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☛ Avoiding pitfalls of cell-phone fraud 8-27-17

AVOIDING THE PITFALLS OF CELL-PHONE FRAUD

 

By Rick Dennis
Aug. 27, 2017

INTERNET SALES AND FRAUD
As with any industry, bad actors seem to gravitate to the cell-phone industry, aspiring to make an easy buck off of unsuspecting buyers and sellers on the Internet. Such is the same in the cell-phone market. Recently, I decided to switch carriers and sell my Iphone 7 on the open market, via, Ebay. After registering with this Internet buying-and-selling giant for the first time, I acquired an ID number, listed my sale item and provided the Internet marketer with my PayPal code or PayPal.me/windrivercompanyllc.

 

Once I received my confirmation from Ebay, I started receiving a host of bids on my cell phone. Immediately recognizing a problem, I contacted Ebay customer service and informed them my cell phone wasn’t listed as a bidding item but instead was listed as a fixed-price item. When I went back into my account, I could clearly see my item was listed as a fixed-price item and not a bidding item. I again contacted Ebay and informed them of their computer error. For the record, Ebay assured me this malfunction would be immediately corrected. After a period of time, I decided to explore one of the bidder’s outrageous price offers to see what would happen.

 

My cell phone was listed for a fixed price and the bidder was offering me twice the fixed-price amount. In fact, the bidder’s price was more than the price of a new Iphone 7 of the same type and kind. The curious nature of the affair is that the bidder immediately asked me to “private message” her at a specific telephone number. Once contacted, the bidder requested me to provide her with my PayPal payment email address instead of using my direct link I previously provided to Ebay.

 

Finding this odd, I provided the bidder with my current PayPal email address that would link directly into my PayPal account. For the record, I use my PayPal account for a myriad of selling options to include, but not limited to, book sales, used horse training equipment sales, etc. Therefore, I’m perfectly familiar with the ins and outs of how PayPal operates, including transferring funds directly into my business bank account.

 

After providing this bidder with the payment information, I received an authentic-looking email from what I thought was Ebay/PayPal,, stating the bidder had actually deposited funds into my PayPal account, except the alleged email stated “a hold was on my funds until after receiving shipment confirmation.” The email even contained a link to contact the bidder and provide the tracking number of my Iphone.

 

As a professional Risk Analyst and Risk Manager, there are several factors in this saga which brought my suspicion to the point that this was a fraudulent sale, such as:

 

1)         The bidders offering price for the cell phone was more than I paid for it and more than the bidder could purchase a new one for.

 

2)         In all of the sales I performed through PayPal, I’ve never had any of my funds restricted.

 

3)         The “bidder/payee’s name” and “ship to/recipient’s name” were different, as well as being located in two different states.

 

4)         The payee’s shipping instructions were immediate or the same morning of the email contact.

 

To verify my suspicions, I contacted PayPal Corporate Security and informed them of the facts of the impending sale along with furnishing them a copy of the email, which contained the exact authentic information and logos PayPal uses. After a period of time, PayPal contacted me and informed me the email was bogus or a fraud and it had been generated from a fraudulent web site. PayPal thanked me for providing them with this information. Afterwards, I contacted Ebay and informed them of my findings; however, the customer service representative wasn’t as respectful or cooperative.

 Click for Pay Pal document>>

 

Essentially, after checking my Ebay page, she informed me that I would be responsible for the listed-price payout percentage as well as the percentage associated with the final value price of the item sold. In fact, the fraudulent bidder had marked my item “sold,” when in reality the item wasn’t sold. Afterwards, an exchange of philosophy transpired between Ebay and myself. For the record, I informed Ebay of the built-in flaws of their system in protecting unsuspecting sellers of this lurking fraud.

 

I also explained to Ebay that “in my opinion,” Ebay was subject to culpable liability in this matter simply due to the manner in which their system was set up, allowing buyer and seller to have mutual contact through the Ebay site; thereby, enabling an individual to perpetuate a fraud. Also, “in my opinion,” Ebay should have a system setup whereby the entire sale – from initiation and conclusion – should be controlled by Ebay. The irony of this entire situation is:

 

1)         I received an email from Ebay informing me my sale item was sold when in fact it wasn’t, including the price paid being beyond my asking price.

 

2)         After the fact, another email from Ebay informed me not to do business with a certain individual and my account may have been compromised.

 

3)         Still another email from Ebay, informed me the proposed buyer is suspect, hasn’t registered with Ebay and will no longer be allowed to buy items on Ebay. Imagine that.

 

To top it off, I received a computer-generated bill from Ebay detailing my costs for the sale of my Iphone – which never transpired. All in all, I never suspected I would be performing a Risk Analysis on Internet selling as well as the inherent risks involved in selling items on the Internet. Lesson learned: Again, “in my opinion,” the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation should open investigations on “Crimes Against Persons,” involving the massive fraud obviously inherent in Internet selling.

 

In conclusion, an Internet-selling company found with inadequate security should be prosecuted and fined. One can only imagine the amount of property and funds that are stolen each year by individuals making a living trolling Internet selling sites, looking for quick deals from unsuspecting sellers. I would bet the amount of stolen property would mount in the millions of dollars. The fact is, it’s very easy for an individual operating in another country, or perhaps living in a tent in the desert, to initiate a scam operation.

 

Therefore, educate yourself before you engage in Internet selling. One noted fact is: “The safety and security of Internet selling begins with companies such as Ebay and Amazon, period.”

Click for Ebay response1>>

Click for Ebay scan 2>>

Click for Ebay scan 3>>

INTERNET SELLING PRECAUTIONS
If your intent is to sell items on the Internet, familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the Internet-selling provider. If an individual tries to isolate you off of the Internet selling site – don’t do it. And don’t provide any information to an individual who is not listed on the seller’s site. Check with seller. If an individual posing as a buyer attempts to isolate you and requests personal or other information, immediately contact the seller site’s customer service department.

 

In this matter, it ended on a somewhat happy note: I still have my Iphone; however, I did lose a sale due to an attempted fraudulent transaction. On a good note, I acquired enough information to hopefully enlighten and educate the reading audience of www.allaboutcutting.com, with information that will prevent an individual from being a victim and losing their property.

 

“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!”

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Managing Member

Office/Mopbile: (985) 630-3500

Email: windrivercompany@gmail.com

Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com

 

 

 

 

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