Saturday, December 8, 2007

Man Loses $20,000, eBay Says "Not Our Problem"

Shaqir Duraj appears to have become the latest person to lose money to an eBay fraud.

CBC News reports that Duraj, a Calgary bakery owner, lost $20,000 last Thursday, after purchasing a car at a site that he thought was eBay Motors. The sale later turned out to be a hoax.

This sounds like a replay of that incident - in which a US-based eBay customer lost over eight thousand dollars when she purchased a fictional Jeep Cherokee via a fake "eBay Motors" site that was downloaded onto her computer by the BayRob Trojan.

eBay has obviously decided what its strategy is going to be re customers who get taken by elaborate electronic scams that use the eBay brand - blame it on the Internet.

In fact, after hearing about the $20,000 theft, Erin Sufrin, Public Relations Manager at eBay's Canadian subsidiary, told Canada's CBC News, "That's an internet problem, not an eBay problem."

She went on to offer the following advice:

"Spoofing and phishing is something that we're all a victim of and that we try very hard to combat — trying again to get that education out. Never click on — if you think it's a fake eBay, or a fake PayPal or a fake anything site, report it."

Ms. Sufrin added, "eBay is working with the RCMP to get help for customers scammed out of large amounts of money."

According to the CBC News web site, this contradicted a Royal Canadian Mounted Police fraud investigator who told CBC News no one from eBay had returned his calls.

Am I the only one who thinks eBay customers deserve better?

Note: eBay *only* covers frauds up to $20,000 that take place on the eBay Motors site. Frauds that take place outside of the eBay environment (regardless of whether or not your thought you were inside the "real" eBay environment at the time) are *not* covered by the terms and conditions listed on the eBay Motors site, specifically:

"The eBay Motors Vehicle Purchase Protection (VPP) program provides protection of up to $20,000 against certain losses associated with some types of fraud. You are automatically enrolled in the program at no charge when you complete the purchase of an eligible vehicle on the eBay Motors site ("

Update 1: On Thursday, PR Manager Erin Sufrin added some new details, saying that the scam involved a BMW and a hijacked high-rated seller account (not a downloaded BayRob version of eBay Motors). She added that a "warning" was sent to Duraj.

Further Q's for Ms. Sufrin: Was the warning sent by eBay-branded email? If so, should Duraj (the buyer) have assumed the email to be a hoax email? Or should he have assumed it to be real? Also, isn't it reasonable to assume that payment instructions from a seller with a 98% (high) reputation should be trusted?

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