Look Before You Buy! eBay Marketplace Scams; How To Spot And Avoid Them

Published: May 31, 2022 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.



Cyber-scams are everyday threats, especially in the world of online marketplace shopping. It happens often and to anyone, as we learned from the historic spike in online scams during coronavirus lockdowns and beyond. Now, eBay’s popular e-commerce marketplace is increasingly a target for cyber-scams and scammers. The company has taken an active step protecting their users by publishing scam warnings on their website. It includes spotting the red flags and tips on avoiding their most frequent scams.


eBay isn’t the only online marketplace being targeted. Sites like Facebook Marketplace and others also open a world of opportunity for scammers. Online merchant scams trend in popularity with cyberthieves, so an updated look at some of the latest in eBay scams can help users spot and defend themselves from falling victim, no matter which marketplace they choose for shopping.


The Leading Scams on eBay


eBay’s “Avoiding seller fraud” web page claims seller-fraud is the most common method for scamming their users. Below are several red flags to look for with seller scams.


Item listings should not be short on time. eBay warns to beware sellers listing items for short periods of time. One-day listings are the sign of a scammer wanting to sell quickly and get out of Dodge before they’re caught, so be cautious.


Big bargains and sold-out items are anything but…these are signs both the seller and product are likely scams. Expensive items going for cheap get attention, but remember, says eBay “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”


Keep your payment method and seller contact limited to eBay site options only, like using eBay Messages. If a scammer tries to get personal information from you, it’s probably a setup for some further abuse. If they try getting you to use other payment methods like cash or a wire transfer, especially sent overseas, it’s also a likely setup for financial fraud.


Emails sent by eBay asking for personal information are a sure sign of email phishing. Although the scammers try to look legitimate, a few telltale signs give them away. eBay emails never ask for personal information, use threatening language, or include attachments. All three are reasons proving the email is a fake and sent by a scammer.


So, pay attention to the signs and shop with confidence on eBay and other marketplaces. Remember, shop happy and keep scams where they belong…away from you!


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