Friday, February 9, 2007

Vigilantism on eBay ... Two Wrongs Do Not Make it Right

We are sure that you have seen some eBay listings with outrageously high bids on them. Often these high bids are the result of vigilantes seeking justice on fraudulent listings, trying to prevent unsuspecting bidders from bidding.

Although we applaud the vigilantes motives, two wrongs do not make it right. Vigilante bidding is an eBay violation and is subject to loss of eBay membership.

We would like to bring some information to the attention of the vigilante bidders, as there may be possible repercussions they are unaware of.

You may not realize this, but if eBay does not cancel a listing (also known as TKO) in time, you have entered into a legally binding agreement to buy the item you won. You may not care, but that's the truth.

More importantly, if the fraudulent listing is not caught in time and not TKO'd by eBay, then the true account holder is going to be billed for the listing and final value fees. You don't know which members are on which eBay billing cycles. If the fraudulent listing completes and a billing cycle occurs, the true account holder will be billed by eBay and hit for these charges on a credit card, through a direct payment withdrawal through PayPal or through a designated bank account.

Vigilante bidders cause these charges to occur, and subject the true account holder to additional grief and aggravation, causing the true account holder further financial harm. If there are insufficient funds in a bank account to cover the eBay charges, you very well may cause the true account holder to be billed for additional charges such as overdraft fees on their bank accounts. Not everyone has overdraft protection on their bank accounts. Whether you realize this or not, not everyone has extra money in their bank accounts to cover eBay fees that they did not plan on being charged for. If funds are withdrawn from a bank account because of an eBay bill, this may cause a trickle down effect and cause other authorized withdrawals to bounce on a bank account.

When the charges incurred for fraudulent activity are brought to eBay's attention, it will refund the fees to the person that was harmed, however, the person's bank and other creditors aren't going to care. The bank is not going to refund the service charges for insufficient funds. And, to top it off you will be causing additional harm by unnecessarily putting a black mark on someone's credit rating. Do you really want the victim of a hijacked account to be subject to further aggravation and have to go through hoops and contact his/her creditors and the credit rating reporting agencies to clear up these black marks on their records that you have caused?

Vigilantes, before you bid look at the broader picture. Realize that although you may be trying to protect an innocent bidder from being scammed, you may be causing more harm than good and really be victimizing the person that was hijacked.

Team Whack a Hack and The Nekkid Truth are asking the vigilante bidders to stop bidding and instead report the hijacked accounts via webform or directly to eBay's Live Help Team for resolution.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

eBay Members, We Urge You to Boycott eBay until Further Notice

"21 Charged In International eBay Fraud Scheme". This is the headline from a December 12, 2006 news article on the CBS2Chicago web site. According to this article, 21 people are facing charges in an alleged international scheme to con people into buying items on eBay that were never sent. This fraud, which occurred between November 2003 and August 2006, conned 2,000 victims out of approximately $5 million. While police caught up with this particular group, fraud is more prevalent on eBay than ever before.

Because fraud has spun out of control on eBay in the past week, The Nekkid Truth and Team Whack a Hack are asking all eBay members to cease bidding on and buying all cell phones, consumer electronics, cameras and photography equipment, appliances, baby carriages, designer goods, heavy equipment, musical instruments, motorized vehicles, bicycles, jewelry, event tickets, and DVDs until further notice.

eBay seems to ignore the problem of fraud unless it is reported via webform or to Live Help by eBay members. eBay wants its members to police eBay's website. eBay members are just that, members and volunteers, they are eBay's unpaid workforce.

It is time to make eBay accountable. eBay has the tools to find the hijacked accounts and bogus listings and has the ability to secure the hijacked accounts within 2 hours of the first report it receives. How do we know this? Because Team Whack a Hack has developed a set of automated tools to find the hijacked accounts and bogus listings. If Team Whack a Hack and other volunteers can find the hijacked accounts, accounts created with the intent to defraud, clone fraud accounts, and bogus listings with little effort, then eBay with its state of the art software and IT Department can do the same.

eBay members, if you choose to disregard our request, you do so at your own risk.

While we know that eBay is not at fault for its members buying mistakes, eBay still needs to be held accountable for its poor reaction time to webform reports from its volunteer police force and for it not curtailing fraud on its site. eBay's 'I know nothing' attitude is not a viable excuse anymore.

There are numerous safeguards that eBay can implement, including temporarily suspending any member account that has been inactive for more than 30 days. In January, it was announced that PayPal will be offering its members an increased security option through an electronic key fob that has received positive praise on eBay message boards. Why is eBay not offering this electronic key on its own website?

Team Whack a Hack will continue to report on this blog all of the email addresses and fake domains of hijackers it finds on eBay, along with reporting all email addresses and fake domains of accounts created with the intent to defraud. Team Whack a Hack will continue to report hijacked accounts and accounts created with the intent to defraud directly to eBay. But, we are getting tired of trying to plug a hole in the dam. The dam has burst, and that was more than evident last night when we found accounts that we reported earlier during the day that had hundreds of listings on them, only to later see that thousands of bogus listings uploaded on eBay's site. eBay could have secured these accounts immediately, but instead it allowed these listings to upload and contaminate its website.

We are tired of eBay's excuses, empty promises and attempts at using band aids. Fix the problems once and for all.

Although we are very upset with eBay for allowing fraud to continue on its website, we would particularly like to thank eBay's Live Help Team. Without the help and dedication of these marvelous agents, who we have reported thousands of hijacked accounts to, thousands of fraudulent listings would remain on eBay's website daily. Unfortunately, although we admire the dedication of the Live Help agents, they are just employees, who only follow eBay's marching orders.

Buyers, we are asking you to speak up by NOT spending any money on eBay in the categories set forth above. If you DO NOT spend your money on eBay, eBay will be forced to take notice, because its profits are going to plummet. Stockholders are going to ask questions. If there aren't any buyers, sellers will be forced to stop listing and take a stance and tell eBay that it will not continue to accept eBay's blindness towards fraud. If sellers want the buyers to come back, then the sellers need to speak up to eBay.

Buyers, do not condone eBay's lazy behavior. Do not put yourself at risk any longer. Take your money and shop elsewhere. Shop on websites that you know are safe, where you know that you aren't going to get ripped off. Take a stance and boycott doing any business on eBay in the high fraud categories until eBay has implemented the appropriate safeguards to make your buying experiences safe.

Buyer Beware ... eBay Scam Artist on the Loose

Today, Team Whack a Hack found the worst kind of eBay bottom feeder, a newly registered seller with misleading listings, selling photographs of electronics items. If you read the listings closely, you will see that the seller, hotseller9012, is intentionally misleading buyers into thinking that he is selling consumer electronics. Upon payment to the seller, what will be delivered to each buyer is a photograph. The thief has been listing Nokia N95 cell phones, Apple iPods, Toshiba Satellite laptops, Nintendo WII Game Consoles, and T-Mobile Sidekick 3 cell phones.

An example of one of the 21 listings says:


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


You are bidding on exactly what you see (the picture of the Nokia N95).!! THIS IS ONE OF THE COOLEST PHONES OUT. You will deffiantly be in style with this.

-will ship via priorty mail on February 25, 2006

Click on the thumbnail to see the listing.

Buyers will have no protection through eBay or PayPal because the seller only accepts money orders and cashier's checks.

Sellers like this give eBay a very bad reputation. Bottom feeders think they won't get caught. We are exposing this bottom feeder for who he really is, a thief. This thief belongs in jail, and it is our hope that District Attorney's Office in Passaic County, New Jersey will receive enough complaints to file criminal charges against him.

The thief's name is Jon Udrija. He was born in 1955 and resides at 33 Mountainwood Court, Totowa, NJ 07512. The telephone numbers are (973) 956-1882 and (973) 766-4248. We believe Mr. Udrija either currently is or was a soccer coach for 6th, 7th and 8th graders for the Totowa Police Athletic League.

If you have been deceived by Jon Udrija and entered into a transaction and only received a picture from him, please contact the New Jersey State Police Cyber Crime Unit at (609) 584-5051 Ext. 5673. Team Whack a Hack has already been in contact with the New Jersey State Police Cyber Crime Unit, however, we were informed that the victims must file complaints themselves.

Victims should also file online complaints with the Internet Crime Complaint Center and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

Additionally file a complaint with:

Passaic County Department of Law & Safety
Department of Consumer Protection
1310 Route 23 North
Wayne, New Jersey 07470
Telephone: (973) 305-5881

Mr. Udrija, we want you to know that you might think you will get away with this scam, but you won't. To aid in your prosecution, we have screenshots of each of your listings and will provide them to the authorities upon request. It is our hope that you get what you deserve - paying restitution to the victims you defrauded and a long sentence in jail.


Thanks to the efforts of one of the diligent members from Team Whack a Hack and his conversation with Live Help agent, Bryce B., we can now report that Jon Udrija is no longer a registered user.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

eBay Members Protect Yourselves and Change Your eBay Preferences

The first step that you can take to protect yourself from scammers is to go to your eBay account in My eBay and change your eBay Preferences. Change the Notification Delivery of all messages from HTML to Text-Only format. This way, when you receive messages from eBay to your registered email address you will know immediately if you are receiving a fake invoice, phish or a spoof message, because if those messages arrive in HTML format, you will know immediately that they are phony.

Second, change your Buying Notifications to NOT subscribe to Second Chance Offers. If you refuse to receive Second Chance Offers then you should NOT receive them. After changing your Preferences, if Second Chance Offers do arrive addressed to your registered email address you will know that they are phony.

Third, whenever you receive an email from eBay, double-check and make sure that it is in your My Messages in box in My eBay. If the message you receive to your registered email address is NOT in My Messages, then the message you received is phony.

Fourth, while you're making changes to your eBay account go to your PayPal account and change your Preferences to ONLY receive messages in Text-Only format. Then afterwards if you receive email messages from PayPal and they are in HTML format, you will know immediately that they are phony.

Change your Preferences and take these simple precautions and you will be taking a step in the right direction to protect yourself from scammers.

Check the Categories the Listings are In

Although we have said this repeatedly, many of you still do not have a clue about protecting yourselves on eBay and other auction sites.

Over and over again, while Team Whack a Hack is reporting hijacked accounts, we find eBay members bidding on these fraudulent listings. 95% of the time it is obvious that the account is hijacked. Hijackers list their non-existent items in the WRONG CATEGORIES. They do this to maintain a low profile, because they know that most eBayers search on keywords and not by category. The hijackers know that you are too lazy to look up and see what category the listing is in. You should NEVER bid on an item if it is in the wrong category. Cell phones, electronics, heavy machinery, etc. should not be listed under Clothes, Art, Antiques, or Health and Beauty Aids.

If you can't bother to glance up at the screen to see where the listing is located, then you deserve to get scammed and you deserve to lose your money.

Thieves are not bright people. They list in bulk in hope that the unsuspecting eBayer will not do his homework. But, honestly, who is dumber? Is it the thief or the eBayer that bids on an item that is listed in the wrong category?

Just think about it, and glance up and check and see if the item you are bidding on is in the wrong category. If it is in the wrong category, report it to eBay and don't bid on it. Then hit the back button and find the item you want, but make sure it is in the right category. If you are lazy, then you deserve to get scammed and lose your money. Maybe the next time you might actually follow our advice.