8 Nastiest Scams by Fake Sellers on eBay and How to Avoid Them

how to avoid ebay fake sellersGenuine sellers like to help their customers as much as they can. However, the con artists, will act like genuine business people until they lure people into their cunning and false-hearted trickeries.

Here are some of the scams used by such dodgy sellers who to earn some quick bucks deceitfully.

1. Counterfeit Items Scam

This is one of the biggest scam some dishonest sellers conduct on the internet. eBay is very strict about copyrights, trademarks and counterfeit and fake items.

They run Vero (Verified rights owner) program to protect the rights of the rightful owner and discourage copycat and counterfeit items.

Any listing which does not stick to eBay’s VeRo policies are instantly removed.

Counterfeits and fake items can be both physical and digital. An example of counterfeit items are fake expensive and big brand name accessories like Rolex, Breitling, Gucci etc.

Digital counterfeit items include stolen eBooks, software, codes, and any other digital format.

I just had a new laptop for my daughter and wanted to buy an anti-virus program to protect it from any infection. A friend told me that he recently bought an AVG internet security for 3 users and that he never used the license and that he could install it on my daughter’s computer.

After a week later of the installation, I received alerts that it was not genuine and could not be registered. They changed it to 30 day trial.

I contacted my friend and when we checked the eBay ID of the vendor, it was no longer registered with a lot of negative feedback. Scam!

2. Shill Bidding Scams

When somebody attempts to artificially increase the price of the item by putting fake bids, it is called shill bidding.

People can use friends, relatives or workmates etc. to artificially put bids on the item for sale with no intention of buying it. The purpose behind this is that other genuine buyers will be encouraged to increase their bid and so the item will be sold to them for an falsely inflated price.

It deprives some buyers who could win the item for the right price and at the same time deceives the winning bidder for an unfairly high price. The seller is the one who pockets the money.

Some new sellers try to resort to shell bidding to earn some extra money. If you are a genuine seller and want to do serious business on eBay, never resort to shill bidding. You will not only lose your eBay account but also get into other legal complications.

3. Fake Escrow site Scams

Escrow is a service through which buyers and sellers pay and receive payment. The third party service ensures that payment is held with them until both buyers and seller have settled all the sale and they are happy to release the fund.

Escrow is a very useful service and it protects both buyers and sellers.

Escrow services are normally used for items of more than $500 value especially in the motors, vehicles and real estate transactions.

Unfortunately, there are many fake online escrow services. These cheats are very smart and set up professional looking website hiding their evil designs as much as possible.

The escrow scam works both ways. Buyers can use fake escrow services and vanish with the goods. Sellers can also use similar tactics of using fake escrow and vanish with the money.

eBay recommends to use only escrow.com as it is a genuine service approved by eBay.

4. Outside eBay Offers Scams

Some people will closely observe bidders that they have interest in some items but they unfortunately could not win their bid.

They will contact all these bidders to offer them a similar item which they did not win. They offer to conclude the deal outside eBay as this they can save some money on eBay and PayPal fees and hence offer the item on discounted price.

The fraudster will ask you to pay a certain percentage of the amount through PayPal and the rest can be paid during collection or pick up through prior arrangements.

The fraudster will take the part payment and never turn up to deliver the item at the place arranged.

To avoid this scam, never accept these off eBay deals no matter how attractive they look.

5. Scammer Sellers Under $250 Fraud

Professional scammers use every loophole to cheat and obtain other people’s money through deception.

In addition to the over $250 scam by buyers , there is also an under $250 scam by swindlers.

They sell the item and after receipt of payment, send an empty box or just some rubbish item in a box to the zip code by obtaining another person address.

Once the buyer complains of non-receipt, the seller immediately comes with the delivery confirmation from the same zip code.

The poor buyer has nothing but to lose his hard earned money.

For any high end item, make sure you buy from business sellers which are well-established. You may also use a reliable and genuine escrow service. Alternatively, you may pay cash on collection or delivery.

Other Scams

The following are general scam which can be used to cheat bother buyers and sellers.

6. Fake Wholesale Websites

Most new eBay sellers receive emails of whole sale websites offering goods at much discounted price which they can sell for a nice margin.

The hardest thing in eBay business is to find the right product at the right price. New eBay sellers are most inexperienced and do not know much about the wholesale market and industry. These new sellers becomes easy prey for the scammer wholesalers.

Once the whole sale scammers sees a new seller with a selling items, they contact them through email with a link to their wholesale website. These sites are generally so polished and professional that it is almost impossible to find out unless you are an expert.

When I started back in 2004, I received several emails directing me to sites offering mobile devices, computers, digital cameras etc. on dirt cheap prices.

Make sure you only buy from known sellers either recommended by trusted people or you have seen them in person at their place of business.

7. Drop ship Opportunity Scam

Drop shipping is a trading arrangement where you sell goods before you buy it. The following illustration will explain how a dropshipping works.

A is a large company which holds goods and would like it to send on behalf of B.

B advertises an item without buying and sells it to C for £50. C pays for the goods to B thinking the goods to be in B’s possession.

After receiving $50 B pays A (the company who owns the good) $35 and keeps $15 as his profit.

On receipt of $35 from B, A sends the goods to C without mentioning his own details.

C receives the goods thinking that these were actually sent by B.

This is all legitimate and is a great opportunity for selling goods.

The problem, however, is that it is extremely difficult to find real dropshipping companies which will offer goods any real competitive prices on drop ship basis.

Many scammers have flashy and attractive websites for expensive products pretending to offer a good amount of profit if their goods are sold on drop ship basis.

Once you the customer pays you money, you send the difference amount to the scammer and keep your so called profit. If the customer never receives the goods from the scammer, you are by legally bound to refund.

8.  Hijacked Accounts Scams

This is one of the favorite ways of fraudster. They managed to gain unauthorized access to seller’s eBay accounts and redirect payments to their own PayPal account.

They also list non-existent items from the hijacked account with their own payment address for PayPal payments.

As soon as the fake listing ends and money is paid to their account, they vanish.

Such scammers target the most popular and reputable sellers as they can derive maximum money through deceit in the shortest possible time.

The sellers not only lose their reputation and trust among the eBay community, they may also lose their account and business.

Here are some of the tips to protect your eBay account from being hijacked.

Use a Strong Password

It is extremely important to use a strong password which cannot be easily guessed. Here are some of the tips for using a good and strong password.

  • Never use your initials and date of birth
  • Never use year of birth as a password.
  • Include lower case, upper case, digits, and special characters in your password.
  • Make it as long as possible.
  • Use different passwords for your email, PayPal and eBay account.


Thanks for the detailed post and so much information. It looks eBay is full of scams. I never it was that much, although I became a victim of a small scam back in 2004.
The seller sold me a watch for $80 and never sent it. No emails and nothing were answered. Never knew about the buyer protection and all the stuff then.Thanks again, anyway.


WOW, What an informative post! It has opened up my eyes. Buyer beware!

Thanks for your comments. The reality is all these scams are only a very small percentage of the whole system. I mentioned it in the beginning of the post that less than once percent people get scammed. However, they do exist. Creating awareness about them could possibly reduce them.


These scams are not by sellers but also buyers. So Sellers beware, too.

Yes, you are right. There are buyer scammers and there are seller scammers. So, it is a both way traffic.

I am a power seller on eBay and have been trading there for the last 10 years. I never knew that much and this post certainly added a lot to my knowledge. However, most people are good by nature. I had bad buyers even less than a percent. I guess, I did not have more than 10 bad buyers during the last 10 years!

The damaged goods scams is the one which you should be particularly on guard as the buyer (the scammer, of course) does a lot of homework before committing the fraud.


I am KK an eBay and Amazon expert, teacher and internet marketer. I offer advice on e-commerce, content marketing and guest posting.

4 comments on “8 Nastiest Scams by Fake Sellers on eBay and How to Avoid Them
  1. Ian Anderson says:

    Unfortunately the scammers win hands down. I have sent copies of fake invoices, fake emails and lots of other evidence of fraudulent sites to both ebay and paypal but the fraudsters are still there ripping off the unwary. The latest one sends out fake invoices and it even has a link to an “ebay” chat line (complete with photo of the operative) which is obviously manned 24 hours a day. It is a blatant fraud but neither ebay, paypal nor the police are interested

  2. smartpower says:

    Hi Ian,

    Yes, I perfectly understand. However, such people are extremely low and most people are good members of the community.

    Fraudster are and will be always there and every where. All we need to do is take our due precautions.

  3. At this time I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming over again to read additional news.

Leave a Reply