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Fraud on sales portal : Ebay classifieds: The police warn against this rip-off trick

Free, extensive, convenient: classified ads are booming. But where money is involved, fraudsters are not far.

by Jakob Koch
July 13, 2018, 6:42 pm

Saarbr├╝cken | The number of hits is impressive: almost 29 million unique users access the eBay classifieds sales portal each month. But wherever money is involved, there are gateways for fraudsters. This is what happened to a saleswoman from Saarland: The woman had advertised several pieces of furniture and quickly came to an agreement with an interested party - she then gave the alleged buyer her account details.

Days later I received an email with the booking order from "Bank of America", with the information that the transfer of the purchase price had been authorized by the buyer, but that additional EUR 300 transport and transaction costs would be incurred. The seller should transfer this amount to a shipping company.

If the fraud is discovered, it is too late

The woman then contacted the buyer and stated that she would not transfer the money until the purchase price had arrived on her account. According to the police, she was then pressured to transfer the money immediately. The interested party threatened her with advertisements and lawsuits, according to the "Saarbr├╝cker Zeitung", among other things. In this case it remained an attempt at fraud.

In other cases, criminals use bad checks, fake transfer orders or PayPal confirmations. The seller sends the goods in the belief that the money has been paid. If the fraud is discovered, it is too late.

Warning of advance payment

Buyers should also be fundamentally vigilant on free sales portals: "Users have no insight into who exactly is behind the respective offers," says Mona Semmler from the Lower Saxony consumer protection agency. "Caution is especially advisable when it comes to extremely cheap lure offers." They appear again and again next to serious offers.

The Austrian Watchlist Internet therefore warns against paying in advance. If the promised item doesn't come, buyers have no way of getting their money back. Meshes in which the alleged sellers invent trustees to whom the payment should go work similarly.

Neither advertisers nor buyers are completely safe from scammers. The free platforms are only intermediaries. Nevertheless, Semmler advises contacting the website operator in the event of a dispute: "After all, you have a self-interest in the smooth running of sales." The police are the right contact for fraud.

(With material from the dpa)

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