EBAY FRAUD – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
I came across an eBay fraud at the time of writing this, which I thought I would cover in a blog as this is one of various scams that people can easily fall for.
In this instance, a woman telephoned Nationwide and asked if she would be protected if the bank transfer that she was proposing to make for a car purchase turned out to be a scam.
The call handler confirmed that she would be protected and that they would be able to trace the money to see where it had gone. In reality, this is a lie and fraud victims who have been tricked in to transferring cash in to a criminal’s bank account rarely get their money back.
The crooks invariably move the money so fast that by the time the customer has reported the crime, the money has vanished and is almost impossible to trace. This is known as the ‘golden hour’ which I speak about here.
Banks are not obliged to refund victims of this type of fraud because even though they were conned in to making the payment, they authorised the transaction so the Bank is not considered to be at fault.
Banks are well aware that this type of fraud is a growing problem with around 1 in 6 of all estimated crime in England and Wales is online fraud. This involves people being conned in to transferring money according to the Office for National Statistics.
One person falls victim to a bank transfer fraud every 10 minutes and in the first half of this year, £101m was lost to scammers with just £25m being recovered by Banks.
In this case, the customer saw a car for sale that was listed by a company which had other vehicles for sale. The seller she spoke to had been selling on eBay since 2008 with a 100% positive rating.
He had a valid email address, website and a working business and mobile telephone number. The car was in Scotland but the seller said he would arrange for it to be driven down to the couple who live in Rugby, Warwickshire. They simply had to transfer the £7,300 in to his account first.
The customer’s call was recorded and to cut a long story short, the Nationwide representative confirmed that the payment could be traced, investigations would take place in the event of anything going wrong and was given every reassurance that she was protected (and she subsequently made the transfer).
The seller sent her an invoice for the vehicle using the business email address stated in the eBay listing, and the the car was supposed to be delivered 5 days later but never arrived. Phone calls were ignored, all listings removed, the website was taken down and the customer eventually concluded that she had been scammed.
She immediately reported the crime to Action Fraud, which is the Government body responsible for advising victims and was given a crime reference number.
Nationwide advised that they could not try to recover the money and confirmed the following day that the money had been withdrawn from the account on the same date that the transfer was made.
The crux here is that eBay’s money back guarantee does not apply to car purchases, so she had no right to a refund through the website. Nationwide offered £125 in compensation for the poor service she had received and agreed to refund the full amount of £7,300 once this hit the press.
Nationwide recognised that the advice given was misleading and accept that they could have done more to support the customer.
It’s worth noting that this customer is a Finance Manager and took every precaution possible knowing that the worst could happen and was still caught out.
Whilst I don’t explicitly cover scams in my book, I certainly cover problematic and fraudulent scenarios with templates based on real-life test cases that work in my consumer book.
Have you been caught out by eBay fraud?