Ebay Scams and How to Avoid Them

ebay scams

ebay scams

I have been buying and selling items on eBay for over 13 years and in the process have fallen victim to or narrowly avoided quite a few scams.  Here are some of the most prevalent eBay scams as well as some tips on how to avoid them.

Counterfeit Merchandise

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One of the biggest eBay scams is selling counterfeit merchandise.  Art and I used to run a professional golf shop and once a customer brought in a Taylormade driver he had bought on eBay.  He wanted Art to change out the shaft because it was really whippy.  Art took one look at the club and saw that it was counterfeit.  The club head was the wrong shape, the graphics were obviously faked and the shaft was unknown.  Our customer had paid $100 (less than 1/3 the price of a new club) for what was essentially useless.

A good way to avoid this scam is to remember this one caveat “If the price looks to good to be true, it probably is.”  If a “brand-new” top-of-the-line whatever is selling for pennies compared to others, it is probably a fake.  Also, look at the photos the seller has posted.  If they are stock photos of the merchandise, then email them asking for more detailed photos if you are still interested.

Something You Don’t Need

The original Xbox 360 did not come with built-in wireless, but required a separate wireless adapter that was only manufactured by Microsoft. Tooling around on eBay one day looking for used ones, Bud came across a seller who promised that his product was a workaround for the adapter.  Reading all the specs, it looked good so we went ahead and paid the money.  What arrived was a piece of circuitry and directions that would not work with Bud’s Xbox 360 (I wish I had taken a picture at the time so you could see how ridiculous this was).  We filed a complaint with eBay and also sent the seller an email and were lucky enough to get our money back, but most are not so lucky.

The best way to avoid this is to not trust anyone you don’t know with a “workaround” or “hack” or whatever they are selling.


PhishingIf you receive an email from eBay telling you that something important is happening with your account, BEWARE!!  Often this is an email from a scammer, who is trying to steal your user name and password.

Avoid this scam by only logging in to eBay by typing http://www.ebay.com directly into your browser.  If you really have a problem with your account, there will be more information in the internal “messages” portion of your account.

Fraudulent Payment Notification

Similar to phishing, you will receive a notification from Paypal or eBay saying that you have received a payment to your account.  This is either an attempt to steal your information, or an attempt buy a buyer to receive your item without actually getting payment.

Again, only sign in via the url or your bookmarks, never by clicking a link in an email.  If the buyer has actually paid, it will be listed in your account.

Stolen Merchandise

stolen?It can be a lot harder to tell if merchandise you purchase on eBay is stolen.  Just remember that if it is stolen, the police can confiscate it from you (depending on your jurisdiction) and you will have a hard (if not impossible) time getting your money back from the seller (who is now in prison or in hiding).

Remember ,”if the price is too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.”  Also, check the seller’s feedback and make sure they are not just an “overnight” success with thousands of positive feedbacks acquired in just a couple of months.  Look for sellers who have been around for awhile.  Another good reminder is to only pay via Paypal or, if a big ticket item, C.O.D.  Do not pay through Western Union or other third-party websites suggested by the seller.  These do not have the buyer protection that Paypal offers.

Hopefully these tips will help you avoid some of the worst eBay scams, but if not, remember that eBay has a resolution center where you can bring most of the problems you have.  They are usually fairly quick (within 2 weeks) to rule and if the ruling is in your favor, you will hopefully get your money back.



Cooking Healthy Food For The Heart

cooking healthy food for the heartI’m sure we all know that what we feed our families on a daily basis affects their health. Since the family eats at home the majority of the time compared to eating at restaurants, we all need to be extra conscious of what we serve on the table. At our house, Art and I both have high blood pressure and Art has borderline high cholesterol, so I try to be on the lookout for ways to lighten up meals.

Making Meals Healthier for the Heart

* Less Fat- You can cut down on the fat through cooking methods like boiling, broiling, steaming, roasting, baking, grilling and microwaving food instead the usual frying. If you need to fry, use non-stick pans and a cooking spray instead of frying oil. Fats can really add flavor to the food, so what do you do if it is lessened? Opt for using seasonings and spices instead. Low sodium vegetable broth is great for steamed vegetables and broiled fish. Lemon pepper is great for chicken seasoning. Onion and garlic can boost the flavor of meat and vegetables.

* Lean Cuts- You cannot avoid meat, pork and poultry due to its protein but you can keep the cholesterol down by choosing leaner cuts. With beef, choose cuts like round, flank, sirloin, tenderloin, rib, chunk, rump roast, T-bone, porterhouse and cubed. In poultry, white breast meat is low in fat. In pork, the leaner types are pork loin, center loin chops, Canadian bacon and ham.

* Low Dairy Fat- Dairy should be part of your meals because of the calcium. However, dairy can be pretty fatty. Instead of drinking full-cream milk, opt for fat-free skim milk or low-fat buttermilk. For yogurts, buy the low fat or fat-free ones. For cheese, parmesan and cottage cheese are lower in fat than some others.

* Find Substitutes- Fatty food is definitely tastier but you can still make your food delicious by using substitutes. For instance, instead of using regular salad dressings, you can go for low-fat mayonnaise and low-fat salad dressing. Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for cooking.

*Low Sodium – Lower sodium content is another important component of healthy heart cooking.  Many of the suggestions offered in the less fat section also apply here.  In addition, make sure to check the ingredients on the seasoning blends you buy as many of them contain added salt.

By knowing what to cook for your family, you can help protect them from heart disease . In addition, if they learn to eat healthy at home, it will be easier to continue a healthy lifestyle from then on.