Helpful ReplyeBay fraudster caught

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Kev999
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2017/03/18 05:55:04 (permalink)

eBay fraudster caught

A few months ago I made a purchase on eBay from a private seller of a used item of studio equipment. Although the payment method only listed PayPal, there was some text included within the item description stating that direct bank transfer would be the prefered method. Maybe this should have raised alarm bells, but I disregarded at the time. After committing to buy, the seller sent me a message with his bank details asking me to transfer the money, just over $200. I complied and he said he would post the item the next day.

Two weeks later I had not received the item, so I sent him a message. He replied apologetically, saying the he had been ill and in hospital, but he would post it now. Another two weeks went by and I contacted him again. There were further apologies and excuses like being ill and too busy, but I'd stopped believing it by then. I eventually reported the situation to eBay. They told me that I could submit a request to eBay for the seller's contact details and that the next step would be for me to try to phone him. I obtained his details and tried phoning twice, but there was no answer. I didn't see any point in leaving a voicemail message.

Anyway, his contact details revealed that the name that he had used to register with eBay was not the same as the name on the bank account that I had transferred the money to. There could have been several different explanations for this, but my assumption was that the name on the bank account was his real name. I did some googling and eventually traced him. I knew for certain that I had found the correct individual when I spotted something in the background of a photo of his studio that he had posted on his Facebook page. It was the same item that I was supposed to be buying from him through eBay. It is not a particularly commonplace item, so this was unlikely to be sheer coinsidence.

On eBay's advice, I reported the incident to ACORN, the Australia cybercrime division. I didn't hear anything back from them, but I was eventually contacted by a police officer asking for more details and evidence, which I promptly supplied. A couple of weeks later my money was refunded. I wasn't really expecting that. I reported the guy because I felt that he should not be allowed to get away with ripping people off. Getting my money back was an added bonus.

I've been cagey here and held back some specific key details. That's because the case is still ongoing and the police intend to follow through with prosecution. The police have not succeeded in finding any other victims of this fraudster aside from myself, although they suspect that there may be others that have not reported him. There is some evidence that the same item was for sale on Gumtree, but apparently Gumtree's papertrail system is less than adequate.

Anyway, the moral of this story:
1. Pay by PayPal if possible, because they automatically provide insurance against fraud.
2. If you get scammed, then don't hesitate to report it.

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#1
craigb
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 07:20:04 (permalink)
Nice to hear a good outcome!  I nailed a guy in Canada when he accidentally sent a faked eBay/PayPal email meant for someone else to me.  That made me go back and look at what I had received before shipping what he had bought and discovered that email was also a fake.  I reported him and got a message back from eBay and PayPal indicating that he had been arrested and if I could send all of the evidence I had (which I did).  Felt good, but I was really bummed about having to repost my amp that he supposedly bought...

 Craig B. (AKA Mishikakiji!  )  
#2
soens
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 08:31:52 (permalink)
I was stiffed $1200 by a scammer way back when eBay had rinky-dinky protection policies. They never followed up on the theft and the police had no interest either. After much complaining to them they tightened up things so buyers were better protected from shamsters like that. In the early days, Paypal was playing Bank with no real security for you money and probably suffered many lawsuits for it.
 
Some eBay rules I live by:
 
1. ALLLways PAAAy through PAYPAL.*
2. NEVER, EVER correspond OUTSIDE eBay's messenger service. eBay keeps record for your protection.
3. Don't buy PERIOD if there's any discrepancies in the description, shipping info or a feedback rating of less than 99.5%.
4. Always read their feedback ratings to see why there's any negatives.
 
*I always pay with PAYPAL balance or credit card so there's some protection. Never will I do a direct bank transfer..... again!
#3
Leadfoot
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 09:59:10 (permalink)
Agreed.... I don't buy from anyone that has a low feedback count, or a rating under 99%.

(Edited for spelling correction)
#4
Randy P
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 11:34:01 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby BobF 2017/03/18 13:13:51
I'm only posting this here because I feel I'm among friends. I recently sold my pair of homing pigeons on ebay.......for the 22nd time!

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Guitarhacker
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 14:00:11 (permalink)
Good to hear that they busted this guy.  $200 is a small amount but it's still fraud.  Pull that stunt with 10 to 20 people and that starts to add up.

Seems they could look at his bank records and follow the trail back to either buyers or victims and proceed from that perspective.  It's hard to hide your footprints on the net from someone capable of forensic IT specialists. Certainly, anyone scamming small time amounts would not know or take the precautions needed to cover their tracks very well.

If they were skimming millions or billions, yeah.... that would be worth the time to cover and protect your trail a bit better. Some folks would be really upset with the perpetrator of such actions and the world isn't big enough to hide in.
 
Glad to hear you got your money back.

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#6
craigb
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 15:44:52 (permalink)
Randy P
I'm only posting this here because I feel I'm among friends. I recently sold my pair of homing pigeons on ebay.......for the 22nd time!




Love it! 

 Craig B. (AKA Mishikakiji!  )  
#7
bitflipper
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 18:21:05 (permalink)
Great detective work, Kev! Many would have written off the 200 bucks and chalked it up to experience. But because your sense of justice was insulted, you persisted. Even if, in the end, you haven't brought down this a-hole you will have at least let him know there are people in the world who won't be easy marks. Good for you.


All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

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#8
Kev999
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 23:37:25 (permalink)
Guitarhacker
...Pull that stunt with 10 to 20 people and that starts to add up...Seems they could look at his bank records and follow the trail back to either buyers or victims and proceed from that perspective.  It's hard to hide your footprints on the net from someone capable of forensic IT specialists. Certainly, anyone scamming small time amounts would not know or take the precautions needed to cover their tracks very well...

 
It does seem likely that there would be other similar victims who didn't bother to report it. A deeper investigation would be needed to if they are to be discovered. But I  wouldn't expect the police to assign their A-team to this low-level case. The officer that I have been liaising with is probably only a trainee. I'm just glad that they decided to pursue it.

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#9
Kev999
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Re: eBay fraudster caught 2017/03/18 23:44:44 (permalink)
bitflipper
Great detective work, Kev!

 
Well he did make it easy for me.
1. He gave me his real name along with his bank details.
2. He made his Facebook page public.
3. The item that he was selling was visible in one of his photos.
Apparently he's not a pro.

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