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Amazon Marketplace and Ebay Fraud
I love buying equipment at Amazon. Its convenient and I trust them. They have excellent buyer protection and are very responsive to claims.
I also buy at their Marketplace where people and small businesses sell their stuff. Amazon's protection covers this too, but that doesn't mean you should be completely careless, as they only cover you up to 5 times for life.
Unfortunately scammers have found out ways to use Amazon Marketplace steal your hard earned dollars.
Especially high priced electronic items (and that's what I usually buy there) are being used for this kind of fraud.
Obviously people lose all reasoning skills when something is being sold at incredibly low prices, although above all that should be the first indicator that something is wrong.
When I was looking at some items, I ran across the Canon 5D + 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens package offered at just $1400 (the next cheapest package price was around $3400).
The lens alone is easily worth almost $1100 at Amazon.
I was pretty sure this was just another scam, but I decided to send the seller an email and poke around a little to see what he would tell me.
I sent him an email asking about some more details.
I was hoping to get him to send me a fake Amazon email, so I made up some fake address that sounded legit.
I think I might have gone a little overboard by making minor changes to my name (after all my email reveals my real name, which I made sound like a nickname).
He sent me a confirmation and promised to send the request from Amazon, which I never got.
The bottom line: He probably got suspicious of the fake mailing address or he actually punched it into yahoo maps. I didn't want to use a real one, so I wouldn't get another unsuspecting person involved.
I also searched for this username on Ebay. It turned up with a username who had tons of good reviews and all of a sudden a whole lot of bad reviews of people who hadn't received their expensive stuff.
The 100% positive reviews on Amazon were all created from small items like books (sometimes reviewers include what they received in the review), not a single high priced electronic item.
So what would have happened if I had simply bought it right on Amazon?
Most likely he would have cancelled the order and send me an email, faking Amazon as the sender, replicating their email style. He would probably have asked for a Western Union Money transfer.
I wish Amazon would be a little bit more proactive in preventing this kind of fraud. These guys are really easy to spot for their unbelievable deals. I also would like for Amazon to inform their customers of common fraud tactics.
Shortly after, I saw an even "better" deal (see picture to the left).
I do believe that it was the same person (both claimed to Ship from GA) and that he found a way to hijack someone's seller account, using their good reputation for his/her shady tactics.
I still will continue buying electronics on Ebay and Amazon. Following a few simple rules, I have never lost any money. Follow these rules and use common sense when you buy electronics:
And please protect your password if you have an account on Ebay or a seller account on Amazon. Make sure nobody can guess your password and that it is hard to crack. I believe seller's being careless causes many of these problems.