Re: probable 954 eBay scam
From an ebay listing a few weeks ago:
Bike is in perfect shape and and barely used. Never dropped or crashed. Must sell now! Free shipping to your door!! WARNING TO EBAY USERS-- AUCTIONS SUCH AS THIS EXAMPLE ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING ALL OVER EBAY MOTORS-- THEY ARE SCAM AUCTIONS HOSTED BY SELLERS WITH STOLEN OR FABRICATED USER ID'S AND FEEDBACK HISTORY.
DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM. DO NOT SEND THESE PEOPLE ANY MONEY! IF YOU ARE RIPPED OFF, EBAY WILL DO NOTHING TO HELP YOU! For those who have to ask-- no, I am not really selling a 2004 Yamaha R-1-- I don't even own one!
I have hosted this auction as a means to get the word out to the eBay community about this problem. HOW TO SPOT THESE SCAMS:
1) ABSURDLY LOW 'BUY IT NOW' PRICES FOR LOW MILEAGE/NO MILEAGE BIKES
When was the last time you saw a bike worth $8-10K selling for four or five grand? Me neither. Especially interesting when you consider #2--
2) SELLER LISTS US LOCATION BUT BIKE IS OVERSEAS
Funny thing, they just happen to have a US-spec bike in Romania, Spain, Germany, wherever. 100% US legal, they will assure you. They may even use this as the reason for selling so cheaply. For example, 'My uncle give me bike as wedding gift, but since is US-specifikation, will be too exspensive to legalise for to use in my country.' (bad grammar is common, and adds charm to their pitch). FYI, bikes, cars and other vehicles are almost invariably MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE OVERSEAS THAN IN THE US. If not, something's up- verify everything in person, if at all possible.
3) THEY WILL USE RESTRICTED OR PRE-APPROVED AUCTIONS
This is clever. You email them to be added to their auction, and they will say that if you are a 'serious buyer', you must send them either a deposit or the entire balance via Western Union, at which time you may take advantage of the super low 'Buy it Now' price. DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY! YOU WILL NEVER SEE YOUR MONEY OR THE BIKE AGAIN! THESE TYPES OF SCAMS ARE SO COMMON, WESTERN UNION ITSELF DOES NOT RECOMMEND SENDING MONEY TO PEOPLE YOU DO NOT PERSONALLY KNOW. These scam artists use Private Auctions for one reason only-- to fish for suckers who will send them money. Once they have reeled in enough victims, they will cancel the auction, EFFECTIVELY BYPASSING ANY AND ALL BUYER SAFEGUARDS AND FEEDBACK MECHANISMS EBAY HAS IN PLACE. They are then free to repeat this scam as often as they wish!
4) FREE SHIPPING DOOR-TO-DOOR IN 3-4 DAYS FROM EUROPE
Pretty generous, considering such shipping can cost more than $2,000! They may claim to have some buddy in Fed-Ex or UPS who will ship your bike and clear US Customs for free as a gift or some such lunacy--a BIG RED FLAG should go up in your head. Importing late model vehicles from Europe is time consuming, complicated and expensive. If they say otherwise, they are lying.
5) MAY OFFER TO USE 'THEIR' ESCROW COMPANY
Although the company name they give you may sound legit- such as 'Fed-Ex Escrow', 'Western Union Escrow', etc, these are not real escrow companies-- they are bogus internet storefronts used to steal your money! 90% of all online escrow firms are fake-- check them out via the state(s) in which they claim to hold a license. One of the few legitimate firms is escrow.com.
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU FALL VICTIM TO THESE SCAM ARTISTS and PAY VIA PAY PAL, WIRE TRANSFER, CASHIERS CHECK, OR WESTERN UNION, YOU WILL NEVER RECOVER YOUR MONEY.
And don't bother reporting these guys to eBay-- your email will go into the virtual recycling bin. Besides, as their lawyers are quick to tell you, they are not even in the auction business (surprise!, so you're on your own. That's why they are careful to put 'Caveat Emptor' at the bottom of every page-- Latin for 'If you're ripped off-- too bad, so sad!' Ditto reporting to police, FBI, or Internet Fraud folks-- they are much too busy to track down the deposit you lost to some guy in Tasmania.
EBAY IS AWARE OF EVERYTHING I HAVE STATED IN THIS AUCTION BUT CHOOSES TO DO NOTHING ABOUT THIS PROBLEM. YOU WILL RARELY SEE ANY WARNINGS ABOUT THESE TYPES OF SCAMS ANYWHERE ON THEIR DISCUSSION BOARDS SINCE THEIR MODERATORS ARE ERASING POSTS TO THIS EFFECT.
Besides, scam sellers are great for business! They always pay for their auctions (with stolen credit cards) and even spring for expensive Featured Listings!
If it sounds like I am frustrated, I am. Given the millions in online theft going on under the noses of the Feds (mostly from online auctions like eBay) it is disappointing to see that nothing is done to shut down these characters. I imagine eBay will continue to look the other way until a couple thousand victims band together and hit them with a whopper of a class action lawsuit.
If I have managed to save you or a friend from these con artists, then this was money well spent. Let's keep eBay the safe, fun flea market we want it to be! And please, no email asking to be placed on my Bidders List!
With Regards, Mark Sanders