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Author Topic: eBay: How To Avoid Becoming A Scam Victim  (Read 19037 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
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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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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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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

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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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karl_lohninger

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2006, 10:07:41 am »

This is how IMO a classic fraudulent auction looks like:

* It's a 3 day auction,

* it has to be paid via wire-transfer,

* it's a nice U-47,

* it's on an account that was inactive for a long time and never had anything to do with microphones so it seems, and

*  bidder's IDs are kept private.

Looks like the ebay ID was hijacked and somebody is likely going to lose money! (should ebay not react in time - I've notified them)


Update: Auction was deleted by Ebay already. Account was hijacked.

Karl Lohninger
Los Angeles
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David Satz

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2006, 10:55:04 am »

My eBay account was hijacked in 2003--I woke up one morning and found myself supposedly in the business of selling high-priced Apple computer equipment. When I called eBay security about it, they fixed the problem within minutes. Of course I had contacted them and could prove my identity, so they didn't have to investigate very far.

If I were to report a suspicion that someone else's account had been hijacked, the situation would be more complex. For all they know I might be a malicious person trying to interfere with someone else's legitimate auctions, so I wouldn't expect them to take any strong action right away.

They don't seem to follow any clues with regard to the specifics of "vintage" microphones--if someone were to post an ad offering 100 never-taken-out-of-the-box U 47s from his grandfather's attic, they wouldn't consider that suspicious on its face.

I once tried to get a refund for a used KM 84 with a defective capsule, where the auction description had said only that the microphone's amplifier (body) was defective;
I had bought it for the capsule, but explaining this to them was hopeless. Half of the KM 54s that you see listed have K 64 capsules with no remark; many of the old Schoeps tube microphones (particularly with sellers in Europe) are speech cardioids, but are listed simply as "cardioid," and they allow reskinned Neumann capsules to be listed like original products with only a bit of fine print. (... or sometimes none! See my second post in this thread)

But they do look askance at sellers who require untraceable payment methods; that alone can be grounds for terminating an auction. See      http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/accepted-payments-policy .html .

--best regards
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yhomas

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2006, 03:53:42 pm »

As someone who has been a victim myself, I have a few common sense comments:

#1. Never, pay for any online purchase with a money order (or cash in an envelope).

#2. We are all looking for a good deal, but the fact is that very few people are stupid enough to sell an item far below its market value.  If you find an exceptional "deal", your first instinct should be intense skepticism.

#3. If you have the slightest suspiciousness of the seller, simply ask that the seller send you the item first, and you will pay for it afterwards.  (I actually did this on a $900 laptop when the seller had low feedback on ebay.)  If the seller won't agree, just require the use of an escrow service.

#4. Do not place too much trust in a seller's opinion about the condition of an item (especially if the cost of return shipping might be roughly equivalent to the difference in value between the excellent condition claimed by the seller and the average condition that the item is actually in.)

#5. Use an internet search, and personal contact (phone, email) to find out a bit about the seller before sending money.

#6. If you do get scammed, post about your experience on scam.com so that other people can be warned by a simple google search.
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2007, 04:49:50 pm »

From a recent exchange between J.J. Blair and Barry Hufker:

poster: I assume it's a hijacked ebay account (no transactions for over 5 years).

J.J.: You're right. The auction is a fraud. And since it is, I'm doubting the info in the mic is even accurate.

Barry: You're saying this is a fraud because the guy wants a bank check or money order?

J.J.: That, and the fact that the bidder ID is hidden (big hint), and the account hasn't been used in several years. All tell tale signs of a hijacked account.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2007, 12:58:37 am »

New e-bay developments (reported by J.J. Blair on April 11, 2007):

eBay has just changed a policy that makes it now harder to identify fraudulent auctions, and impossible to notify unsuspecting bidders:

A hallmark of fake auctions was the "bidder ID kept private" option, so that you could not warn bidders. But now, eBay has changed their policy to not list bidder IDs at all, and the original option to do so has been removed: all bidders are listed now as "Bidder 1", "Bidder 2", etc.

They said they did this to eliminate fake second chance offerings, but it's opened up another can of worms, IMO.

So, anybody who took comfort in bidding on auctions that didn't use this option, beware. Make sure to look at other tell tale signs, such as zero feedback, or no activity on the seller's account for an extended period of time.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

midnightsun

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2007, 03:36:16 am »

Here is something I suspect was a scam--    On the GearSlutz Classified forum the seller made reference to the item for sale on eBay.  I corresponded with him and he sounded legitimate.  

He warned me that the real bidding would take place minutes before closing. He was right. The bids went up by the thousands.  

I was initially caught up in the frenzy but came to my senses. There had been an annoying bidder who was always neck and neck with me. I finally let him take the item when the price became ridiculous.  

Several days later the buyer notified me and said that the winning bidder had pulled out and he was willing to sell it to me for my top bid.  I felt that my bidding opponent was a shill and they got too greedy.   I reported the incident to eBay but I have heard nothing back.    
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J.J. Blair

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Re: More and More Scams On EBay
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2007, 05:35:31 pm »

I came across this guide, that I thought would be helpful:

http://reviews.ebay.com/Ebay-Scams-14-things-you-MUST-know_W 0QQugidZ10000000001410441?ssPageName=BUYGD:CAT:-1:SEARCH:4
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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

animix

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Re: eBay: How To Avoid Becoming A Scam Victim
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2007, 02:21:48 pm »

I recently had an interesting experience buying a pair of sequentially numbered KM84i's on EBay. It wasn't a scam, per se, as the mics were actually delivered, but they were not as represented. I don't mean to hijack this thread to another forum, but the entire sequence of events and final resolution is at this thread.

http://www.3daudioinc.com/3db/showthread.php?t=11512

There may be some information there which will help buyers who end up purchasing an item with the "Catch 22" wording that a mic is working but is offered "as is".

If time and effort can be equated to money, after this experience and the time and effort it cost me, I might have been better off buying the mics from a reputable reseller.

Hope this helps someone....and thanks to Klaus, who was helpful with some initial inquiries that eventually led to my getting this situation resolved.

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Eric H.

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Re: eBay, Anyone?
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2009, 04:46:54 pm »

Rocket17 wrote on Mon, 16 February 2009 15:00

Total rubbish, your interpretation, Klaus - as said before: You are NOT the mile stone all things are measured by! You have an opinion. And here is mine:

KH,  shades of  arrogance with every step on the path with no humor present – whatsoever. Some say, the worst combination in German mentality. Some say, they just can’t help it. Here, ironically & metaphorically engraved in stone as German Masterworks. Issue vintage craze/vintage capsules: Some believe that a vintage K67 is generally superior to a K67/870 of recent production and therefore demand the vintage version. To have spitted on the vintage craze: The hypocrisy of one Herr Heyne, as indulging in the vintage craze himself - his very livelihood – here manifested, like a halo above his head! Best for himself to follow his own advise by showing some class (and to shut up)!  Be 5:45 o’clock the other metaphor. It could be an hour sooner or later. Seize fire means seize fire when the intrigant seizes fire! After that, some ricochet still flying around.
Sitting in a glass house...
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