The practice of fraudulent 2nd chance e-bay offers continues to increase each year. Sales on-line are becoming a regular part of many peoples buying habits and e-bay is a major source for on-line auctions. The majority of sales go smoothly and both the seller and buyer are content. But criminals take advantage of a bidder’s desire to win an auction bid.
The fraud works like this. You bid on an item but when the bidding stops you did not get the high bid. A week or two may go by then a criminal sends you an e-mail through e-bay stating you have a second chance offer on the item you bid on because the high bidder could not complete the transaction. The e-mail contains a link to the original e-bay page containing the item you had bid on. You see the real listing of the item and that it was sold for the high bid, but you’ve just been informed it never took place. You respond that you will purchase the item for your original bid, usually a little less than the highest bid.
The criminal then sends you an official looking e-bay security page that promises theft protection and insurance. You may be asked to give a deposit. Everything looks great, but it’s not. You are then instructed how to send the money via wire transfer (Western Union, Money Gram, etc). You send the money and list the address given by the criminal, usually something within the U.S. What you may not know, is that once you e-mail back the wire transfer code to the criminal the money can be picked up almost anywhere in the world. To collect the money official ID’s are often not required or they are fake.
If you decide to participate in on-line auctions, especially 2nd chance e-bay offers be careful. You may think that you are protected by e-bay but you will be informed that you acted outside of e-bay, which you did, but you just didn’t know it. Take the time to do some research. Contact the original seller from the information listed on the official e-bay auction page, not from information given to you via e-mail. Make sure you’re being asked to send money to the same state that is listed by the original seller. Contact e-bay directly from their website to see if the offer is legitimate.
If you feel that you have been the victim of a fraud involving a wire transfer contact your local law enforcement immediately. The chance of recovering money that has been wire transferred is slim becuase it's meant to be a guarantee of payment just like cash. But the sooner law enforcement can look into the matter the better the chance of seizing the money if the fraud can be verified.
Remember, buyer beware!