eUSC Logo 6.1.  Misdescribed or Fraudulent Listings

6.  The Fight Against Fraud

6.1.  Misdescribed or Fraudulent Listings

Many misidentified, altered, forged or fraudulent items came up for discussion on the chat board, and members often warned bidders about them at the risk of being cautioned or suspended by eBay.

Stolen images scams

A common method by scammers was to "borrow" images of highly priced items from legitimate sellers' websites or auctions and offer them for sale at a small percentage of their real value, with the objective of making a "quick buck" from dupes and run.

Chat board members tried to alert the sellers who owned the material and, for those that were linked to straight from the scam auctions, "warning" signs could be put up in place of the stolen images to alert potential bidders until eBay canceled the auctions.

Other fraudulent practices

Board members also investigated, and where possible warned bidders about:

sheryll-oswald and other board members wrote educational articles to warn bidders about these sellers as well as the sellers of Peter Winter forgeries on eBay Germany.

eBay's reaction

Auctions were reported to eBay SafeHarbor (Trust and Safety) but except in the case of the blatant image stealing scammers, usually nothing was done. Responses stated that eBay was only a venue and that it couldn't guarantee the accuracy of listings.

As contacting bidders, posting to the board about specific sellers or auctions, and posting links to such were all violations of the eBay User Agreement, some members received "slap on the wrist" emails from SafeHarbor, and in June and July 2002 the more audacious posters, including sheryll-oswald, received 30-day board sanctions.

An alternative chat site which was launched at the end of June was also used for a time to discuss eBay and fraudulent items. The threaded Stamps discussion board, which many members used to vent about fraudulent listings, was removed in July 2002.

5.2.2.  eUSC Cinderellas: Other Issues        eBay Users' Stamp Club        6.2.  The Florida Forgers