Home > Ebay Scams > EBay Escrow Scams

EBay Escrow Scams

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 2 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Ebay Escrow Service Fake Escrow Service

The use of escrow has become more common for high-ticket items on EBay, whether for a laptop or a car. It acts as a safeguard for both buyer and seller. The buyer is certain that he's getting exactly what he's thought, and the seller has the money safely paid before shipping the goods. But, inevitably, with the rise of escrow as a service, there have been a number of EBay escrow scams.

How Escrow Works

You win an auction for, let's say, a laptop costing £500. You want to be certain that it's everything the seller advertised before giving him your money. So you agree to use an escrow service, establishing your conditions, such as who pays shipping and length of inspection period, beforehand. You deposit the money with the escrow company, and once the seller is notified that the cash is there, he sends you the item, which is tracked by the escrow company, to be signed for on delivery. On receipt and acceptance of the item, you inform the escrow company, and the money is released to the seller. In theory, it's a safe, win-win situation.

How Escrow Scams Work

The scam is the fake escrow company. You win an auction, and the seller suggests an unknown escrow company (there is only one recommended by EBay). You send them your money, and never receive the promised item or find it's a cheap substitute. By then the escrow company, the seller and your money have vanished. Or, if you're the seller, the escrow company informs you they have the money, and you dispatch the item. But the company vanishes, along with the seller and your item.

How To Identify Fake Escrow Companies

  • Be aware that neither Paypal nor Western Union are escrow services. They are simply ways of delivering money to the other party. If the other party insists on using them, refuse.
  • Do a search on the escrow service's web site. A legitimate company will have a large number of search results. Fakes will have one or two, or even none.
  • A legitimate escrow site is secure. That means not only does it have SSL certification, indicated by the locked padlock at the bottom of the screen, but the web address will begin https:// rather than just http://.
  • Make sure the escrow company has both a street address and a landline number listed on their site.
  • A real escrow company will only ask you to transfer money to them directly from your bank, i.e. a traceable transfer. If they ask for another method, refuse. Before you send, verify with your bank where the receiving bank is located. If outside the seller's country, halt the transaction.
  • Don't deal with any escrow company that has a hyphen in its name. The odds are that they're a fake. Also steer clear of any company which doesn't use a .com suffix, such as .biz, for the same reasons. And just because the name seems associated with a legitimate company don't assume everything is above board.
  • Just because an escrow web site looks professional, that doesn't mean the company is sound.
  • A 'Verisign Secure Site' logo (or any other similar logo) shouldn't be taken at face value. Investigate to make sure they are truly licensees of the organisation.
  • No proper escrow service would ask you to send either your money or item to the other party.

How To Avoid The Scam

  • Use only escrow services recommended by EBay.
  • Never us an escrow service recommended by the other party, period.
  • Be sceptical. According to one source, the odds are one in nine against you finding a legitimate online escrow service.
  • Don't deal with an escrow company that's been in business for less than four years. Investigate their legitimacy, and don't believe any claims - from anyone - that you can't verify independently.
  • Only deal with sellers who have amassed good, verifiable feedback (don't necessarily believe all feedback claims without investigation).
  • If you're sending an item, make sure that the recipient has to sign for it.

What To Do If You're A Victim

Inform EBay immediately. You should also contact the police and the Office of Fair Trading, including copies of all the paperwork. Sadly, the odds of restitution are small unless you used an escrow service recommended by EBay itself.

People do use escrow every day on EBay without any problems. You can too, if you follow the guidelines above. Check and double-check before you commit, use your common sense, and you should be fine.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Fari
    Re: How Can I Delete My Profile From Dating Site?
    I would like you to email me and tell me how to delete my profile coz I cannot afford it
    20 November 2020
  • Fari
    Re: How Can I Delete My Profile From Dating Site?
    I would like to delete my vegan dating profile asap
    20 November 2020
  • Susan Smith
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just received a call from Newport UK 01633489553. Allegedly Sky, telling me that I have problems with my Internet and it was to be deactivated in 4 days…
    18 November 2020
  • Lynn
    Re: Vishing Scam
    I received an email from Royal Mail regarding a missed letter from HM customs there was a link to reschedule and I clicked on it and it was a form but…
    13 November 2020
  • Rouge1
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just a had call from someone for thay for sky calling my my broadband but sky aways asked you got Security question first
    31 October 2020
  • Titch
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had a call from 03450522989 recmy sky maintainance. Saying I was paying far to much a year. We agreed a password. She asked my last 4 fidgets from…
    27 October 2020
  • Sean Trinidad
    Re: Visa Credit Card Scam
    Hey im her for a crediit card i am a bissnise mann and i do a lot of things
    7 October 2020
  • Alimck
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had a call from a very unsure SE Asian sounding woman who sounded as though she was in an exceptionally busy call centre- very difficult to make…
    1 October 2020
  • Andy
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    01822 751059 01875 979762 01848 695282 All in the past week. All claiming to be from Sky tech support. I just hang up. But it's getting really…
    22 September 2020
  • nikasavictim
    Re: Builder's Scams
    Be aware of the company called Nikasa Build & Design. We made a big mistake in trusting them and giving them thousands of pounds in advance for a…
    25 August 2020