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
    bgmacaw, 1 Aug 2006 @ 5:33am

    Hijacked Accounts are the biggest problem

    The much bigger problem are hijacked account auctions. Scammers nab eBay accounts via phishing emails and web sites. Even powersellers with 1000's of feedback have fallen for these phishes. The scammers then use the stolen accounts to list 100's of high demand items, such as plasma TVs, on the account.

    These auctions have several basic characteristics in common. First, they always ask the potential bidder to contact the seller via email before bidding at an email address and not through the 'ask the seller a question' link. Next, they'll almost always be one day auctions however the 'seller' will have a 'buy-it-now' price mentioned in the listing. And, they will most often be miscatagorized to avoid detection by eBay's own fraud bots, for example, a Plasma TV might be listed under Doll Clothing.

    Should a bidder respond to the email, they will be told that the item, or one like it, is available if the bidder will Western Union the seller X amount of dollars. They may also mention Square Trade or some other service to try to build confidence. If the bidder/mark WU's them the money, then it's gone.

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