We heard from Tamebay reader Iain who was one of those who felt victim to the eBay scam when a scammer changed his eBay payment email to PayPal and at the time he lost around £ 8,000. Now it has happened again.
Ever since being scammed for the first time, Iain has harassed eBay to help them put payment policies in place, but on its own it’s still not a safe option. It’s too easy for a scammer to change policies for a few hours and then change them, making it hard to notice money flowing out of the account because it’s not continuous.
Returning from a week’s vacation, Iain did a check and sure enough a new payment policy was put in place on his eBay account, although when he was spotted he was not assigned to any announcement. After a call to PayPal, he discovered there was a balance in the fraudster’s PayPal account.
Naturally, PayPal will not disclose the amount in the account, so Iain is waiting for eBay to provide a spreadsheet of the transactions where the payments have been misappropriated. On the plus side, this time around it has only been running for 10 days at worst, so losses will be limited. The question now is what method can be used to retrieve the funds from the fraudster’s PayPal account and return them to Iain, or will they just end up being paid to a fraudster as has happened in the past.
It should be noted that Iain did not use 2 step verification – there are 7 employees working on his eBay account and sometimes they will be at work before him and sometimes he has to work from home in the evenings. A text message to authenticate each connection is simply not possible as it will only go to one mobile phone and it cannot be in two places at once.
Today Iain looked into the possibility of skipping SMS 2-step verification messages as they arrive, as it is then possible to request account access via email, but the ‘option to do so seems to be missing when trying to connect. This way.
It’s fair to point out that we stopped writing about this eBay scam when readers stopped contacting us to tell us they had been victimized, which tends to suggest that eBay has got the issue under control. We were contacted daily, sometimes several times a day, but Iain has been the first to contact us for three weeks.
We hope this is a unique case, but it shows that it is always possible for sellers to be compromised. If you are not already using 2-step verification on your eBay account, we strongly recommend that you do so. Full instructions on how to set it up are available here.