Can you imagine what world would it be without online retail? How about eCommerce in general?, or how would acquiring essential goods become during a global Pandemic?  Chaos right? 

Luckily, the modern era of exchange and business introduced us to online trading – a safer and more convenient process of shopping/ buying and goods selling. However, we all know that when there’s money making, there are also culprits; and that’s where the worry comes in. 

EBAY, as one of the world’s largest platform is undeniably a place where sellers can make money of just about anything, including kitchenware, apparel, collectibles, books, baby items et al. and buyers are just a click away from vast and finest selections. But, there are deceptive acts that you can’t just look past. Let’s find out what red flags you need to look out for and what tips you need to practice all to avoid major eBay scams. 

What Is an eBay Scam

If you are familiar with Email, Facebook or Craigslist scams, it is  much like it. eBay scams simply target users who are too naive to trust or aren’t alertly watchful in doing business transactions. With the myriad methods, Internet scammers can do fraudulent tactics to let out your goods or money. It’s no joke, time has passed and they became more notorious and rampantly sophisticated, so make sure you know how to deal yourself out of them – whether you are a frequent buyer or seller on eBay. 

The eBay scams by Sellers

Though buyers are protected with eBay guidelines and policy, still there are lots of ways you can get scammed, especially in an eBay online marketplace such as follows:

The Empty Box

So the ordering from eBay transactions gone off well, – usually a hot item like a new smartphone model or mainstream game buzz (In lower market value), and your item are now ready to ship. When the delivery came and hand over your package, you automatically accept the item. Just when you open the box with excitement, boom! It’s literally empty. Only to realize that you’ve been bamboozled. 

Tip: Never rush things, always read through the listing, the seller may internationally hide a description that states it is just a BOX ONLY item to stay in the safe zone and win over the dispute. Cite what’s good to be true and police sellers. 

Counterfeit or Discounted Items

Using your judgement are really important when it comes to buying or selling. The world has its own counterfeit industry and eBay is non-exempt. Seeing high-end items for sale with unusual discounts of 80 to 90%, might be eBay seller scams. To avoid this, ensure all listings legitimacy is checked and become a vigilant and watchful buyer. 

Seller Runs off your Money

You paid for a listed item under a seller page, but never received any. This eBay scam is quite common, especially on items that aren’t covered by eBay’s Money Back Guarantee:

  • Services
  • Classified Ads
  • Websites and businesses on auction or for sale
  • Vehicles
  • Real estate
  • Business Equipment et al

Note: These are high value transactions, so it’s quite reasonable for eBay to exclude this in their money back citations. Better not risk to these kind of items at all. 

Botching the Buyers name

Scam eBay sellers will list an item with “buy now” placing option. Once you purchase and paid for it, the scammer eBay will intentionally write an incorrect named recipient and ship the product. By the time your item is delivered at your doorstep, you’ll surely return it to  the post office (as all upstanding citizens do) thinking it’s not yours. Remember that getting marked as “refused” or “returned” cuts you off from eBay “money back guarantee? Then you’re doomed. 

Tip: Crazy as it may sound, but you can choose to open up all packages that are delivered in your front door – as long as it says the same address, the same seller and the same amount specifics. 

The eBay Scams by Buyers

It is necessary to be educated in all fraud schemes against eBay sellers scams. Whether you are a new or experienced seller, you need to screen out annoying buyers that aim no good for your business. Let’s go in depth to common eBay scams seller that targeted innocent eBay sellers online:

The Bunco Game 

Most referred as “bait and switch” scheme that are scamming eBay Sellers, commonly . It’s a skulduggery tactic wherein buyer  eBay scams sellers through ordering a high quality product on a trend, like iPhone or laptops and pay for it via PayPal or credit card in complete normal transaction yet, when the item is delivered, the eBay buyer scams by sending complaint about a cracked screen, broken item or not working product claim. Since eBay has its Buyer Protection Plan, scam buyers on eBay will file complaint and you don’t have a choice other than to refund them. 

Tip: When you decide to go for high value electronics or gadgets, it might be a good idea to secure your buyers purchase insurance to avoid this type of scam.

Not genuine or fake eBay PayPal account

People who are not too particular in spotting not genuine or fake eBay PayPal email, or fake eBay PayPal in general often encounter this eBay scamming or scammed by PayPal scheme. Some eBay PayPal scammers can create a not genuine or eBay fake account or confirmation email to trick you into thinking that they’ve paid via PayPal or credit card for the goods you sold to them. In order to avoid eBay scams PayPal, timely check your balance to ensure safety before proceeding transaction. 

Avoid clicking link confirmation sent via email, it may confuse you more, and lure you to deceptive and fraud acts of eBay scammers

Settle Outside eBay

Never do transaction off-site eBay, their policy strictly states the following: (rights reserved) 

  • We do not allow our members to use eBay to contact each other to make offers to buy or sell items outside of eBay. Also, members can’t use information obtained from eBay to contact each other about buying or selling outside of eBay. If you receive an offer to buy or sell outside eBay, please report it. 
  • Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don’t, you may be subject to a range of actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.

Gentle Reminder: eBay can read all your messages and they can easily flagged down your account should you join in off-site solicitations. It isn’t worth the risk, so don’t ever think about it. 

A Secret or Special information for Sale

This scam on eBay may come in a variety of forms – which you can easily spot. If they offer you truly amazing deals such as acquiring products without spending a cent or even more outlandish claim, then you should think twice – especially if they ask for credit card or PayPal account information for any purpose. 

If it sounds too good to be true, it almost always is. So make sure you help yourself out and weigh things, use your common sense per se. 

Buyer Offers to Overpay

If your listing is an auction, you may get an eBay scammer buyer who offers to pay an immediate amount as long as you close the listing or offer to pay a lot more money than you’re asking for your item. The temptation of extra money is hard to resist and who wouldn’t be enticed if you’ll get an $800 for an item that you sell for $500, right? But here’s the catch, scammer on eBay will send you an empty check – a bogus check – and when you realize the trick, too late. You shipped the item. 

Never send items unless there’s an assurance that its paid via credit card or PayPal or perhaps in the bank. Ask for deposit slip and avoid “bounced” checks, wait til transactions gets final just to be safe. 

The Second Chances or Missing Transactions 

So there’s an ongoing auction for an item and it suddenly disappears. What happened next was you received an email from the seller stating that you are the highest bidder and got the item ready to ship to your address. After completing the purchase via email, eBay scams you already by letting you finish the transaction, providing sensitive information etc. then no item is to arrive. 

The seller was either suspended by eBay or oversight eBay guidelines (rights reserved) that led them to do a transaction outside eBay and scam eBay buyers. Save yourself from trouble by ignoring pop up related from unlisted items. 

Buyer Claims “Item Not Received” to PayPal or shipped an Empty Box

When doing PayPal transactions, you are covered by the PayPal Seller Protection. However, you must have proof of delivery for all items to activate protection. Scammers on eBay, educate themselves with eBay prerequisites and if eBay scam buyers claim the item wasn’t received plus no signature confirmation to provide, then you lost the battle. There are also buyer scams on eBay wherein the buyer claims you shipped an Empty box and opens a dispute that forces a “return” – a total head scratcher right? 

How to Avoid It

Track your shipments – always.  From warehouse to shipping, photograph the entire process of packing and shipping every item you sell through eBay, if needed. Ensure signature confirmation and gather all evidence you can muster, the more proof, the safer you’ll be. 

Chargebacks for Credit Cards and PayPal

This is simply a force to refund transaction. Whether using a PayPal or credit card, buyers can always reverse or get your money back after a bad transaction. Not only that, there’s a PayPal chargeback fee of $20 per transaction, imagine if all scammers eBay makes fun of your seller account, what a frustration! 

Even if chargebacks are quite easy to file (since the buyer only needs to report suspicious or wrongdoing of the seller’s account), you can still keep yourself away from it by guarding your account through PayPal Seller Protection or just politely deal with the buyer. 

Phishing Emails From “eBay”

While eBay frauds from buyer to eBay scam seller differs the other, phishing emails that scams both ways are pretty hard to distinguish. Though it is a common eBay scam, this fraudulent link can take you to a copycat website that looks like the real eBay website or eBay scam PayPal that is harder for you to identify if it is legit or true genuine. It might ask you to review your security detail, confirm recent purchase or any log in credentials that can let scammers access your eBay account. 

This scam can surely steal either your money or your identity, so ensure to check your eBay account communication and never provide sensitive detail like banking specifics without verification. Never click on links in emails! Never. Even if the link looks legitimate, real or pro. 

How to Avoid eBay Scams: In General

Be it a phishing email address scam that looks like an official notice from eBay or a common eBay scam that claims damage item or empty boxes, there are lining red flag that would help you avoid meet the eBay scams for sellers society. 

Learn to listen to your instincts and never provide information or important details over email address  – like bank account or worst eBay account password. Be watchful and scrutinize any unusual emails that asked you to give or do something, especially those email links that directs you nowhere. When transactions mention transferring an amount via PayPal services or other wire services, always verify to confirm directly to eBay app or account not on emails. 

For seller, always apply the general rule of “no payment, no shipped item”. Don’t forward any purchased product without confirming payment, be alertly watchful and examine listings. With numerous  eBay scams that targets sellers, you need to help yourself by preparing to what’s worst and collating evidence should dispute or claim comes in. Follow conforming guidelines and policy and be sure to check eBay’s security page  (  – rights reserved –  for updated policies in buying or listing products.