Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Area man charged in $200,000 eBay scam

There are so many internet schemes out there it's hard to keep up. But this alleged eBay scam caught my eye last week, if only because it involved the federal court here in Charlotte, and a routine type eBay crime that could snare any unsuspecting buyer.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte last week filed charges against a Barry Alan Younce in connection with what prosecutors described as a fraudulent scheme to sell computers on eBay. They say between March 2005 and September 2006, Younce used the user name of "sq20" to post ads on eBay saying he had computers for sale. The bill of information prosecutors filed says "he in fact had no intention of providing the merchandise to the potential buyer."

Authorities say on about 252 occasions, he obtained payment by wire transfer or otherwise, but didn't send the equipment. They say Younce engineered one of the transfers at least in part from Caldwell County. Overall, prosecutors say victims lost more than $207,000, some of which Younce refunded, and some of it he kept.

I know many folks use eBay often and love it. But I've always hesitated to buy things there, precisely because of possible situations like this one. I asked the eBay folks for comment, and a spokeswoman sent an e-mail saying:

"eBay has a zero tolerance for criminal activity and we work closely with law enforcement to prosecute anyone who attempts to abuse our services. We are fully committed to creating a safe, fair and enjoyable trading experience for all eBay users while aggressively protecting our users from harm."

She also said people should check out eBay's tips for buying safely through the site.

Caveat emptor, people.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pay with Pay Pal using a credit card, and you will get your money refunded for fraudulent transactions.

Anonymous said...

Paypal doesn't guarantee you'll get a refund. All the seller has to do is provide you (and paypal when the appeal by the buyer is underway) a tracking number. The box could be filled with nothing or even a rock. They can then prove you was shipped a package & paypal does NOT have to refund you a dime. Trust me, it has happened before unfortunately. Your best bet is to check the seller's reputation before bidding. If a small number or no transactions, or even several negative feedbacks, think twice before ordering.

Anonymous said...

I prefer Craigslist because I can inspect the item(s) before purchase. The unmentioned risk with ebay is that buyers and sellers can have honest differences of opinion as to an item's condition. But I do purchase through ebay by using Paypal and examining the seller's rating, and I've not had a problem to date.

Anonymous said...

Like another person said check the sellers feedback rating. I have sold and purchased 100's of items and I am very happy with the ebay system.

Anonymous said...

I have sold over 20K items on eBay and have purchased 100's of items. . . no problems!!! It is best to use Paypal and check the seller's reputation when buying.

Anonymous said...

I have been burnt using PayPal for a ~$70 item, and PayPal refunded about 1/2 of my purchase...and I used a CC in that transaction.

Definitely check seller feedback and only buy from reputable sellers.

YUMMommy said...

You just have be really careful when buying stuff on eBay. I like to ask my Twitter followers to recommend sellers they have worked with. The one great thing about Twitter is that when it comes to advice there are always an abundant amount of ppl waiting to help. Also, shopping from online outlets with national brands are best. If you're in the market for a computer it's safer and probably cheaper to get one from the Dell outlet on eBay than risking it with a total stranger.

Anonymous said...

True, Pay Pal won't refund the full amount of a fraudulent transaction but most credit cards have free fraud protection. I used this feature several years ago to recover the part that Pay Pal didn't cover.

Anonymous said...

NEWVER USE PAYPAL, Always use a CREDIT CARD. PAYPAL has a HORRIBLE non-existent resolution center. When I've been screwed on eBay they do nothing. I thank the individuals at my credit cards for providing assistance. PAYPAL HAS NO BUYERS OR SELLERS SUPPORT!

AJ said...

Anonymous @ 8:29PM is right. PayPal is a horrible joke! Don't believe me? Go to the PayPal website and try to find a number for customer service. It doesn't exist!
PayPal was fined a few years ago for not publishing their customer service number (among other things) and was supposedly forced by the courts to make the number public, but it still hasn't happened! What's worse? You can Google their number, and there are many sites that will list the numbers for you or not only their toll free customer service line, but also the numbers of VP's and higher ups, but if you call any of them, you don't ever get an answer. The customer service number will actually hang up on you after about 2 minutes!!! Trust me, I've been trying to resolve an issue with PayPal for months now and have decided I will just give up and stop using them.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the victims...he had a 99% rating, we used paypal but received nothing back. this was 5 years ago!

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