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Stephen Chambers

Jeffries Scam On Ebay

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How do you contact eBay anyway? I've spent the last half hour trawling their site and I can't find anything beyond dispute resolution forms that ask for details that don't apply!

 

Chris

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Andy..can you tell me how this "Watermarking" works.I've never heard of it before.

Thanks Robin

Robin,

 

It means that the image will have a second light image superimposed on it, such as your email address, usually diagonally across the picture. I've seen this technique used on some auctions. I'm not sure how it is done (probably with Photoshop) but it is probably easily done. Alternatively, text can simply be added to the bottom of a photo, which could easily be clipped off, but this might even be an extra step that scammers would rather skip, and they'll move on to other targets... however, true watermarks on digital photos would require more effort to obscure...

Just google WATERMARKING PHOTOSHOP and you'll get lots of instructions on how to do this -- I just checked it out and looked at some of the results.

-Andy

P.S. If you've never heard of watermarking, period, go to a stationary store and look at the sheets of expensive paper (like "resume paper") -- hold a sheet up to the light and you'll see the "watermarks."

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I've just thought of another technique, but I'm too chicken to try it myself: What if somebody else put up yet another an auction copying the same text and photos, but adding the following text:

[...]

 

 

I like how you think, Jim! Seems like the NY stick-it-to-'em spirit is still in your blood? Would you care to help me think of some ways to go after my landlord? ;)

 

Seriously, a 2nd fake auction could serve as a billboard, a work of action art designed to inform, performatively, about the ability to duplicate auctions. Unfortunately, in this case it would have only educated 2 bidders. The idea could be expanded, however: (hypothetically, of course,) someone could take the top 101 high-price auctions on eBay and duplicate them, to make a larger point to eBay. Leak the story to the press the day it is activated. This would really send a message that eBay needs to tighten up its security.

 

To begin with, I wondered about the case where the mandolin was bid into the millions -- the primary reason for this was to prevent others from bidding. The secondary reason was to have the "seller'" credit card charged up with the massive eBay commission! However, I wonder whether fake credit cards (or others' credit card numbers, fraudulently used) are used to begin with. If this is the case, eBay should do a better job at checking the validity of the credit cards.

 

Additionally, my understanding is that these scammers do not reside, geographically, in the area where they register their address with eBay. I.e., the recent Jeffries guy claimed to be in B.C. It is well within the capabilities of eBay to confirm where the computers are located (approximately) to register accounts. Why don't they require further double-checking, etc., when someone uses a computer in Indonesia, Rumania, etc., to register a new account? (I know the hackers would find a way around it, but it would at least set the rung higher for these scammers, who are currently able to set up such auctions effortlessly.)

 

Andy

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Another idea: what if concertina.net also maintained a registry of known eBay concertina sellers, so that one could look up this current guy "vic" in australia, or "cocoa," etc. (I know that cocoa is Barleycorn, but you get the idea...).

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Another idea: what if concertina.net also maintained a registry of known eBay concertina sellers, so that one could look up this current guy "vic" in australia, or "cocoa," etc. (I know that cocoa is Barleycorn, but you get the idea...).

Just a note to say that Vic in Australia is known to me and is totally legit, so don't be put off bidding on his auction items.

And no, it isn't me! B)

Regards

Malcolm Clapp

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Having bought three top quality Anglo's from Vic I can confirm what has been said and that what Vic sells is what he describes.I would recommend him to anyone who wished to purchase a good playable concertina.I have been playing for thirty years and have played concertinas by all the leading makers,excluding accordion reeded models.

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My experience with ebay leaves me quite confident that the this auction will be shut down. I've seen this same type of scam with other instruments (wooden flutes and vintage guitars). The ones that I've been aware of have always been shut down. Sometime within the next 2 days this item will just disappear.

 

Ebay is one of the great wonders of the cyber-world. 99% of what they do is done very well. It is also the 'wild west', an anarchist's dream come true. The ebay product works because it is run on an honor system. The publicly visible feedback of buyers and sellers is the secret to their success. Every transaction is transparent, after the fact. (Wouldn't it be nice if governments had to come under the same scrutiny.) Of course, just like the real world, there will always be someone trying to rip people off. But it is very difficult to do when the cyber community establishes itself a neighborhood watch system such as has occurred with this item (and many others).

 

Anyone who would bid on an item of this value under the clearly obvious circumstances (seller has no feedback, bidders user names are hidden, payment by wire transfer only) is an idiot. I believe we should take it upon ourselves to help and protect these idiot's, by reporting potentially fraudulent items, but I don't believe it is ebay's responsibility. They are a business, we are a community.

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Just a few notes here folks:

1) It takes two to bid a credit card up to the millions, though it does sound like a lot of fun

 

2) Anyone who bids on the JEffries is obviously not hooked up to Concertina.Net, so explicit warnings on this site wouldn't help them. That's my guess.

 

3) I am bidder number two, with a high bid of several thousand dollars, so there is not much reason to worry in this auction. I've asked the seller for further pics of the concertina, and if he doesn't respond, I'll cancel my bid and leave a warning note to others. That's the easy way to send a warning (though I haven't tried this yet with a private auction.....).

 

4) EBAY is contactable, but extremely slow. There appears to be designated watchers on each of the areas, and if they're out of town on a particular thursday, nothing gets done.

 

Best - Ed

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The idea of bidding something up to an outrageously high price might seem to be a good iea, but it leaves you, as the high bidder, open to negative feedback, even if it does come from a fraudulent seller. That negative feedback is refected in your percentage rating which follows you everywhere in ebay. My percentage is 100% positive and I wouldn't risk that by vigilanty behavior, and I would recommend anyone else do so. If you think it's difficult to email ebay to report a fraudulent listing, think how hard it would be to explain your negative feedback received from a seller that you refused to honor your high bid with.

 

To report fraudulent listings go to the ebay 'help' section. I can't remember exactly but I think what you want to look for is listings and 'other issues'. Keep looking, you will find the area to report fraudulent listings. I just did it and reported this item to them with a nasty note from the concertina community.

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Hi Ed, if you actually are bidding on this item I apologize for the 'idiot' word. Your approach (that is, retracting your bid if not satisfied by the sellers response to your questions) is exactly the right route to take.

 

Cheers

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Sorry about using "auction #xxxx" instead of the real number above, but I neglected to record that number earlier, and the auction does seem to have disappeared.

Unfortunately, it's still there. It's item number 3730227283. You can find the auction page by entering this number in the search box on the main eBay page.

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How do you contact eBay anyway? I've spent the last half hour trawling their site and I can't find anything beyond dispute resolution forms that ask for details that don't apply!

I agree, they don't make it easy. But go to this general purpose Contact Form, where there are several categories of offenses that can be reported.

Edited by Michael Reid

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Having bought three top quality Anglo's from Vic I can confirm what has been said and that what Vic sells is what he describes.I would recommend him to anyone who wished to purchase a good playable concertina.I have been playing for thirty years and have played concertinas by all the leading makers,excluding accordion reeded models.

 

 

This is the point I was trying to make -- there are sellers on eBay who are known and trusted by members of cnet, so it would be helpful if there was a page in the buying guide revealing the actual identity of these sellers who use usernames on eBay.

(Sorry if my message seemed to imply that "vic" is not a credible seller; on the contrary, I was trying to demonstrate the need for commentaries on sellers, such as those posted above.)

-Andy

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Prior to discovering the concertina, I dabbled at the guitar, and hung out at the "Unofficial Martin Guitar" forum. They have a pretty active group that monitors eBay, and I helped write out a FAQ entry for reporting fraud at:

 

UMGF FAQ entry on eBay fraud

 

Based on their experience, I have a couple of comments:

 

eBay *does* work to investigate and cancel these fraudulent auctions, but as folks have noticed, it's often not as fast as we would like, and there doesn't appear to be any useful mechanism to keep these creeps from just turning around, opening another eBay account, and continuing to rip people off.

 

Bidding up fradulent auctions *will* get you in trouble with eBay -- they will warn you and then cancel your account if you engage in vigilantee behavior.

 

Directly contacting bidders can also get you in trouble if eBay finds out. Of course, the scammers have started using the "hide bidders" feature to prevent that.

 

Posting eBay "auctions" to warn others will get deleted by eBay. We tried both direct warnings (specifically listing a bad auction) and indirect (listing the various things to watch out for, such as new users, wire-transfers, users from Indonesia or Romania).

 

 

eBay does work to resolve problems, but they also have to protect themselves, so it's sometimes pretty frustrating to watch.

 

Regards,

 

Bill Erickson

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Anyone who would bid on an item of this value under the clearly obvious circumstances (seller has no feedback, bidders user names are hidden, payment by wire transfer only) is an idiot. I believe we should take it upon ourselves to help and protect these idiot's, by reporting potentially fraudulent items, but I don't believe it is ebay's responsibility. They are a business, we are a community.

 

 

Point well taken, however:

It is actually eBay's official position on these issues is that it should be the one taking care of these issues, and that we shouldn't interfere. If that is the case, I think it's reasonable to ask eBay to rethink some of its "features." Being a business does not (should not?) mean that eBay is released from responsibility.

 

In this case, eBay does seem to have responded and removed the item. In many cases, however, eBay is frustratingly unresponsive, which has frustrated some of us.

 

The consumers bidding on these frauds might not necessarily be idiots, but they are bidding carelessly. I don't necessarily feel that we need feel charged with the responsibility of protecting them; personally, I feel more protective of preserving the marketplace for legit sellers. Situations like this undermine the trust in legit auctions by new sellers. Let's face it, some concertina finders/inheritors might not be knowledgeable about the instrument they have acquired, and they might not be experienced eBayers with high feedback ratings. With scams occuring, the pool of potential buyers are, with reason, growing suspicious of new auctions.

 

I guess the silver lining is that this might finally drive down the otherwise skyrocketing prices... ;)

-Andy

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