How To Identify eBay Scams and Avoid Them

Don't get scammed out of your money. The most common eBay scams you should be aware of and how to avoid them are listed below.
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Most people have good experiences with eBay, which is a reliable shopping resource. To protect yourself, you must keep an eye out for the numerous eBay frauds.

Whether you sell or purchase on the website, you should be aware of common eBay scams.  The most common eBay scams to be aware of are listed below, including one that applies to all eBay users as well as buyers and sellers.

Although buying products through eBay is typically simple, some scammers target innocent buyers who are simply looking to save money. It’s important to keep in mind that if an offer seems too good to be true, it is generally scam. You can also read about Amazon scams and Facebook Marketplace scams here.

The following are some of the most typical eBay scams.


eBay Scams to Avoid as a Buyer

after introduction ebay

Due to eBay’s tendency to support the buyer in disputes, purchasers on the platform typically have fewer worries. Buyers don’t need to provide much proof to accuse you of misconduct because eBay will typically take you at your word.


However, there are still a few ways for an eBay buyer to fall victim to a scam. Here are some to be on the lookout for.


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1. No Delivery

With a few exceptions, an eBay money-back guarantee shields customers from fraudulent sellers. The list of items below shows those that are not protected, which implies that the seller may take payment and still choose not to send the item, in which case you, the buyer, would have no remedy through the eBay website. When purchasing from the following list, use caution:

  • Businesses for sale
  • Some categories of business equipment
  • Websites for sale
  • Real estate
  • Vehicles

2. Incorrect Name on Label

This scam is clever because the deceit occurs offline after the eBay transaction is complete. The seller will post the package with the proper address but the incorrect name after concluding the sale as usual.

As a result, you as the buyer may assume that you accidentally received someone else’s package and decide to return it or take it back to the post office. The eBay transaction is marked as rejected or returned, and the seller keeps both the product and the money. Once a transaction is completed in this manner, there is no way to challenge it.

3. Empty Box Scam

One of the oldest (yet most successful) eBay scams. This scam often targets more small, expensive objects like smartphones or handbags. The seller will dispatch the products after the buyer has paid for them. The issue arises when the purchaser receives the products but claims that they were shipped in an empty box. The worst-case scenario, t he seller receives a refund while keeping the product.


The buyer then opens a ticket and claims you sent a box that was empty. If a buyer opens an Item Not as Discussed (INAD) case, you are required by eBay policy to accept the return and issue a refund. The buyer returns an empty package while keeping the products.

4. Outside Payment of eBay

eBay’s security systems can only protect buyers and sellers when transactions occur directly on the website. They could request cash, a bank transfer, a cheque, a money order, or even gift cards.

The scammer will stop interacting with you and refuse to supply the item as soon as they have obtained your money via untraceable methods. eBay won’t help with a transaction that took place outside of its domain. This eBay scam is also used in Amazon and Facebook Marketpalce Scams.

5. Counterfeit Products

The disadvantage of online shopping is that you can’t check the products’ quality before you buy them. Knowing this, scammers would occasionally advertise high-end, name-brand products for sale at a very attractive price. Unfortunately, the products are inexpensive because they are knockoff or replicas.

6. Gift Cards Scam

Victims are approached by gift card scammers by phone, email, or social media. To induce a sense of urgency, they offer some form of limited discount. To make a payment, the scammer will demand the gift card number from the victim. Once they obtain the code, they vanish with your gift card balance in their possession.

eBay Scams to Avoid as a Seller

how to avoid ebay scams

It might surprise you to learn that a lot of eBay scams are not intended for discount great deals. Scammers frequently pretend to be purchasers and take advantage of consumer protection laws to trick honest sellers.

1. Deal offered outside of eBay

Instead of using eBay’s official payment methods, a buyer may notice your item and make a private payment offer. They can claim that by doing sales off-site, the seller (you) can avoid paying transaction costs.  It’s on of the common eBay scams.

They either refuse to pay or dispute the transaction with eBay on the grounds that the item was damaged or that the ad was a fake when you close the listing and ship the item.

2. Overpayment Offer

If you have something for sale, a potential buyer might get in touch with you and make an offer that is higher than the asking price. It may seem foolish at first to refuse a good offer, but this is frequently a trap.

The buyer will make payment using a fake check. When the check bounces after you mail the item promptly, you are left empty-handed.

3. Change in Address

The offer of an overpayment has been reused in this scam. Your item will be offered for sale by a buyer who will provide a higher amount than is needed. They claim that it is to pay for additional shipping expenses since they urgently need to send it to a foreign nation. Your PayPal email address will also be requested by the scammers.

Soon after that, scammers will get in touch with you asking for postal tracking numbers while posing as representatives of PayPal. The payment will be issued to you if you can prove that the products have been sent, according to the email. If the email is genuine and you are a trustworthy individual, you may send the item in good faith.

4. Broken Replica Scam

A happy customer buys your product. Following receipt of payment, you send it out right away. The buyer then accuses you of sending a broken item in this scam. They might even offer images of the damaged object.

The item is, unfortunately, a replica of the one you sent. You could lose both the product and the money if the buyer reports the item as damaged to eBay and receives a refund.

How To Avoid eBay Scams

It’s crucial to exercise extreme caution while buying or selling on the eBay marketplace. You could already be familiar with some of this advice, or it might not apply to every sale. Regardless of how cautious you are, engaging in financial transactions online can be harmful, so be alert and act responsibly.

Here’s how to stay clear of eBay scams:

Never accept a payment in checks: They are frequently the target of fraud, thus it’s quite risky. Wait until the checks have cleared if you do accept them. The balance of your account will be visible when you deposit a check, but it can take a week or two for it to be verified. Sending the package before the check clears could result in an empty bank account and the loss of the goods. Use only authorised eBay payment methods.


Always finish your transaction using an official eBay channel:  Utilize the offered service to communicate. eBay cannot validate interactions or agreements made on private channels, or follow up on transactions conducted outside of its platform. By proving to eBay that you operated in good faith, you’ll give yourself the best chance of protection.

Note everything down: Attempt to keep a record of every item’s packing and mailing, including any tracking numbers applied. This will shield you from bogus fraud accusations. In general, eBay will support the buyer, therefore challenge any assertions you believe to be false and provide photographic proof to support your position.

Always be sure that any deliveries you send have a tracking number: Make arrangements for delivery with signature required if the item is more expensive than $700. This helps in defending you from PayPal Seller Protection (but not necessarily other payment methods available through eBay).


Compare the cost to that of comparable products: It might be a fraud or even stolen stuff if it’s being significantly discounted without a valid reason (like listed damage, for instance). Stay away.


Examine the feedback section: Making the profile appear genuine may be a wise move if the sellers of the positive feedback are all of the low-cost item merchants. Don’t be afraid to start a dialogue regarding the item via eBay’s messaging system because it might also be a novice seller.

Never make a rushed eBay purchase: Carefully read the listing. There won’t be much you can do to challenge a transaction if the item is just identified as the box in the listing’s title or plainly in the description. This is because the information provided was accurate and fair.

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Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy is an Ecommerce Consultant & Dropshipping Trainer at eComWiser California. He has 12 years of experience in Ecommerce industry. He likes to write articles about dropshipping, ecommerce and online business.

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