eBay has always been a breeding ground for scams and counterfeits. In most cases, the person most at risk is the buyer. However, eBay sellers are not safe either. In recent weeks, eBay sellers have been hit with the old eBay gift card scam and there is little they can do about it.
Dealing with gift cards on eBay is a bad idea for buyers and sellers. For a buyer, you may receive a worthless card or an undervalued card. As for the seller, the risks are more grotesque. Work with the wrong buyer and you may lose the gift card and your money.
How Does The eBay Gift Card Scam Work?
The eBay gift card scam is simple but effective. eBay sellers will list a gift card on the eBay market. The buyer will purchase the item and pay for it. Then, they’ll send the seller a message encouraging them to send the gift card information using eBay’s messaging system.
This likely means that the buyer is from outside of the United States. Once you’ve sent the gift card information to the buyer, they’ll use the remaining balance and complain to eBay that you sold an item that was “Not as described”.
When this happens, the seller is likely out of luck. The gift card’s balance was drained and eBay will generally side with the buyer. So, the eBay seller will lose everything. If not, the buyer will complain to their credit or debit card company and file a chargeback. Then, the seller will lose their money regardless.
Add On Gift Card Scam
In some cases, the buyer will buy different items before contacting the seller and asking them to buy an eBay gift card and include it in the package. They’ll promise to repay the seller by paying for the gift card and adding extra money to cover the shipping costs.
They’ll sometimes claim the items are a gift for someone else and they’re out of the area so they can’t deliver a gift any other way. For an eBay seller, it may sound like a good idea. They’ll receive the $100 back and they’ll make extra from the shipping. The scammer may offer even more money for gas or just for making matters more complicated.
Unfortunately, there is a good chance that this is a scam and the seller will end up empty-handed.
Craigslist eBay Gift Card Scam
There is another more recent scam involving Craigslist and eBay. This time, it is the buyer who is left abused. When purchasing something you’ve found on Craiglist, you may be asked to buy gift cards for eBay or another retailer instead of paying in cash. The seller will request the card numbers via email.
Craiglist offers no protection for buyers or sellers. So, paying for items listed on Craigslist with gift cards is a surefire way to lose your money. You won’t receive the item and the gift card balance will disappear quickly.
Avoiding The eBay Gift Card Scam
Ultimately, honest eBay buyers and sellers have to be very careful when dealing with gift cards. The best solution to avoid getting ripped off is to avoid dealing with gift cards completely. On eBay, buying or selling gift and pre-paid cards will greatly increase your risks of getting into hot water.
It is also vital to understand that PayPal’s Buyer Protection does not cover gift cards or pre-paid cards. A scammer can overstep this obstacle by filing a chargeback with their credit card company. That will force eBay and PayPal to take the money from the seller and give it back to the buyer.
So, it is a lose-lose situation for honest eBay users. Once your money is gone, there is little you can do to get it back. Remember to join us in the NayZayerz forums so you can find out more about bad eBay sellers.