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Author Topic: eBay: How To Avoid Becoming A Scam Victim  (Read 19068 times)

Klaus Heyne

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eBay: How To Avoid Becoming A Scam Victim
« on: December 16, 2006, 07:43:53 pm »

A client asked my advice and kept me abreast on his bidding of a beautiful looking U47. Then he became the high bidder, at  over $6,000.- Then he received the following notice from eBay:
Quote:

Dear (---),
We're writing to let you know that eBay has ended the following item you were bidding on because the item appears to have been listed without the account holder's permission:

Item Number - 20005735xxxx
Item Title - Neumann U47 Kondensator-Mikrofon (Long Body)
We are now working to restore the account to its original owner as soon as possible.


When the auction first came up, the client asked me what he should do.
After I looked at the site, and saw the rather strange combo of vintage parts on this seemingly pristine looking mic (the vintages of electronics, housing tube and transformer varied, and did not match up to the serial number), I advised that if he is the high bidder, to NOT pay the client remotely, for security reasons, but drive up to his location, look at the mic in person and, if the mic and the seller looked trustworthy, pay him cash.

That strategy in the end saved his money and peace of mind.

Another method of relieving a buyer of his money was recently featured in the L.A.
Times. I quote:
Quote:


'Second chance' scams

A classic Romanian scam is the "second chance auction." The mark: an EBay user who has narrowly lost an auction. The scammers can see that the user was prepared to spend, say, $145 on a particular item. They will then try to guess the user's e-mail address so that they can make contact off the EBay platform to offer a second chance to buy the item. Users commonly have the same e-mail address as their EBay user name, so the scammers may send out 50 e-mail messages using an EBay user name and the most common domain names such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.

The Romanian scammers then cook up elaborate stories to persuade their victims to send money via unrecoverable methods such as Western Union -- even instructing people not to tell Western Union the payment is for an EBay transaction, claiming Western Union will charge them an EBay surcharge of 10% (it doesn't), and instead to say they're sending money to their Romanian cousin.


eBay gets less and less exciting as a place to shop for expensive mics. Not only is it yet another realm on the internet where our innate desire and ability to trust one another is betrayed, and more and more so every day, but where a seemingly easy way for a clean and fair transaction between a willing seller and buyer is shifting unacceptably in favor of the seller:

* frauds like the ones above increase, to the point where I hear at least of one of these cases every week

* scams, like shill games get more frequent, and more profitable in the $3,000 plus range- right at the price range of our beloved vintage mics:  
a friend of the seller bids up the price, thus creating the impression of a higher value for the item than its actual or average market value, all the while monitoring, through his access to the bidding progress and history, the bidding pattern.

I am sure there are other scams going and they are probably only growing more frequent, as the market for vintage mics tightens up more, and, because of the seeming ease of transactions, is shifting from reputable, or at least reachable, brick+mortar sellers to the virtual, anonymous market of eBay.

I have warned, again and again, against bidding when no personal contact to the seller can be established, or where the personal contact seems suspicious (late, insufficient or no responses to questions during bidding, ambiguous or contradictory language in the item description, etc.)

As buyers we must find a better way to exchange our money for vintage or other high priced professional mics.

I welcome your tips and strategies, and may include them in a new sticky.

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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
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J.J. Blair

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Re: eBay, Anyone?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2006, 09:53:41 pm »

Here are the first things to look for in a fraudulent auction:

Bidders IDs are set to "private", so they can not be contacted and warned.

If you look at the seller's feedback and they have had no activity for months or years.  Also if they typically sell only non-audio or music related items, that's a red flag.

If their message says, "Do not contact me through eBay.  Use this e-mail address only."

Hijacked account auctions are usually only three day auctions, since it takes at least three days for eBay to respond to a report of a hijacked account.

If they do not accept Paypal, and won't even take it if you offer to pick up the fees yourself, that's a big red flag.  

BTW, Paypal wil only guarantee up to $1,000.  The last time I had an iffy auction for over that amount, even after I spoke to the person on the phone, etc., I made sure to use Paypal and pay with my American Express.  My suspicions proved correct, and I got scammed.  I filed a report with eBay and informed Amex, who reversed the charges.  

Also, sometimes if I have doubts, I will ask them if I can pick it up in person, or have a friend who lives in that town do it, etc.  If they say no, then look out.

Personally, I will not buy from somebody with less than 95% positive feedback, but they have to meet all the above criteria.  Account hijackers love to use accounts with great fedback.
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Klaus Heyne

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Re: eBay, Anyone?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2006, 03:38:34 am »

Good points, J.J.

Here are other hazards of buying on eBay, one of which I have a solution for:

A rising form of scamming is what eBay calls "picture and text theft":
A beautiful looking mic is pictured, and, because of the pictures, ends up selling for a lot of money. Only after the poor high bidder opens the package does he realize that the picture on the auction page is NOT of the mic he just bought, but was stolen by the seller from some other, earlier eBay auction's photographs of a similar mic.

Solution: before the auction ends, insist that the seller includes a close-up picture of the mic's serial number on his auction page.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Schallfeldnebel

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2006, 11:31:23 am »

Klaus wrote:"As buyers we must find a better way to exchange our money for vintage or other high priced professional mics. "

Klaus, personally I would never buy or sell any vintage mike, without having an expert in between like e.g. you. Maybe it gets a bit more expensive because of your commission, but that is worthwhile the investment.

Erik Sikkema
Schallfeldwebel
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Bill Mueller:"Only very recently, has the availability of cheap consumer based gear popularized the concept of a rank amateur as an audio engineer. Unfortunately, this has also degraded the reputation of the audio engineer to the lowest level in its history. A sad thing indeed for those of us professionals."

wwittman

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Re: eBay, Anyone?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2006, 04:19:05 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sat, 16 December 2006 21:53


If their message says, "Do not contact me through eBay.  Use this e-mail address only."
....


that's the single biggest tip-off.

that is ALWAYS a scam, and the most common type (hijacked account)

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William Wittman
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John Stafford

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Re: eBay, Anyone?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2006, 08:35:08 pm »

As I write there are two M49s and a set of three 414EBs from a seller who says he will not respond to questions sent via ebay, and who gives an alternate e-mail address. The account holder is in the US, but these items are supposedly in London.

It's such a shame, as I could have done with an M49 for GB
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John Stafford

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Re: eBay, Anyone?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2006, 08:39:31 pm »

The whole lot has now been removed.
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compasspnt

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Re: eBay, Anyone?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2006, 11:08:38 pm »

John Stafford wrote on Sun, 17 December 2006 20:35


It's such a shame, as I could have...


Yes it is.

And if pigs could only fly...

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Mike Cleaver

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2006, 01:49:15 am »

I have had nothing but good experiences on Ebay but you have to be very very careful:

*Items being offered for lowball "buy it now" prices always are scams.

* It also helps if all of us who use Ebay and know something about electronic  
  equipment being offered to let Ebay know if the listing is at all suspicious.
  If you are an Ebay member, it's really easy to do and takes only a few minutes.
  And they do respond. Suspected bogus auctions I have reported are often pulled  
  within a day.

* If you're spending more than a few hundred dollars, make sure you are dealing with      
  someone who is reputable and can be contacted by phone.
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Mike Cleaver Broadcast Services
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J.J. Blair

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2006, 02:18:00 am »

Mike brings up some good points.  BTW, as soon as you bid on an item, you are able to get the seller's info, including their phone number.  If something seems fishy, put a bid on the item, get that info and call the seller.

Also, those (previously offered on eBay) M49s are back up.  One of those is a repost of an auction from three weeks ago!   It's funny, because the account they are using usually sells jewelry only, and their auctions look totally different.  

As well as notifying eBay, I notified that seller that their account has been hijacked.
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Klaus Heyne

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2006, 03:37:53 am »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 17 December 2006 23:18

As soon as you bid on an item, you are able to get the seller's info, including their phone number.


How do you do that? I just bid on an item, but nothing changed, as far as the anonymity of the seller is concerned...
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

John Stafford

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2006, 03:39:16 am »

J.J.
The seller is different! They must have hijacked another account. This is so ridiculous. A while back, an AKG C422 kept cropping up on British ebay in a scam auction. Each time I (and presumably many others) would e-mail ebay and it would disappear, only to reappear almost immediately under a different seller's name. This went on for several weeks.

Would it be that difficult for ebay to spot an identical listing to one that has been shut down?

John Stafford

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J.J. Blair

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2006, 10:17:04 am »

Klaus Heyne wrote on Mon, 18 December 2006 00:37

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 17 December 2006 23:18

As soon as you bid on an item, you are able to get the seller's info, including their phone number.


How do you do that? I just bid on an item, but nothing changed, as far as the anonymity of the seller is concerned




Klaus, follow these links:

site map > find contact information (right side of page under "connect"), and then enter user ID and the item number
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

BigMetal

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2006, 01:42:26 pm »

Another good tip is to send a message via eBay to the seller requesting additional photos.  if they can't accommodate you, chances are they don't actually possess the item they're trying to sell.
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David Johnson

Steve Hudson

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2006, 06:23:12 pm »

I check the seller's recent previous auctions and contact the winning bidders via eBay's message service to get real feedback (not just the 80 characters you leave on eBay). I was skeptical about a recent KM54 auction (the seller hadn't sold any audio gear before listing three mics simultaneously) but others who had just bought from this seller had nothing but praise and sure enough the mic arrived last week, in nearly mint condition.
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"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.  There's also a negative side."

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