Scams

by Mike Masnick




Bot-On-Bot eBay Scamming

from the when-the-bots-takeover dept

It's one of the oldest eBay scams in the book: sell something you don't have, pocket the money and walk away. However, these days, for it to work you need to have at least a decent eBay feedback reputation. A few years ago, this would work out with the scammer acting as a legit eBay user for a few months, buying and selling various cheap items, building up a decent profile... and then putting up some big expensive item for the scam payoff. Again, however, the times are changing and that process is too involved -- so the next generation of scammers has move on to eBay scamming automation. They use bots to scan eBay and buy $0.01 "buy it now" items. Apparently, many of the sellers who offer such things use bots themselves to manage all those offers -- including the near automatic "good feedback" stamps of approval. So, the bots talk to the bots, and any new scamming user can build up a nice looking feedback page with tons of successful deals -- all at just a penny a shot. The bots can create tons of new users as well, all of which are quickly building up good eBay reputations. Then, they can waltz in with the real scam and drop the account, and move right on to the next "primed" account their bot has set up for them. So far, there's no evidence that the bots on both sides may be controlled by the same scammers -- but each side benefits by getting a near automatic feedback boost.

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  1. identicon
    Taylor, 1 Aug 2006 @ 7:59am

    Re: Hijacked Accounts are the biggest problem

    I have fallen to this scam before. I bought a Mac Powerbook from a guy in Italy who required Western Union payment. YES I'M STUPID. But it's simply an example of this being a big problem.

    At the time, eBay was doing very little to combat this problem, but I think they are doing a little better.

    All you have to do is look at the history of a seller to find out if the item they are selling is normal activity for them. That pretty much exposes any scam.

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