back to article Ukrainian eBay scam turns Down Syndrome man into cash machine

In late September, Mark Hartman received an email from eBay's Trust and Safety department informing him that his bid on a high-end road bike had been canceled because the auction was suspected to be fraudulent. There was only one problem: He had already mailed a cashiers check for for more than $1,500 to a man 2,300 miles away …


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Re: Please read other people's posts...

Greg said: 'eBay is NOT making money out of scammers.'

Yes they are - maybe not from scam sellers, but certainly out of scam buyers. If you've been the victim of fraud when selling something on eBay, they couldn't care less - they'll still charge you the same.

As I keep saying - my personal opinion, don't use eBay or PayPal. Ever.


Forum Style

Having followed a lot of Ebay scam stuff, the thing that really occurs to me is that it needs a forum style element so you can comment on auctions. This works very well for the various 'For Sale' forums I frequent (where items of well over £1000 regularly change hands) and nobody scams anyone.

Changing Ebay into a community which can police itself but resort to mods would help hugely in preventing the better known but still very widespread scams.


I used to be an ebay regular...

until about 2 years ago when i relised how dodgy it was, 6 months after I stopped using it someone hacked my account, I hacked it back and deleted all my info and never used ebay again.

Their security is crap, the password I use can't be bruteforced, it was obviously a scripted hack and with ebay giving people free access to stick as much code as they like on their auction pages its only a matter of time until people stumble on it and get nailed by CSS/Cookie stealing.


A real phishingly good example of the recruiting process...

This is an actual email I received, including headers and sans my identifying information. Odd characters were the hidden links.

potential schmuck-path: <>

X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.2.3 (2007-08-08) on

X-Spam-Level: ****

X-Spam-Status: No, score=4.8 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_50,DATE_IN_PAST_03_06,



MISSING_MIMEOLE autolearn=no version=3.2.3

Received: from ([])


(Sun Java System Messaging Server 6.2-6.01 (built Apr 3 2006))

with ESMTP id <> for; Fri, 09 Nov 2007 12:38:13 -0500 (EST)

Received: from ([])


(Sun Java System Messaging Server 6.2-6.01 (built Apr 3 2006))

with ESMTP id <> for (ORCPT; Fri,

09 Nov 2007 12:38:13 -0500 (EST)

Received: from (HELO

([]) by with ESMTP; Fri,

09 Nov 2007 12:38:11 -0500

Received: from ([])

by with SMTP; Fri, 09 Nov 2007 12:38:12 -0500

Received: (qmail 36075 invoked from network); Fri, 09 Nov 2007 17:38:11 +0000

Received: from unknown (HELO localhost)

( with login)

by with SMTP; Fri, 09 Nov 2007 17:38:11 +0000

Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2007 12:34:54 +0000

From: Madalyn Snider <>

Subject: have the new job for You, Potential Schmuck

To: Potential Schmuck <> [Azle]


Message-id: <>

MIME-version: 1.0

X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1437

Content-type: multipart/mixed;


X-Priority: 3 (Normal)

X-MSMail-priority: Normal

Sun-Java-System-SMTP-Warning: Lines longer than SMTP allows found and wrapped.

X-IronPort-AV: E=Sophos;i="4.21,396,1188792000"; d="scan'208,217";a="129153095"



Original-recipient: rfc822;

X-Bogosity: Unsure, tests=bogofilter, spamicity=0.604383, version=1.1.5


Status: R

X-Status: NC




Potential Schmuck: Job offer

We have found your resume at and would like to suggest you a "Financial agent" Njli NjM4

vacancy. We have studied your resume and are happy to inform you that your skills ZTkx MT

completely meet our requirements for this position.

Njl iNj

This is a part-time position. Your job will be to transfer money between our clients.

Your job will consist in the following:

Receive the check by mail


Cash the check within a business day, excluding days off


8% of the amount are left for yourself as a commission. You take it immediately


The rest of the sum is to be sent via western union to us to the address which will be OW E0OW

mentioned in the e-mail. Transaction fees shall be paid out of the same sum.


Your schedule will be flexible. You will need to spend on average 1-2 hours per day, Monday-Friday.

Nj liN

This is a work-at-home position. All communication will be online.

Nj liN

This job will allow you to:

Nj liNj

- Develop high selfrespect and esteem. MGFk ZTU0

- Get financial independence working only 3-5 hours per day; MGF kZTU

- Efficiently work at home; MG Fk

General requirements:

Nj li

- Ability to create good administrative reporting; YjRj ZTB

- Willingness to take the responsibility to set up and achieve goals; Yj RjZT

- Prior customer service experience is a good benefit; YmY zN

- Internet and e-mail skills; Experience in online work;


During the trial period you will be paid $1,500 per month. You will also be keeping 8 percent commission

Nj liNj

from every check received from our customer. With the current ammount of clients your average

YjYz Nz

income will be about up to $2,000 USD per month. After the trial period your base salary will go up to


$2,250 USD per month, plus 8 percent commission.After the trial period you may ask for additional hours or

Nj liNj

proceed full-time.OWJ mO

If you are interested in this position, and would like to know more, please e-mail me


We will contact you within 2 days


@kevin elliott

"The article's author knows this and has seen the correspondence, but has conveniently left out ebay's side - I wonder why."

That would be because Ebay never responds to queries. If their automated system picks something up and fires off an email, great - but getting the customer service to even respond to repeated requests, and oftentimes even getting the PR to say something other than no comment, is impossible.


@ Greg

Okay, no need to fly off the handle! I wasn't suggesting that eBay intentionally encouraged criminal activity.

So my general point still stands - eBay and the banks make more money by ignoring the problem than by solving it.



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