There are so many frauds going on in the internet, and that is just sad because it makes the experience of using certain services worse for everyone. Once in a while I do find blatant scams, and recently it happened on Ebay again. I purchased a new guitar recently (not on Ebay) and I am happy with it, but I still have some other guitars on my radar if the price would be right. Of course, Ebay is a great place to find bargains, and especially with guitars we’re currently in a buyers market, which means you really could find guitars incredibly cheap but used on Ebay. That’s why I am still subscribed to some Ebay search-terms like “Fender Stratocaster” and so on. I could bid or not, you maybe get my point, because it doesn’t cost me anything to get Ebay notifications via Email to maybe take a look. I am just checking listings. Yes you should check out instruments in a store, but we’re speaking about four times less the price on Ebay.
That’s what I did a few times now, I just looked over the new auctions that are interesting for me. If you are interested in blogging, search engine optimization and online marketing in general, you definitely have some skills that are helpful on Ebay as well. And in some cases it doesn’t even take to be an expert with search engines, sometimes you just need to understand the simple tools like Google. If you don’t already, you will soon understand what I mean. Of course there are tons of things you can check to decrease the chance to become a victim of a fraudster on Ebay, there is always still a chance to get issues, but you absolutely have to do your homework before you bid. And as mentioned in my first paragraph, you sometimes spot a fraudster with fairly simple tools.
Something that really annoys me is if people don’t draft their own article descriptions, and if they just copy paste something from the manufacturer’s website. I mean item specifications are a nice addition to the description, but if that’s all what they have there, it appears super strange. And it’s so easy to spot, you just need your brain and your eyes. That still doesn’t mean they are scammers, they might just be super lazy individuals that forgot how to write in their own words, and that’s fine because you can just move on if you’re not interested to purchase something from a lazy person. But my whole point is, what if it’s not just a lazy person? Have you ever thought about this? And now I come back to the fairly simple tools like Google.
We all use Google every day and I do now tell you why it makes sense to use it during research on Ebay as well. The truth is, in some cases there are scammers behind listing with full copy paste descriptions. Mainly, because they have no individual long story to tell you about the item, because they don’t even have the item, nor did they ever use it. Just recently I copied a longer text passage of a listing, and put it into Google, and imagine what happened? I found the exact same description on another classifieds website. That still doesn’t have to say anything, but not only the same text was used, but also the exact same photos of the guitar. Doesn’t mean anything either, but you know what?
The guitar on the classifieds site was somewhere near Berlin according to the listing, and the item from Ebay would come from Memmingen far away in the South. A long distance between two guitars that are the same. Someone either knows more about quantum mechanics than all physicists on our planet and was able to teleport a copy of that guitar to another place, or I just spotted a fraudster. I checked the listing date and it appeared that it was first listed on the classifieds website, and later on Ebay. That raised the suspicion that the person on Ebay just copied the photos and article description from the classifieds listings. See, this is one of the many simple things you can check before you bid. And if you spotted a fraudster, you could just close the tab and looking for other sellers that are not fraudsters, but here comes my next point. Don’t move on, take the time to kick the bastard in the ass. Why?
Because I truly believe that services like Ebay are damaged not just by scammers, but also by people who don’t take their time to research and report swindler. Reporting might take some of your time, but it helps everyone. You, me, everyone could be the next victim and pay someone who owns a stolen credit card and created a fake Ebay listing a couple of hundred dollars or more. You can’t move on, and nobody should. Everyone should take the time to report these idiots that will arrive in jail sooner or later anyway. I reported both listings, just to be sure that there won’t be a victim. Both listing on both sides got taken down. I still believe just one person was the fraudster, the other not. But as said, that is collateral damage. The real owner of the guitar will be able to prove anyway that his listing was legit. What counts is that one trap was demolished. And I know, scammers will not stop unless they get into jail, but maybe you get my point, if I would have selfishly moved on, someone else would have been victim of the fake listing on Ebay. These scammers would have a much harder time if every single person would hunt them down with all available tools.
By the way. Google Text Search is not your only weapon. You can actually upload pictures to Google with the Google Image Search. What that means is that you basically could find out if the images used in the Ebay listing are taken by the person, of if they have been used on tons of different websites. A person who puts up a fake listing doesn’t really have the item of course. This is why they don’t write a personal text, even if some might try. But this is also the same reason why they rely on stolen images as well. Both image and text search are already pretty good weapons in your arsenal. In the future I might write a list of additional things you can do to minimize the risks to become a victim on Ebay, because as said there are many more things you can check and do. But at the end I give you one more tip anyway. Always check if PayPal payment is allowed, because with PayPal you have incredible buyers-protection because you could request charge backs if something went wrong!
Don’t see this post here as a guide or checklist. I might write one in the future. I just wanted to rant about the fact that you need to look twice before you buy, and while I did that, I also wanted to explain a few ways to expose scammers on Ebay. And again, since these scammers don’t actually own the items, they rely on stolen images or copied text descriptions. Which is why a simple Google search can be very effective. But I want to make clear, if you don’t have it to do with a stupid scammer, this still might not be enough. At the end there is always a risk involved if you don’t trade in person. However, risks can be everywhere. I just can’t stress enough, if one listing on Ebay is truly interesting, you need to go full OC with your investigation. Services like Ebay are sadly used by scammers, this is why it is important to research and report those you exposed.