Sunday, May 20, 2007

eBay Members Crying Out for Better Security

It has been more than a month since Rob Chesnut, eBay's Senior Vice President of Global Trust & Safety, announced to the eBay community that new fraud prevention initiatives were implemented on eBay's platforms. However, this blog has mentioned many times since Chesnut made his announcement that we have not seen any signs of the new initiatives. Nothing proactive has occurred, eBay member accounts are still being hijacked and fraudulent listings continue to appear on eBay's platforms 24/7/365.

However, there is a simple solution to instill member confidence in eBay, and that is for eBay to require all of its members to use the PayPal key fob that was rolled out onto PayPal's platform in March. Called the "PayPal Security Key", PayPal gives it free of charge to all users that have business accounts and charges $5 to users that have premiere or personal accounts. The "PayPal Security Key" can also be used on eBay, and eBay gave the "PayPal Security Key" to eBay PowerSellers at a certain level for free.

Although the "PayPal Security Key" does not stop fraud, by using it, members have some comfort knowing that they have added an additional layer of security to both their PayPal and eBay accounts. PayPal spokesperson Sara Bettencourt told CNET in January that "If a fraudulent party somehow got hold of a person's username and password, they still wouldn't be able to get into the account because they don't have the six-digit code."

Just as eBay does not want to require new members to take tutorials to learn how to protect themselves from fraud, eBay does not want to require all of its members to use the "PayPal Security Key". However, we have a few solutions to at least instill buyer and seller confidence on eBay's platforms, and an additional enhancement for PayPal to implement. Moreso, the solutions are simple because PayPal and eBay have already rolled out and implemented the "PayPal Security Key".

If an eBay/PayPal member obtains the "PayPal Security Key", the member must activate it on either PayPal or eBay and must register the unique alpha/numeric serial identification number on the back of the key. The member would then also activate the "PayPal Security Key" on the other platform. To use the key on both PayPal and eBay, the member has to log on with his user ID, password, and input the 6-digit number that is randomly generated by the "PayPal Security Key". Once the member successfully logs onto PayPal or eBay he can fully access his account. Members do not need to log into eBay and use the key if they only wish to surf eBay.

The unique alpha/numeric serial identification number on the back of the "PayPal Security Key" is solely assigned to the PayPal/eBay account for a specific person or business. Presently, only one PayPal account can be associated to one eBay account; therefore, if a member has a combination of two or more PayPal/eBay accounts, each PayPal/eBay account would require its own "PayPal Security Key".

If a "PayPal Security Key" is lost, it is of no value to anyone else because the alpha/numeric serial identification number has already been registered with PayPal/eBay and cannot be reassigned or transferred. Should the key become faulty or is lost, the "Paypal Security Key" will be disabled by PayPal/eBay once the member it is assigned to reports such to PayPal/eBay. Members who may leave their "PayPal Security Key" at home, while wanting to access their PayPal/eBay accounts from another location, and those who are waiting for a replacement "PayPal Security Key" are still be able to access their PayPal/eBay accounts, but must answer security questions of which the answers are only known to them. Hijackers are unable to gain access to any PayPal or eBay accounts that are activated with the "PayPal Security Key" because the hijackers are unable to successfully answer the security questions.

The bottom line is that hijackers cannot tamper with PayPal/eBay member accounts that have activated the "PayPal Security Key".

Click on the thumbnail images below to enlarge them for a visual illustration of the PayPal and eBay log on pages when the "PayPal Security Key" is activated.

On a side note, we would like to mention that the estimated life of the battery in the "PayPal Security Key" is approximately one to two years. The battery cannot be replaced, so a member must obtain a new key from either eBay or PayPal.

We suggest that both PayPal and eBay create an icon that will appear as follows:


• The new icon will appear on the PayPal message sent to the seller that the buyer accessed his PayPal account by using the "PayPal Security Key" and has paid for the transaction.

• The new icon will appear in a new column on the PayPal transaction register only for transactions in which the "PayPal Security Key" was used.

By implementing this new icon in these locations, it will give the seller confidence that the buyer did indeed authorize payment for the transaction. Although thieves can copy and use the icon in spoof messages, users will be able to verify the authenticity of a payment/receipt by accessing the transaction register on their PayPal accounts.

Click on the thumbnail images below to enlarge them for a visual illustration of the proposed changes to PayPal.


• Listings that are created and uploaded onto eBay platforms where the seller has logged in to his account with the "PayPal Security Key" will display the key icon in the blue listing box and in the location where the PayPal buyer protection information is located. It will also be necessary to use the "PayPal Security Key" to upload listings through Turbo Lister and any other third-party programs.

• If an existing listing that displays the key icon is revised, the eBay member must log in to access his eBay account with the "PayPal Security Key". If the member does not log into his account with the "PayPal Security Key", he will be unable to revise the existing listing. The member also will be unable to cancel the listing by himself. The member will have to contact eBay's Live Help for Fraud group to have the listing canceled and will also be required to provide verification information to the Live Help agent. eBay will not refund the listing fee to the member, as it will be considered canceled and not TKO'd. The eBay member will be able to list items without the key, but the "PayPal Security Key" will not appear in the listing. By only allowing members to revise listings with the "PayPal Security Key" this further prevents hijackers from accessing accounts and revising genuine listings for their own illegal benefit.

• The key icon will appear for all listings that are uploaded with it in a column on the eBay search results page.

• Just as members may search for listings that have PayPal as a payment option, the key icon will be added as a search function on the left hand side of the search page.

• The key icon will be added as a search function on the Advanced Search screen.

• The key icon will appear on the My eBay Summary screen for all applicable listings sub-categorized under "All Buying" and "All Selling" that are uploaded using the "PayPal Security Key" and paid for through PayPal with the buyer's "PayPal Security Key".

• We also suggest that because PayPal is not accepted by every seller, available in every country, or available to every member, that on eBay's platforms the key should be renamed the "eBay Security Key". eBay should also add its own logo to the existing key (which only says "PayPal") or create a key solely with the eBay logo on it.

Click on the thumbnail images below to enlarge them for a visual illustration of the proposed changes to eBay.

eBay Member Confidence

• eBay members will have confidence in these specific eBay listings, as they can only be uploaded to eBay platforms by the true member that is assigned the "PayPal Security Key".

• Buyers will have more confidence that listings are genuine because they will be able to search for listings containing the "PayPal Security Key."

• Buyers will continue to have confidence when obtaining general search results. They will be able to immediately see the "PayPal Security Key" icon related to each item and know, without having to click on the listing, that the listing is genuine.

• Instilling buyer confidence in eBay listings will generate more sales and higher sales dollars for sellers that use the "PayPal Security Key," and will also increase the average selling price (ASP), final value fees and increase revenue for eBay.

• Should an eBay member be assigned and have in his possession a "PayPal Security Key" and then be NARU'd, eBay will automatically disable the key for all eBay accounts associated with that particular key until the member is again in good standing. PayPal accounts will remain unaffected. However, because eBay and PayPal are considering allowing the "PayPal Security Key" to be used for multiple accounts in the future, this safety mechanism will prevent NARU'd members from having the opportunity to log in to eBay with the key.

• The more exposure the "PayPal Security Key" icon receives through eBay marketing, promotion, and announcements, the more it will convince other members, and specifically, sellers to obtain the "PayPal Security Key" for their own use.

Site Key

There may be some eBay members that infrequently use eBay, and therefore, might find the added security by using the "PayPal Security Key" to be cumbersome or not worth the $5 investment. Therefore, we suggest that to accommodate these eBay members and to provide further security, eBay also implement a site key.

A site key is a small image, chosen by the member to "individualize" his account. Each member will select an image from a random array of 50 images, and set up a security question. Each time a member logs in to his account, after entering his user ID, he will be directed to a second screen showing a random set of images. The member must choose his preselected site key and input his password to complete the login process. If the member does not choose the correct site key, he will be allowed a second attempt. If again unsuccessful, on the third attempt he will be asked to answer the security question. If the security answer is incorrect, the account will be completely disabled for 4 hours. The member will be sent an email message addressed to his eBay registered email account notifying him of the three unsuccessful attempts to log in to his account, and that the account is disabled for 4 hours. The email will also provide instructions on how to contact Live Help for assistance to have the account reactivated, though no action will be required by the member if he did not access his account and if he can wait through the 4 hour disablement period.

• The security question choices will be out of the ordinary. For example, questions with common answers will be easy to guess at. However questions such as "What is your eldest sibling's middle name" and "Name your first employer" will be nearly impossible for a thief to answer.

• Site key images will always appear in random order, and because the member will have two attempts to select the correct image to log into eBay prior to answering the security question, hijackers will be unable to determine which image is correct through keylogger programs.

• We further suggest that eBay create a library of 3000 site key images to choose from, although it only needs to offer a member an array of 20-30 images to choose from to initially activate the site key account protection. By implementing the site key and security question precautions, a hijacker would be unsuccessful in leading a member to a fake eBay login page.

• Since we are aware that there are millions of dormant accounts in eBay's database, we suggest that if a member has not activated either the "PayPal Security Key" or the site key within 30 days of the site key being rolled out, that eBay temporarily disable such accounts and require verification of membership when accessed. In the alternative, at a minimum, eBay should disable the selling privileges on the dormant accounts so hijackers already having access to an undetermined inventory of user IDs and passwords are unable use the dormant accounts to create fraudulent listings for their own purposes.

Click on the thumbnail images below to enlarge them for a visual illustration of the proposed changes by adding a site key.

Email Messages, Hyperlinks and Member Registration

• Both eBay and PayPal will remove all hyperlinks from its messages and only send messages to members stating they have new messages to read in the My eBay My Messages/PayPal accounts.

• By removing hyperlinks from messages and educating its members that neither eBay nor PayPal send email messages with hyperlinks, members will learn that any messages that look like they appear from either eBay or PayPal with hyperlinks in them are spoof and phishing attempts to obtain member IDs and passwords. By removing hyperlinks and educating members, the members will be less likely to be spoofed or phished, and thus not give up their private information.

• eBay will no longer allow members to register member IDs that are at all similar to their eBay registered email addresses. In this way, members will be less likely to receive fake Second Chance Offers from scammers who use random generator matching programs to detect member email addresses for their scams. This is extremely important because eBay's SMI initiative only obscures member IDs when a listing with bids reaches the $200 threshold.

• eBay will no longer expose any member's email address in Ask the Seller a Question and member to member messages. eBay will allow sellers to answer bidder questions that request additional images by creating eBay generated disguised links through the eBay messaging system similar to the way TinyURL works. Furthermore, eBay will perform malware scans on the links and images to ensure that neither the links nor the images are infected. Bidders wishing to see the images will click on the links to view them.

Click on the thumbnail image below to enlarge it for a visual illustration of the proposed changes to email messages.

If eBay requires its members to either use the "PayPal Security Key" or the site key, thieves will be unable to hijack eBay member accounts and existing listings, therefore, thieves' activities will be limited to the listings on the brand new accounts they create for themselves.

By implementing the above security processes as a complete package, eBay gives its members options, along with offering true security and assurances, that listings on its platforms are created by the true account holders and not hijackers. Member confidence in eBay being a safe marketplace will increase, members will be able to properly evaluate other members through feedback, the public's perception of eBay will be positive, and eBay will be proactively taking action to combat fraud on its platforms. Transparency will return to eBay's platforms.

Implementation of the security processes will allow eBay employees assigned to removing fraudulent listings, securing accounts, and assisting members with fraudulent activity due to hijackings to spend their time doing better things than repetitively removing listings, securing accounts, and advising its members how to keep their accounts secure. eBay's Trust & Safety team will become more effective and have the manpower and opportunity to concentrate its efforts on the problems with the Chinese counterfeiters, shilling violations, and other important trust and safety issues.

By no means will these security processes eliminate all of the fraud on eBay, however, it is a step in the right direction and a way to remove most of the fraudulent listings from eBay's platforms, while keeping its venue status, and protecting its members. We urge eBay's and PayPal's management teams to evaluate these security processes and implement them immediately.

The Nekkid Truth blog thanks the administrator of the Company Exposed website, eBay member "thepursesboutique", Team Whack a Hack, and the many eBay members wishing to remain anonymous for collaborating on this blog entry and providing the illustrations.

For press/media contact, please write to the blog administrator at We welcome all reader comments and questions. Please feel free to post your comments directly to the blog or email for further information.


We believe that we are proposing viable security solutions that eBay can easily implement, which will benefit eBay and its members. On Sunday, May 20, 2007, email messages were sent to eBay executives Bill Cobb, Philipp Justus, Rob Chesnut, Matt Halprin, and Dave Cullinane requesting that they review the proposed security suggestions and respond to this blog entry (see email message below). We will keep our readers updated and let you know if and when we receive a response from eBay.

Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 12:04:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: "The Nekkid Truth"
Subject: Security Proposal to Reduce Fraudulent Listings on eBay's Platforms

Dear Messrs. Cobb, Justus, Chesnut, Halprin, and Cullinane:

A group of eBay members that have been critical of eBay's lack of security have taken it upon themselves to find solutions to reduce fraud, and increase security and member confidence on eBay's platforms. Implementation of our proposed security enhancements are solutions to the issues eBay faces daily, and, will ultimately increase sales and revenue on eBay. Please review the proposal posted at

We believe your IT group is technically capable to write the required code and perform the beta testing in order for these security enhancements to be implemented on eBay's platforms prior to the Christmas 2007 listing/buying season.

Further, by implementing these solutions, eBay returns transparency to its marketplace. Our proposed security solutions have merit and not only will solve eBay's security and fraud issues, but will strengthen eBay and give eBay members confidence in eBay. This is a win/win situation for eBay.

If you are in favor of implementing our proposed solutions this would be a wonderful announcement you can make at eBay Live. eBay's upper management will be getting the message out to a very large audience that it is proactively pursuing solutions to increase security and reduce fraud on its platforms.

We welcome your comments.

Sincerely yours,

The Nekkid Truth Blog

Company Exposed

Team Whack a Hack

Anonymous eBay Members

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Nekkid Truth Blog Announces New Event Ticket Verification/Validation Service for eBay Members

Effective immediately, The Nekkid Truth blog is now offering an event ticket verification/validation service for eBay members. This service has come about because of the number of bogus event ticket listings offered on eBay, and will offer all eBay members confidence when both selling and bidding on/purchasing event tickets. eBay will not implement a mechanism to verify/validate that event ticket listings are genuine, so we are offering this service.

The Nekkid Truth blog and Team Whack a Hack have reported over 150,000 bogus ticket listings to eBay, consisting of over 20,000 bogus Superbowl listings, 5,000 UEFA Champions ticket listings, Disney Hopper tickets, and other sports and concert tickets. We bring a great deal of experience to the table and can immediately recognize both fraudulent and genuine ticket listings, along with fraudulent listings in all other eBay categories.

This event ticket verification/validation service benefits both the bidder and especially the sellers that do not have a track record selling event tickets.

This is how the service works:

eBay Seller:

1. The eBay seller must have the event tickets in hand in order to use this service.

2. This service is only offered to eBay sellers that have paper tickets, with alpha/numeric section/seat numbers for sale. The event, date, time and location of the venue must be imprinted on the tickets.

3. The eBay seller will email clear jpeg images of both the front and back of each ticket for sale to The Nekkid Truth blog.

4. The eBay seller will email a clear jpeg image of the paid receipt for the tickets, including, if available, a clear image of the confirmation letter and mailing envelope to The Nekkid Truth blog.

5. The eBay seller must provide his eBay user ID, and send an email message from the email address that is registered with eBay.

6. The eBay seller must provide a verifiable land phone telephone number, along with a verifiable snail mail address.

7. The eBay seller must accept PayPal for the transaction.

8. Once the tickets are proven to be valid by The Nekkid Truth blog, the eBay seller must watermark each image with his eBay user ID and use said images in the eBay listing so that they cannot be copied and used by others.

9. The eBay seller will be provided with specific language and a direct link to The Nekkid Truth blog to be included in his listing.

10. The event tickets must be listed in the appropriate eBay category.

11. The eBay seller will forward The Nekkid Truth blog a copy of the eBay confirmation message that the listing has been confirmed and accepted by eBay.

12. If the listing is for a "Buy It Now" and/or "Best Offer" the "Buy It Now" and/or "Best Offer" logos must appear in the blue box of the eBay listing.

13. If the listing for the tickets sells, once paid by the buyer, within 72 hours of payment, the eBay seller must ship the tickets via a trackable overnight delivery service, with delivery confirmation, and if the sale price of the tickets is $250 or greater, must require signed delivery confirmation.

14. The eBay seller may not ask to be contacted off of eBay for "Buy It Now" and/or "Best Offer" or use any other common scammer language in the listing.

15. If the eBay seller alters the listing to change any of the information that is significantly different than from what is printed on the tickets, The Nekkid Truth blog reserves the right to remove the listing from the blog.

The Nekkid Truth:

1. The Nekkid Truth blog will verify that the tickets the eBay seller wants to sell are valid and will verify the eBay seller's contact information.

2. Once the contact information is verified and the tickets are authenticated as genuine by The Nekkid Truth blog, the eBay seller will pay The Nekkid Truth blog for the verification/validation service. Once the The Nekkid Truth blog receives confirmation that the verification/validation service has been paid for by the eBay seller, The Nekkid Truth blog will post the listing title, listing number and direct URL to the listing on The Nekkid Truth blog in a blog entry that will be the very first to appear on the blog.

3. The Nekkid Truth blog will spot check the eBay listing during its duration to ensure that it has not been hacked.

4. If the listing has been altered by the eBay seller, The Nekkid Truth blog will verify that the specific ticket information provided for verification/validation has not changed to mislead the eBay buying community.


1. The fee for this verification/validation service is $20 per eBay listing and must be paid to The Nekkid Truth blog's PayPal account immediately after the eBay seller's contact information is verified and the tickets are verified/validated to be genuine, but before the listing is uploaded to eBay. This fee is non-refundable.


1. If the tickets do not sell during the duration of the listing, and the eBay seller wishes to relist the tickets, he will not be charged a second fee by the Nekkid Truth blog as long as none of the parameters above change.

2. The eBay seller must notify The Nekkid Truth blog of the relisting, including forwarding a copy of the listing confirmation in order for The Nekkid Truth blog to add the new listing number and URL to the blog.


1. This service will provide buyer confidence that the eBay seller's listing is genuine because The Nekkid Truth blog has credibility.

2. This service will provide seller credibility and that the tickets for sale are genuine.

3. The eBay listing may very well get greater exposure because the URL to the listing will most likely be posted to the blog before the eBay listing is actually indexed and visible to the eBay buying community as The Nekkid Truth blog generates its own daily visitors.

4. The Nekkid Truth blog is indexed at least 6 times per day by Google, therefore the eBay listing through The Nekkid Truth blog will appear in a Google search, providing greater exposure to the listing. Also, The Nekkid Truth blog's primary URL is listed on over 140 message boards, blogs, and websites, thus possibly offering even additional exposure to the eBay seller's listing.

5. Hijackers have been known to hack into legitimate eBay listings, but they cannot alter eBay listing numbers. The eBay listing number will be posted on The Nekkid Truth blog for bidders to verify that the eBay listing is genuine.

6. Should the eBay seller's ticket listing get hacked, because The Nekkid Truth blog will be spot checking the listing, the eBay seller will be directly contacted and informed how to cure the listing and secure the eBay seller's account.

7. Hijackers cannot hack The Nekkid Truth blog.


1. The procedures above may be altered if The Nekkid Truth blog determines that necessary changes are required.

2. Plastic tickets that look like credit cards are not to be submitted and will not be verified/validated or included in this service.

3. Disney Hopper tickets or any other tickets that may be used over a time period will not be verified/validated or included in this service.

4. If tickets are not transferrable, have names imprinted on them, or are not allowed to be sold on eBay, this service will not verify/validate the tickets.

5. The Nekkid Truth blog is only providing a verification/validation service and does not attest to whether any eBay member is in good standing with eBay. eBay members are to check the trading partner's feedback.

6. This service is presently only available to eBay members registered in the United States and only for tickets associated with events occurring in the United States.

Should you wish to partake in this service or have further questions, feel free to contact

Monday, May 14, 2007

eBayGate: Covering Up Fraud on eBay

At the Town Hall Meeting held on April 30, 2007, Rob "Pinocchio" Chesnut, Senior Vice President of eBay's Global Trust & Safety Group, stated that curtailing fraud on eBay's platforms is eBay's number one priority. He also stated that the group is securing hijacked accounts and nullifying fraudulent listings within 2-3 hours of the first report it receives from eBay community members that spot and report fraud. Chesnut's comments are so far removed from the truth that we are surprised that he hasn't been struck by lightning. Fraudulent listings continue to run rampant on eBay's platforms.

On April 9, 2007, Chesnut announced new fraud prevention initiatives to the eBay community, however, his announcement was vague, and we continue to not see any filters implemented to catch the fraudulent listings prior to them uploading on eBay's platforms. Despite the implementation of Safeguarding Member IDs (SMIs) for items that have bids exceeding the $200 threshold, members continue to receive fake Second Chance Offers. Shill bidding continues and eBay handsomely profits from it, but it is now nearly impossible to report the infraction due to eBay's SMI initiative. There has not been one iota of improvement in curtailing fraud since Chesnut made his announcement.

When questioned by a caller at the April Town Hall Meeting regarding implementing mandatory educational tutorials for new members, Matt Halprin, eBay Vice President for Policies and Procedures, stated that eBay does not want to force its members to take tutorials; it wants to make the buying process simple so buyers can get in and out quickly. The only mandatory educational tutorial that eBay requires new members to take is for members that have feedback ratings of 10 or less that wish to leave neutral or negative feedback for a transaction.

A few weeks ago, the administrator at Company Exposed installed new RSS feeds powered by FEEDBITE. The RSS feeds consist of common scammer phrases, specific email addresses, and well-known items the scammers are known to list on hijacked eBay accounts. At any one time the RSS feeds expose hundreds, if not thousands, of active fraudulent eBay listings. The fraudulent listings appear for endless hours, if not days, certainly exceeding the 2-3 hour window that Chesnut proclaimed was the eBay response time for nullifying these listings and securing accounts.

Although there have been announcements made by eBay that it is actively protecting its membership, there have been no significant or positive changes implemented, therefore, eBay continues to be a thief's best friend and accomplice when it comes to defrauding eBay members.

Recently an eBay member that frequently participates on the Trust & Safety forum provided an excellent definition of fraud:

Fraud: A knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment. A concealment or false representation through a statement or conduct that injures another who relies on it in acting.
eBay proclaims itself as a "safe trading environment." Based on the definition above, is eBay's proclamation true or false?

eBay commits fraud by concealing the extent and prevalence of fraud on its platforms and, therefore, places eBay members at risk through the false representation that eBay is a "safe trading environment." eBay's misrepresentation as a "safe trading environment" is for its own financial enrichment and such conduct truly injures eBay members.


eBay claims it is safe and claims only 0.01 to 0.1% of the visible listings are fraudulent. Unsuspecting new buyers are lulled into becoming members without being properly educated that by becoming eBay members and actively entering into transactions on eBay they will become the number one target to be hacked, hijacked, phished, spoofed, and lured into sophisticated fraudulent schemes to purchase non-existent merchandise.

eBay's fraud calculations are grossly misleading and are only based on claims paid out through PayPal. Members that are defrauded and make payment to thieves through any mechanism other than PayPal do not have actionable claims and, therefore, are not included in the calculations, nor are fraudulent listings that are uploaded and eventually removed by eBay. Also not included in the calculations are fraudulent payments made to sellers through mechanisms other than PayPal. eBay does not publicly report in the aggregate the number of fraudulent listings uploaded on its platforms.


eBay actively conceals and censors its members on eBay community message boards by removing warning posts provided by eBay members illustrating and documenting fraud on eBay's platforms. eBay actively acts to conceal and misrepresent the fraud.

eBay removed member posts on its March Town Hall Forum thread that did not violate board policies. Pointed questions were removed regarding fraud in an effort to conceal members' concerns about this issue. Days prior to the April Town Hall Meeting, eBay blocked access to the March Town Hall Forum thread.

eBay removed and continues to remove any post on eBay's Trust & Safety community board and on other eBay community boards that point to specific or even non-specific proof of fraud on eBay's platforms.

On April 16, 2007, Avery from eBay's Community Development group posted a thread entitled Discussing and Reporting Member-Specific Activity and in part stated:
The manner in which accounts or listings are referenced is less important than the reason why they are being referenced. If it is being used to report a violation, then search strings, item titles, item descriptions, links to other threads with reports, etc. are also examples of posts that are likely not appropriate in these forums.
The original argument for pulling certain posts off eBay community discussion boards was to protect innocent eBay members from mistaken accusations.

However, Avery's comments clearly state eBay members may not discuss fraud in any shape or form, including posting links to the German eBay Trust & Safety community board where eBay members have an official thread to report hijacked accounts.

eBay removed posts linking to its own German Trust & Safety community board when users report hijacked seller accounts with fraudulent auctions. Instead of eBay creating a thread for members to post questions on for the April Town Hall meeting, eBay members were told to submit their questions to an email address. This was done intentionally so eBay members could not review the questions being presented to the panelists at the Town Hall meeting.

It is quite apparent that by eBay's recent actions that it no longer wishes to have transparency on its platforms. Certainly, eBay management is aware of its members' criticisms, but instead of proactively working with members that are knowledgeable about fraud, eBay instead prefers to cover up any traces of both the criticisms and the fraud.

Who is kidding who here? Contrary to what eBay is telling its members, investors, and the media, eBay is not making any visible or significant progress in reducing the number of fraudulent listings on its platforms. eBay has not implemented proactive fraud initiatives; instead it is making its best efforts to conceal fraud, and to censor and sanction its members from discussing fraud. There is no "Trust & Safety" at eBay.

This is an eBayGate cover up; the proof is on Company Exposed's website and is visible by reading the threads on eBay's community message boards and the many blogs and message boards throughout the Internet.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Employment Opportunity/Identity Theft Scam - Ritz Holiday Inn Hotel

Do not get taken in by unsolicited email messages sent to you like the one below. The Canadian hotel (Ritz Holiday Inn Hotel) does not exist, and if it did, the hotel certainly would have its own domain and would not be using a Yahoo email account. The spelling and grammar are atrocious. It appears that the con-artist added quite a bit of gibberish to confuse the reader. The email message is so confusing that we do not believe that the con-artist knows what he is doing; in fact, we think he is illiterate, and sloppily cut and paste information together from various websites and then attempted to edit it. Perhaps next time he will at least use a spell check program. Nigerian 419 scammers are more illiterate than the typical eBay Romanian gypsy scammers, so we think this con-artist is somewhere in Africa.

Although the positions are located in Canada, salaries are quoted and to be paid in US dollars, payroll taxes are in Canadian dollars, and holidays in the United Kingdom are observed (there is even some mention about Iraq that we cannot make heads or tails out of). Possibly, the scammer thinks that all currency in North America is the same. Also, all of the positions are on a Monday through Friday schedule. Have you ever heard of a hotel that was closed on weekends? The hotel and the jobs do not exist.

We did a Google search for the hotel address stated in the email message, and could not find that location in Montreal, Canada. However, we did find a Holiday Inn located at the same street address at 4 Sipson Road at Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom. The well-known first class Ritz hotels have not merged with the moderately priced Holiday Inn hotels, they are separate corporations and they do not have an alliance.

If you read closely, this is an identity theft scam as the con-artist is requesting that applicants provide their passport information along with their resumes. If you were to send a copy of your passport, you would be subject to identity theft. Scammers can easily obtain false birth certificates to obtain duplicate passports, and then will open up bank accounts and obtain credit cards, etc., with your name on them and eventually ruin your credit and subject you to collections for debts that you did not incur. DO NOT give your personal information to strangers.

A Google search brought us to the Quicktopic message board, in which many people describe receiving the same, or nearly the same, email. Apparently this email has been resurrected from another that was distributed in 2006. Employers do not send out blind email solicitations for employment, and they do not make employment offers without conducting interviews. We have found that there is, in fact, a fee requested for visa processing, however, when an employer relocates an employee, relocation expenses are traditionally paid by the employer. Even if an employee paid a fee to the employer, all hotels have credit card merchant accounts and process their own payments. They will never use an instant money transfer service such as Moneygram or Western Union. No one should ever send funds via an instant money transfer service to anyone they do not know.

This type of email has been floating around for quite a while, changing hotel names and being authored by various scam artists. We also discovered that much of the information has been plagiarized from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) website.

Date: Sat, 12 May 2007 18:26:29 -0400 (EDT)


M4 Junction 4 Sipson Road,



Employment decisions are made solely on the basis of qualifications to perform the work for which you are applying. Qualifications include education, training, work experience and other factors which are relevant in determining job performance. Credentials and experience will be verified through schools, former associates and licensing/certification agencies, if applicable. Ritz hotel decision to hire and promote are made without regard to race, religion, colour sex, nationality, origin, age, disability, or any other classification as proscribed by federal, state or local law.

Would you like to be a part of the Ritz Hotels team? Experienced managerial candidates, as well as entry-level applicants, are invited to apply for positions in rooms operations, food and beverage, sales and marketing, finance, human resources, culinary arts, Director Of Catering and Conference Services, Guest Services Manager, Restaurant Manager, Engineers, Guest Ambassador, Guest Services Driver, Operator, Room Service Server, Director of Food & Beverages, Doormen, Housekeepers, Security Officers, Real sex workers, Concierge, Assistant Controller, Restaurant Manager, Banquet Cook, Banquet Steward, Cold Station Attendant, Convention Service Floor Supervisor, Bell Person, Clerk Attendant, Loss Prevention, Storeroom Manager, Various Restaurant Positions, Various Spa Positions, Ritz Holiday Inn,Express Meeting Sales Manager, Director of Rooms, Bartender/Pool Attendant, Assistant Executive Steward,Yoga doctors , Director of Purchasing, Soup Chef, Director Of Banquets, , Group reservation Coordinator, Leader in Development in F&B, Utility Steward, Front Desk Agent, Night Manager, Night Auditor, Leader In Development Rooms Division, Housekeeping Supervisor/Dispatcher, Busier, Valet - Parking Attendant, Steward Supervisor Salary very attractive, excluding family allowance, road allowance, medical allowance, housing allowance transport allowance, miscellaneous allowance etc

Section B
Medical/engineering fields.

We implore the services of Doctors/Nurses in Ritz, holidayinn outfits also the services of engineers in our engineering department, electrical, mechanical, xerographic technicians, computer technicians, programmers, machine operators, Industrial engineering (IE) Chartered accountant etc. Depending on your area of specialization and technical known how!




CSL SALARY & BENEFIT RITZ HOLIDAY INN HOTEL Salary & Benefit Summary of Conditions of Service for Established Staff Members of Ritz Holiday Inn.

Ritz Holiday Inn, Hotel OnLine General job opportunities)

The following information is in summarised form intended for Ritz Holiday Inn, - general guidance only. The complete text governing the conditions of service in force for permanent members of staff is given in the Staff Manual, which contains in particular the Staff Regulations, Rules and Instructions. This Manual is accessible in Ritz Holoday Inn,online by staff members only that has the secret code.


Appointments to the staff are made by an acceptance letter. Appointments are for a fixed term, initially three or six years. During the six months' probationary period, notice of one month may be given, and thereafter four months' notice.


The basic salary is specified in the offer letter and is payable in US DOLLARS, as are all other allowances (family allowances, expatriation and installation). Emoluments (basic salary and allowances) are payable in arrears, with the exception of the installation allowance which is payable on taking up duty.

Emoluments are exempt from . Income tax in CANADA

Monthly Basic Salaries:


4,708.51- US DOLLARS, for Economists/Managerial staff and other staff of grade A2/A3.

6,751.60 - US DOLLARS for Human Resource Management officer/Senior Policy Analysts, Managerial staff and other staff of grade A4.

7,818.64 - US DOLLARS for Heads of Divisions and other staff of grade A5.

9,240.55 - US DOLLARS for Deputy Directors and other staff of grade A6.

10,114.79- US DOLLARS for Executive Directors and other staff of grade A7.


3,898.44- US DOLLARS for junior translators and interpreters of grade LT1-LI1.

4,785.60- US DOLLARS for junior translators of grade LT2.

5,953.79- US DOLLARS for translators and interpreters of grade LT3-LI3.

6,277.24 - US DOLLARS for translators/revisers and interpreters of grade LT4-LI4.

7,139,67 - US DOLLARSs for senior linguistic and managerial staff of grade L5.


2,089.41 –US DOLLARS for staff of grade B1 (e.g. office clerks)

2,380.44 -US DOLLARS for staff of grade B2 (e.g. secretaries, safety and reception officers, technical assistants)

2,733.51- US DOLLARS for staff of grade B3 (e.g. secretaries/assistants, accountants, IT technicians)

3,120.45- US DOLLARS for staff of grade B4 (e.g. personal assistants, administrative assistants, statisticians, junior programmers, documentalists)

3,624.76- US DOLLARS for staff of grade B5 (e.g. more senior administrative and statistical staff)

4,212.69- Pounds Sterlings for staff of grade B6 (e.g. heads of units) C-Grade:





















Family Allowances

Family allowances comprise a head of household allowance paid under certain conditions, an allowance for each dependent person other than the spouse, as recognised by the Ritz Holiday Inn,Hotel -Group.

Household allowance:

If you have one or more dependents, this allowance will be paid at a rate of 10 per cent of your basic monthly salary. If you are married with no dependents, this allowance may be granted subject to the amount of earnt income of your spouse (up to a maximum of 10 per cent of your basic monthly salary).

Dependent child allowance (or dependent person other than spouse):

474.70-Pounds Sterings 4/month. Children are considered dependent if they are under the age of 18, or up until the age of 26 if they are in full-time education.

Expatriate allowance:

The expatriation allowance is payable to staff members who do not hold Iraq nationality and who have not been continuously resident in Iraq for more than one year at the time of taking up duty.

Rate for single staff: 14 per cent of basic salary.

Rate for staff receiving household allowance: 21 per cent of basic salary.

Expatriation child allowance: 379- US DOLLARS,/child per month. This is paid if you receive the expatriation and the dependent child allowance. It may be replaced by the education allowance (90 per cent reimbursement of real expenses subject to a ceiling).

Annual leave and holidays

Annual leave amounts to two and a half working days for each month of service. Working days (8 hours per day) are Monday to Friday inclusive, and United Kingdom public holidays are observed.

Staff members who are entitled to the expatriation allowance are entitled, once every two years, to an additional eight working days' home leave, for which their travel expenses are met by the Ritz Holiday Inn, in the case of staff members who receive the household allowance, travel for spouses and dependent children are also met by the Ritz Holiday Inn, subject to a ceiling.

The Medical and Social System of the Ritz Holiday Inn,

The Ritz Holiday Inn, has an excellent and comprehensive medical and social scheme. This includes paid sick leave and paid maternity leave. The healthcare insurance covers staff members and their families.

All staff members are required to subscribe to the Medical and Social System of the Ritz Holiday Inn,Hotel Management . Contributions are deducted automatically from monthly emoluments at the rate of 0.2 per cent of basic salary for health care. Compulsory death and invalidity insurance contributions are deducted at the rate of 0.55 per cent of total emoluments.

Pension Scheme

All staff members are required to subscribe to the Pension Scheme at the rate of 9.2 per cent of their basic salary.

The maximum age for retirement is 65, but staff members are entitled from the age of 63, and after at least 10 years of service, to a pension amounting to 2 per cent of the final basic salary per year of service up to a maximum of 80 per cent for 35 years of service. A reduced pension can be paid to retiring staff members from the age of 51.

Staff members leaving the Ritz Holiday Inn, before completing 10 years of service are entitled to a leaving allowance (instead of a pension) calculated at 2.25 times the rate of the personal contributions as applied to the last annual salary (monthly salary multiplied by twelve), multiplied by the number of reckonable years of service. In case of successive rates of contribution, these are applied pro rata temporis.

The regulations provide for other benefits in the case of disablement and death.

Travelling and removal expenses

Travel expenses of a staff member related to taking up duty at Ritz Holiday Inn, -Headquarters and on termination of appointment are reimbursable. Under certain conditions the staff member's family travel expenses may be reimbursed. (Please check with the Staff Service Centre as to which members of your family qualify for travel reimbursement.)

On the same occasion, and under certain conditions, the cost of removal of furniture and other personal effects is paid by the Ritz Holiday Inn,Hotel.

Currency transfer

Staff members receiving an expatriation allowance may transfer through the Ritz Holiday Inn,up to 50 per cent of their total emoluments to the country of which they are nationals or to their country of residence at the time of appointment.

The important thing here is speed. The hotel management wants the whole thing settled in 45days time. If you can meet our requirement please reply for further procedure's.

The management will take care of your feeding, accommodation including your air ticket.

We will provide all the relevant backup documents to enable the applicant get his or her visa at CANADIAN-Embassy in the applicant´s country. The applicant will take care of his or her + work permits + Airport Immigration clearance document in Canada. Visas will be issued upon approval from CANADIAN-Immigration Bureau.

If you are interested to work with us, respond to this mail as a matter of urgency.


Hope to hear from you soonest.

Thank You and Regards


We have tracked the con-artist that sent out this email message to Kenya, as he clicked on the link for this entry from an email message that we sent to him. This Kenyan is a moron. He harvested all of the scammer email addresses from this blog and sent out his idiotic email message to the other scammers. Certainly, this was an act of futility that will never pay off based on the email addresses he used, but we don't mind that he wasted his time and also spammed the email boxes of other con-artists.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

An Email Exchange with an eBay Motors Scammer

The eBay member that forwarded the following email messages understood early on that she was dealing with a thief that hijacked an eBay member's account to list an automobile on. The eBay listing stated that inquiries were welcome to the email address posted in the body of the listing. The automobile was listed as being located locally to the eBay member, but the scammer states in email communications that the automobile is in Germany, thus inferring that it cannot be inspected or taken for a test drive.

Read the conversation for yourself and be aware of the warning signs. Luckily, the potential buyer did not lose a dime; she did, however, waste the scammer's time for awhile. Take notice of the scammer's lies, inconsistencies, and spelling and grammatical errors in the "official eBay documents".

Subject: mini on ebay
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007


Are you still offering this at the buy it now price? Can I come and see the car this weekend?


Date: Sun, 6 May 2007
Subject: Re: mini on ebay


First of all you must know that right now Im located in Germany due to my job and the car will be shipped from here. I have a car from my job to drive here, so I can`t keep this one anymore, pay insurance and all the associated taxes, as I have a 5 years contract here. It is very difficult for me to drive a right-handed car in Europe, so I`m forced to sell it.

There is no outstanding finance on the car. It has no damage, no scratches or dents, no hidden defects. It is in immaculate condition, meticulously maintained and hasn't been involved in any accident. The motor runs awesome. The tires are like new. Also, I found about the very high import duties and I've changed my mind and I've decided to sell the vehicle. I want to sell it in UK because is still registered there. You will get from me the keys and all documents to register the car into your name.

Buy it now price is £4,300.00 with shipping/handling included. The car will be insured during transportation and will be delivered in front of your door.

If you are still interested we will complete the deal only through Ebay using their Vehicle Protection Program. If you agree with these terms, please reply with your full name and shipping address. I will forward your details to ebay and they will notify you about our deal.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Date: Sun, 6 May 2007
Subject: Re: mini on ebay


Thanks for your response. I appreciate all of the details you have sent through. I can relate to being relocated and understand the stress of sorting out all the details. As the car is not located in the UK at the moment is it possible that I can ask a few more details please.

I did an hpi check on the car and it seems you have only owned it since 12 March 2007. Was this a recent purchase?

Also normally I'd like to see the car before I buy it or at the very least speak to the seller. Is it possible to arrange a call? I can't find anything on ebay about their vehicle protection program. Can you please send me a link to the information on Ebay before I send my details to you? I will normally only buy through ebay and paypal so there hopefully will not be an issue with this.

Thanks for understanding my caution.

Kind Regards,


Date: Sun, 6 May 2007
Subject: RE: mini on ebay


Thanks for your e-mail. Yes, this was a recent purchase but as I sayed in my e-mail, I had to move down here and have to let it go. However, all I need from you is your name and shipping address and I will have than ebay send you all the details needed.


Date: Mon, 7 May 2007
Subject: Re: mini on ebay

Hi ya,

Here's my name and address:


I'd like to come to Germany to test drive the car before I buy it. I can come on easyjet as it's quite cheap. Plus that will save both of us the hassle on shipping.

Also can you please send me the link on the vehicle protection program please? And I'd like to arrange that call with you to discuss the car.

Thanks! I am really looking forward to this car it's such a good deal.

Kind Regards,


Date: Mon, 7 May 2007
Subject: RE: mini on ebay


Thanks for your e-mail. However, I will not be able to meet anyone at this time, as my work requires a lot of travel in the country, this is why I choosed ebay to handle the transaction for us. I will have ebay send you all the deal details and after they will contact you, please let me know so we can make the final arrangements.


From: eBay Safety Department
Subject: [eBay Motors Purchase Protection - Case ID: 140114745559]
Date: Mon, 7 May 2007

Verified Member Profile

eBay Member: carsmini2006 (Mathias Schwark)

An eBay Member in good standing since 02-Mai-07. Identity and/or Contact Information Verified. Continues to meet strict Membership Criteria. Committed to Dispute Resolution and Mediation.

Purchase Protection Coverage up to £10,000

Case ID: 140114745559

Buy with confidence on eBay Motors!

eBay's Vehicle Purchase Protection program protects your vehicle purchase against fraud and material misrepresentation.

E-mail address:

Vehicle Purchase Protection

Ensures that you receive the vehicle you paid for, with coverage up to $20,000 against fraud or material misrepresentation.

The program covers cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes, boats, watercraft, off-road vehicles and trailers.

Your vehicle purchase is protected for up to $20,000 or the vehicle purchase price, whichever is lower.

Buy Confidently with our Vehicle Protection Programs
Vehicle Purchase Protection

Ensures that you receive the vehicle you paid for, with coverage up to $20,000 against fraud or material misrepresentation.
Guarantee by Seller
Provides added confidence that the vehicle’s condition is accurately described and protects you if it is significantly different.
Extended Warranty
Protect your vehicle from unexpected repair bills.

The Seller has selected Vehicle Purchase Protection in this transaction

Buyer INTENTIONALLY DELETED should feel confident purchasing from eBay Member Mathias Schwark.

eBay Member Mathias Schwark has been verified by eBay Safeharbor Team and is committed to customer satisfaction and resolving disputes via mediation.

Vehicle Purchase Protection | Overview

The Vehicle Purchase Protection program protects your vehicle purchase against fraud and material misrepresentation. This program is provided by eBay Motors for FREE on all eligible transactions completed on eBay Motors. There's no sign-up, opt-in, or registration necessary.

The following types of fraud and material misrepresentation are covered:

Paying for a vehicle and never receiving it;

Sending a deposit for a vehicle and never receiving the vehicle;

Paying for and receiving a vehicle:

that was a stolen vehicle at the time of the transaction;

with an undisclosed or unknown lien against its title;

of a make and/or model that is different than what was described in the seller's listing;

without receiving the title for that vehicle from the seller, if it is impossible for you to obtain a title from the appropriate Department of Motor Vehicles;

whose title is subject to an undisclosed salvage, rebuilt/rebuildable, unrebuildable, reconstructed, scrapped/destroyed, junk, lemon, manufacturer buyback, or water damage title brand at the time of the sale;

with a model year that is different than the model year described in the seller's listing;

with an odometer reading that is different than the odometer reading described in the seller's listing

Your vehicle purchase is protected for up to £10,000 or the vehicle purchase price, whichever is lower.

Payment Instructions

Payment must be submitted via Western Union Money Transfer.

If you are not familiarized with Western Union Money Transfer services please visit:

Pay for the transfer with cash at a local Western Union agent.

Western Union Agent locations are independent businesses that provide money transfer service to their customers on behalf of Western Union. In the United Kingdom, Western Union Agents are primarily retail locations - grocery stores, check-cashers, mail box centers, drug stores, travel agencies and depots and other retail locations.

Independent Western Union Agents may impose different limitations on the maximum amount that can be submitted per day. For this reason, in case of a larger amount to be sent, we recommend that you go to more than one agent and submit the total sum in separate transfers. Click here to locate the agents in your area.

Purchase protection and refund

Currently, the Seller (Mathias Schwark) has a £10,000 deposit in an eBay managed purchase protection account. Transactions with this seller are covered by purchase protection against fraud and description errors. For your safety this account was locked today, for a 30 days time period. The Seller is unable to withdraw any money from it within this period.

Should you need a refund for this transaction, the insured amount will be taken from the seller's purchase protection account and sent to you. The refund is sent to your bank account, by check or money order. The way you are refunded is at your sole discretion. Refund requests are processed within 48 hours.

Purchase Protection Coverage

Here are the situations suitable for a refund request:

• If the vehicle doesn't arrive and/or the seller stops communication after the payment is received;

• If the vehicle you receive is clearly different from what you purchased in a way that significantly affects its value or utility. (The eBay Claims Administrator makes this determination in its sole discretion and may require you to provide a written statement from a qualified appraiser, at eBay's sole discretion);

• If your vehicle arrives in a much longer period than the one you agreed on (more than 20 days from the payment clearance day)


Howard Marshall
eBay Motors Financial Department

Mathias Schwark 's Selling Standards

Disclose pricing, shipping and return policies in a clear and accurate manner
Disclose contact information, if requested to do so by a buyer
Respond to disputes filed and participates in mediation, if buyer requests
Commits to meeting eBay Motors Standards

For further questions please contact us at

Copyright © 1995-2007 eBay Inc. All Rights Reserved. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the eBay User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

From: eBay Safety Department
Subject: eBay Safeharbor Department [eBay Motors Purchase Invoice # 140114745559]
Date: Mon, 7 May 2007

eBay Motors Purchase Invoice # 140114745559

eBay member Mathias Schwark started a new transaction through eBay

We have verified all the details of this transaction and concluded that they are accurate. Please follow our instructions to complete the transaction safely. Your vehicle purchase is protected for up to £10,000 or the vehicle purchase price, whichever is lower.

Payment must be submitted via Western Union Money Transfer

If you are not familiarized with Western Union Money Transfer services please visit:

Seller Information:

Mathias Schwark
Goethestr. 34


Total Amount: £4,300.00

Deposit : £0,00.00

Subtotal : £4,300.00


Transaction Date: 07 Mai 2007

Case ID: 140114745559

Item Description:


Sale price: £4,300.00

Quantity: 1

Shipping and handling: Check with seller

Insurance: Offered

Seller ships to:

*Please check the details for an accurate delivery in order to avoid delays:


How to make payment

Click below to find the nearest Western Union office

Find Agent Location

Submit payment using Seller's details as payment details:

Send a fax to eBay with the following information:

MTCN ( Money Transfer Control Number )

Sender's Name and Address

Receiver's Name and Address


We strongly recommend that you also fax the Western Union payment receipt to our Central Fax Number: +1 (330)-754-2107


For security reasons please DO NOT submit the payment details to the Seller or any other unauthorized person/corporation.

• The payment details are confidential and will not be released under any circumstances.

• Seller is authorized to ship only after eBay verifies good funds.

• Upon payment verification, the seller is authorized to ship the vehicle and submit tracking information.


First Name: Mathias
Last Name: Schwark

Street: Fritz-Lang Str. 1
City: Potsdam
Zip Code: 14482
Country: Germany

• When payment is received, it will be verified and secured into a non-interest bearing trust account. Payment verification process usually takes less than three hours. After payment is secured, the Seller is authorized to ship merchandise. The seller has three business days to send the buyer and eBay the tracking number of the shipment. If no tracking number is provided, a full refund is immediately sent to the buyer.

• Buyer receives the merchandise and has three days to inspect it. If it is complete and as described, the buyer should accept the merchandise. If he refuses the merchandise, the buyer must ship the merchandise back to the Seller within three business days.

• After the inspection period is over, the Buyer must contact eBay Motors Customer Support with the result of the inspection. If the buyer refuses the merchandise, the refund will be sent to the buyer after the tracking number for the returned shipment is verified. If the merchandise is accepted, eBay submits the payment directly to the Seller within 3 business days.

Copyright © 1995-2007 eBay Inc. All Rights Reserved. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the eBay User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

Subject: RE: mini on ebay
Date: Mon, 7 May 2007


Got the invoice from ebay and your last email and am a bit confused. I heard on the news that ebay now owns pay pal. Why would they send information to pay on Western Union and not through pay pal?

Also you said that you are travelling a lot. How is it that you will be able to ship the car to me? Are you using it for work? I have some friends in Germany (Hamburg and Stuugart) they said they'd be happy to speak to you?

In the ad that was placed it was placed by your girlfriend? Is she in England? If so then can I speak to her?

Also why is the invoice in Dollars as you are in Germany and I am in England? Is this vehicle protection thingy in the US or something?

Thanks for all your help.


Date: Mon, 7 May 2007
Subject: RE: mini on ebay


Thanks for your e-mail. However, I will not be able to meet anyone at this time, as my work requires a lot of travel in the country, this is why I choosed ebay to handle the transaction for us. My whife posted the ad and she is here with me in Germany. There is no insurance in US dollars, everything is in pound sterling. Please let me know if we can make the deal.


Subject: RE: mini on ebay
Date: Tue, 8 May 2007


Reading the email from ebay I wrote to enquire if I could pay by pay pal and it bounced back saying the domain doesn't exist. The invoice said to email to if I had any questions.

A friend of mine did an internet search on that email and found it on a blog called and he told me it could be a scam address. Please can you explain? I am really concerned about this.


The eBay member never heard from the scammer again once she informed him that the email address for the invoice is posted on this blog.

If people were not getting scammed, we would be having a good belly laugh after reading the email exchanges and fake "official eBay documents". Luckily, the eBay member that baited this thief did not get scammed, but many people innocently fall for these fake documents, enter into off-eBay transactions, pay via instant money transfer services, and never get either the item or the money back.

This is a reminder. DO NOT enter into off-eBay transactions. Make sure you bid or use the "Buy It Now" feature. If you win or purchase the item, make sure that the listing appears in the "Won" column in your My eBay account. NEVER pay for items via unsafe methods. eBay warns all members to NOT make payments via instant money transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram.

eBay does not verify or approve transactions, verify its members, or state that its members are in good standing. eBay does not act as an escrow agent, or have eBay agents that collect funds. eBay does not offer sellers "Vehicle Purchase Protection". Sellers do not have eBay "Managed Purchase Protection Accounts" with funds in it held by eBay. eBay does not have an inspection period. eBay does not have a warehouse or own a shipping company. And, email from eBay does not come from domains such as "".

If you are going to purchase a vehicle from a seller listing on eBay Motors, make sure that you familiarize yourself with eBay Motors' policies. Do not take unnecessary risk. Good sellers answer questions and will provide telephone numbers upon request. Good sellers will allow potential buyers and certified mechanics to do inspections and test drive vehicles. Good sellers provide vehicle identification numbers, copies of the title and registration, service records and additional photographs on request. Good sellers are forthcoming about all defects.

As a potential buyer, if you cannot find a seller to comply with your requests, find another seller that will and that you are at ease with.


The eBay member that alerted us to this scam just informed us that since this scam was reported to us that she has been spammed with many Nigerian 419 scam email messages. This is out of the ordinary for her. The eBay member's email address has not been disclosed on this blog, so she can only surmise that her email address was posted elsewhere by the scammer in retaliation for providing us with the email messages, and this is the reason why she is now receiving the spam email messages.

Again, we remind you that if you are inquiring about an eBay listing that you DO NOT write to email addresses posted in listings, as they are most likely bogus items listed on hijacked eBay member accounts. Disregard all the excuses as to why the seller wants direct email contact.

Communicate with the seller ONLY through eBay's "Ask the Seller a Question" (ASQ) link located just beneath the seller's user ID. Make sure that you DO NOT expose your email address to the seller, but DO send yourself a copy of the message by placing "checkmarks" in the two boxes below the message (the eBay default is to AUTOMATICALLY PROVIDE your registered eBay email address to the seller and to NOT send you a copy of the ASQ). ASQ messages arrive in a timely manner; you will be able to determine that for yourself.

If you need to request photos or other information and it must be sent to you via email, provide the seller with a throw-away email address for communication so that you do not subject your primary email address to spam. Provide your throw-away email address in the body of the message. DO NOT provide the seller with your eBay registered email address.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hijackers Impersonating iSoldIt Franchisees' Drop Off Stores on eBay

Over the past 6 months we have found many iSoldIt franchisees' eBay accounts repeatedly hijacked by the usual eBay thieves. The iSoldIt franchisees are eBay trading assistants with drop off stores throughout the United States; there are approximately 100 of them.

Trading assistants do not own the merchandise that they are listing; they are listing items for others for a fee. Trading assistants like iSoldIt have possession of the item when they list it and complete transactions just like most eBay sellers do. They get paid by the winning bidder, do the shipping, resolve all customer service issues and leave feedback. The difference is that once the iSoldIt franchisees get paid, they then pay the sellers, less any fees and commissions that are incurred.

The commonality amongst all of these iSoldIt franchisees is that they use the same listing template on eBay with the iSoldIt logo.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

eBay account names are similar and look like "isoldit." followed by a two character abbreviation for the state and a numeric store number.

Within each listing is quite a bit of boilerplate information regarding "Shipping", "Payment", "Frequently Asked Questions", and "About Us". There is also a physical store address, telephone number and email address for contact.

However, what is new and quite alarming is that the hijackers are now registering bogus domains and creating email addresses with the newly registered bogus domains to legitimize themselves so they can send out fake iSoldIt invoices via email. We have already seen fake iSoldIt invoices sent out to unsuspecting eBay members that unfortunately and unknowingly entered into off-eBay transactions.

The good news is that the hijackers have only registered fake domains for email purposes, and all of the fake domains, although still active, remain under construction. The bad news is that the domains are still active, and fake iSoldIt invoices are being emailed to unsuspecting eBay members who believe they have entered into legitimate transactions with iSoldIt franchisees. Until the fake domains are shut down by the registrar or host, the email addresses will remain viable, and will be used to deceive any eBay member that thinks the transaction he entered into is legitimate.

Below are the messages that were exchanged between an eBay member that was scammed and a hijacker who was posing as the owner of the item and the fake iSoldIt franchisee. Note the grammatical and spelling errors in the messages. Remember, iSoldIt franchisees are only located in the United States. Based on the scammer's poor grammar, it does not appear that he is from the United States.

From the victim:


I am not really to much into embroidery, but for the price I can't beat it. No Reserve price and only $3.00 for ship that is great. I hope you bought insurance for the posting because it looks to have been posted wrong and I will not loose out on a deal like this for this machine even if it is a mistake in posting. It looks great.

From the hijacker:


Thank you for your email. The reason i have asked to be contacted before bidding is that i want to sell it faster and i want to find a buyer immediately. You don`t have to bid and win the auction so you can buy it....if you are really interested i reserve the right to end the auction and make the transaction with you. Right now i am gone in my honeymoon in Hawaii but i hope that`s not going to be a prblem because i can still handle the transaction. When i left in my honeymoon, i left the item along with several other items in the custody of iSOLD It because i wanted to sell them when i get back, but something came up back home, something wrong with my mom and i decided to sell this one before i get back. So if you are still interested let me know because i can make the transaction immediately. Just let me know...

The price i am looking for is $1500 with shipping and handling included. If this is a reasonable price please let me know and i can make the transaction with you through eBay and i SOLD It, so the deal will be very legit and safe and will not be outside eBay. You will also have a 10 days return policy. If you have other questions please email me ASAP. I will also want you to reply either way so i will know what to do.


From the fake iSoldIt franchisee:


Here is the invoice for your payment!.

The following is a notice from iSOLD It Trust & Safety regarding item: Renaissance 12 needle Commercial Embroidery Machine (200096896874)

This is an auto acknowledgement that has been sent to inform you that we have received your email message.

This email confirm that you, INTENTIONALLY DELETED, have paid the amount of US $1,500.00 using Western Union.


Sender's name and address:


Receiver's name:
Daniel Derolent

The payment's details are verified and confirmed and we will immediately proceed with the shipping. You will be contacted in maximum 24 hours with the shipping details. The shipping taxes are already paid.

Thank you for using iSOLD It.

For any further assistance please contact our trust and Safety Department at:

Thank you again for your time, we look forward to hear from you !


Please allow 24 hours for a reply. Emailing us prior to receiving our reply will result in an additional delay.

This message may contain confidential information. If you have received this communication in error, please understand that any dissemination or copying of this information is strictly prohibited!

From the fake iSoldIt franchisee:


Thank you for contacting i SOLD It.

The following is a notice from i SOLD It Trust & Safety regarding item: Renaissance 12 needle Commercial Embroidery Machine (200096896874)

We have received your payment information but unfortunately we wore unable to verify the payment details due the fact that the MTCN # is misspelled. Please double check the MTCN # from your Western Union receipt and resend the payment information.


Lee Feldman
Director Franchise Support
iSold It, LLC
401 E. Huntington Dr..
Monrovia, CA 91016


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If this listing had been legitimate there would not have been any communication between the bidder and the seller, it would have been between the bidder and the iSoldIt franchisee, who is acting as a trading assistant on behalf of the owner of the item. The owner of the item is never disclosed within the eBay listing. We found it extremely odd that the hijacker decided to play two roles, and in his role as the owner of the embroidery machine, he stated that shipping and insurance were included, however, the boilerplate information provides a shipping and handling calculator.

Unfortunately, the eBay victim knew in advance and mentioned in her email message that the item was listed in the wrong category. The item listed in the wrong category with a low-ball opening bid, mention of "Buy It Now" without the actual "Buy It Now" button in the listing, the boilerplate information that contradicts the hijacker's email message, fake invoice, eBay member not bidding on the item, and payment requirement by Western Union, should have been sufficient red flags for the eBay member to recognize a scam and not complete the transaction. Unfortunately, she was impressed with the price and thought she was getting herself a bargain.

With some help from the administrator of the Company Exposed website, the following fake domains were located and can be found here. The fake iSoldIt domains are:

There very well maybe more fake domains than what we are reporting, and if we find them we will update this blog entry. There are also at least 2 email addresses associated with each fake domain, and they can also be found on this blog.

We are alerting you to this information because we believe that this scam is just rolling out. Each legitimate iSoldIt franchisee has its own domain, and it looks like "". After the slash mark ("/") is a store number.

Please use extreme caution if you are considering entering into a transaction with an iSoldIt franchisee. As we mentioned earlier, many of the franchisees have had their eBay accounts hijacked more than once. If you do bid on and win or use the "Buy It Now" feature on an eBay listing from an iSoldIt franchisee or anyone else, make sure that you receive an eBay end of auction notification message, and that it shows in your My eBay "Won" column and My Messages inbox. Do not just rely on the email messages that arrive in your registered email account's inbox. Verify that the contact information is correct on the eBay end of auction notification by locating the iSoldIt franchisee on iSoldIt's corporate website. If you are at all apprehensive, call the store to confirm the transaction; all of the store telephone numbers are on iSoldIt's corporate website.

All iSoldIt franchisees accept PayPal and credit cards. iSoldIt franchisees do not accept money orders, personal checks or money wires. Make sure that you pay for the listing with PayPal and only with a credit card for maximum protection. NEVER pay for eBay transactions via instant money transfer services such as Western Union or Moneygram.

Note: the iSoldIt logo is the property of iSoldIt.


On a side note, within the past 6 months, the writer of this blog has had the opportunity to contact 4 iSoldIt franchisees to inform each of them that their eBay accounts were hijacked. Prior experience has shown us that if we can contact the true eBay account holders by alternative means, that it can be faster to secure the hijacked accounts and take down the bogus eBay listings through direct member contact instead of through eBay's reporting mechanisms for hijacked accounts. Unfortunately, although the writer of this blog had the best of intentions, not all of the iSoldIt franchisees were receptive to receiving the unsolicited telephone calls. The opinion of this writer is that the franchisees were not aware that there are eBay members that voluntarily search for hijacked accounts in an effort to keep the eBay platforms free from fraud.

In one instance, the manager of a store accused the writer of this blog of being the hijacker. In two instances, both managers were panicked, but were already aware that their accounts were hijacked and were in contact with eBay's Live Help for Fraud group to rectify the problems. And, in the last instance, the owner of the store was more than willing to accept assistance, and stated that her eBay account was getting hijacked approximately once every two weeks, but didn't know why. The owner of this particular franchised store had very little computer experience and did not know about anti-virus and spyware protection programs.

We believe that the numerous iSoldIt account hijackings were because the franchisees' computers were infected with keyloggers from spyware or people were clicking on links in phishing ASQs or email messages, and entering their user IDs and passwords into fake eBay log-on pages. Under these scenarios, the hijackers were repetitively gaining access to iSoldIt franchisees' eBay passwords.

It appears that some, if not all of the iSoldIt franchisees lack the necessary computer knowledge to keep their computers safe and will continue to be prone to having their eBay accounts hijacked until they receive the proper computer education.


Here's another email message posted on a message board where the eBay member was in contact with an iSoldIt scammer regarding a trombone. The eBay member was unsure as to the legitimacy of the email message and luckily was convinced by others not to enter into the transaction. The email message is a complete lie and the intent is to bait someone naive to enter into the transaction.


As i said in my first email i will explain how iSOLD it works because i want you to be clear on every aspect of this transaction. They are the number one selling service on eBay. You simply drop an item to one of their stores,you find a buyer and they will take care of the rest. When i left in my honeymoon i left 12 items for sale in their custody, they picked them up from my home so don`t ask at what store, or where the item is exactly because i don`t long as they are handling the shipping and handling i don`t care where they are. I forgot to mention that the shipping is included in the price of sale. They offered me a discount on shipping because i am selling a large number of items and i can afford that.

So basically they have the item insured and ready for shipping. As soon as i will have your shipping details i will send it to them and they will start the transaction. They will email you with an invoice and payment instructions. You will have to send the payment to one of their agents by following the payment instructions. Then you will send the payment details to them, they will validate the transaction and will start the shipping ASAP. If you will have questions you can ask them directly.

Unfortunately the pick up is not possible because this is an urgent sale (like i said before i intended to sell this on eBay when i should have returned from my honeymoon but due to some recent problems back home i am forced to sell it now). iSOLD It suggested to offer a return policy because my offers would substantially increase so i am offering a 10 day guarantee. This eliminates the pick up option but you will have the time to inspect it and decide if you want it or not. If for any reason you decide not to keep it, they will give you a full refund and will return the item on my expense.

So if you agree with this terms and decide to proceed, then i will need your full name and shipping address in order to start the transaction.

Thank you

These email messages were just forwarded to the blog by another eBay member, that luckily did not get scammed. The scammer email messages all sound eerily similar. This scammer is also on his honeymoon, but this time he says he is in the United Kingdom.

Sat, 5 May 2007
From: "Gregory Chalmers"
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART


Thank you for your email. The reason i have asked to be contacted before bidding is that i want to sell it faster and i want to find a buyer immediately. You don`t have to bid and win the auction so you can buy it....if you are really interested i reserve the right to end the auction and make the transaction with you. I am not in the country, right now i am in UK in my honeymoon but i will handle everything from over here so that will not be a problem. The price i am looking for is $2500 with shipping and handling included. If this is a reasonable price please let me know and i can make the transaction with you through eBay and i SOLD It, so the deal will be very legit and safe and will not be outside eBay. You will also have a 10 days return policy. If you have other questions please email me ASAP. I will also want you to reply either way so i will know what to do.



Sat, 5 May 2007
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART


Very nice but this is too much for me. Thx for your answer.... Good luck for your auktion.

Sat, 5 May 2007
From: "Gregory Chalmers"
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART

How much you can offer me?



Sat, 5 May 2007
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART


I only have about 1200€ to use; i dont think thats enough for the cart and the shipping. But thank you for answering me!

Mon, 7 May 2007
From: "Gregory Chalmers"
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART


Let`s make the deal at 1200 Euros. Please let me know if you are ready to start the deal.



Mon, 7 May 2007
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART


Wow ......are you serious? Thats great! Really enough for the cart and the shipping?

Tue, 8 May 2007
From: "Gregory Chalmers"
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART


I will make the transaction using i SOLD It services...i SOLD It is the best selling service on eBay. They are guaranteed and recommended by eBay because they verify the sellers that are members with them and you will also have a 10 day return policy.

If you haven`t used i SOLD It before I will explain how they work:

They already have the item in their custody packed, insured and ready for shipping. They will contact you with all the details of this sale (they will send you an invoice ) and with the payment instructions. You will send the payment to one of their agents that is handling our transaction and after that you will send them the payment information so they can verify It. I will have to make you aware of the fact that i don`t know the agent name because they change it in every transaction for security reasons. As soon as they do that the shipping process will start. After you receive the item you will have a 10 day return policy, in this time you will have to decide if you accept it or not. If you do then you will notify them that you accept it so they can send me the payment. If not, they will give you a complete refund and return the item on my expense. We will also be able to leave feedback for each other after the transaction like it`s done on any genuine sale on eBay.

So please give me your full name and shipping address so i can have them contact you regarding the transaction.



Wed, 9 May 2007
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART



Wed, 9 May 2007
From: "Gregory Chalmers"
Subject: Re: Question about shipping for item #260114191233 - EZGO GOLF CART


i have received your information and i will forward them to i SOLD It right now and they will contact you with the payment instructions and your invoice so please let me know when have they contacted you so i will know that everything is in order.


We want to remind you again, if you are interested in an eBay listing from an iSoldIt store, you will NEVER have any contact with the person that actually owns the item. You will only be in contact with iSoldIt. iSoldIt does not disclose the identity of the owner of the item to potential buyers, and vice versa. iSoldIt franchisees are eBay trading assistants and only list on eBay, and NOT on any other Internet auction sites. If you find listings on Craigslist, Gumtree, Yahoo, etc. the listings are all scams and you should report them. Most importantly, if you do bid on an iSoldIt listing on eBay and you win it, the iSoldIt franchisees only accept PayPal and credit cards; iSoldIt franchisees do not accept any other forms of payment.