I find out that the camera was scammed and now I am in the middle of a paypal dispute with the person who's account was hacked. Everyone is very civil and I am hoping for a good outcome. Paypal SAYS they protect you from unauthorized payments... so I am hoping that by being able to show that I shipped the package to the address listed that they will stand by their policy. Obviously my exposure is that I used a shipping label not prepared by me... but that was addressed correctly to where I was told to ship it to.

The whole thing is a pain, however, as paypal locks your account... or at least puts a $3,000 hold on it (which we use for business transactions from our clients all the time. So, we'll see.

Morale to the story: When working with someone you don't know don't trust a shipping label even if it is addressed correctly.

Randy

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