eBay Ignores Seller Concerns About Hijacked Accounts

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 12-21-21

This seller has now reported over 260 suspicious sales to likely hijacked accounts and eBay still has done very little to assist them. Support has suggested they can cancel the orders using the reason "problem with address" if they are not comfortable shipping them - but in that case eBay keeps the $0.30 per transaction fee which is absolutely inexcusable in a situation where there is so clearly some kind of suspicious or possibly fraudulent activity involved.

A new record was set today with 80 suspicious purchases on this selling ID and 4 on my other selling ID. I haven't had time to research so many purchases, all by different buyers, but only 32 have the ship to address in BEAVERTON, OR. Here are results of 28 sales of the identical postcard costing $1.10, all bought in less than 3 hours by 28 different buyers. All but 1 are long term members with low feedback (0-8); one had 53 feedbacks but only 4 in the past year. Every buyer with feedback had received feedback from dell in the past month or past 6 months. Of the total of 95 feedbacks, 18 were from dell in the past month and 23 were from dell in the past 6 months, representing 43% of the total feedback and 60% of the 30 feedbacks in the past month. 10 feedbacks were from smartresale in the past 6 months. If these buyer accounts have been hijacked, then dell in particular is experiencing a lot of suspicious sales.

eBay only has 3 reasons a seller can give for cancelling a sale: Out of stock or damaged, Buyer asked to cancel, Issue with buyer's shipping address. 4 of the 28 buyers have the identical BEAVERTON, OR address with a recipient name different from the buyer name, so I have no problem selecting Issue with buyer's shipping address. However, the other 24 buyers have names and addresses that appear real. However the odds of these 24 different buyers ALL buying an identical item within a few hours is close to zero. I know fraud is involved. If my low price sale goes through the fraudster(s) then buy expensive items, such as Dell computers. I wish eBay had a 4th reason a seller could use to cancel a sale, such as Other or Probable fraud. I'm about to call Customer Support to see what reason I should use when I cancel today's 84 suspicious sales.

262 suspicious sales in less than a month and only 1 verified by eBay as "unauthorized use of buyer account." This is getting expensive: 262 x $.30 transaction fee = $78.60. eBay, do SOMETHING!

On top of that, the seller reports that support has refused to allow them to speak directly with the Trust & Safety department to express their concerns.

I cannot use Report this item. One reports an item if 1) it infringes on someone else's copyright or 2) it's prohibited for sale on eBay. eBay does NOT allow me to select a reason such as Other and add information that the item has been purchased by 27 buyers within 3 hours, all 27 transactions likely unauthorized use of buyers' accounts.

I cannot use Report a buyer. One reports a buyer if 1) Buyer demanded something that was not offered in my listing, or 2) Buyer made a false claim or 3) Buyer misused returns or 4) Buyer messaged me or retracted their bid with no intention of buying my item. eBay does NOT allow me to select a reason such as Other and add information that an unauthorized use of the buyer's account is happening.

I cannot use Report a seller. One reports a seller if 1) You haven't received your item or 2) You'd like to return your item or 3) The seller isn’t responding to you, or you need to ask eBay to step in and help or 4) You want to cancel a purchase or 5) The seller has violated one of eBay’s policies. I'm the seller, and none of these apply to the 264 suspicious sales made by 256 different eBay buyers I am trying to report.

I can't use CS. When I called CS on 12/18/2021 to report the 44 suspicious purchases that occurred on 12/16/2021 and the 84 suspicious sales that occurred on 12/19/2021, I asked to speak with someone at eBay Trust and Safety. The CS rep asked me for details, so I mentioned the item # that was purchased by 23 different eBay buyers within 2 1/2 hours, ALL being mailed to a different recipient at the BEAVERTON, OR address mentioned above.

The CS rep asked me to wait while she contacted Trust and Safety. When the CS rep came back, she told me Trust and Safety would NOT talk to me because I could report the 23 buyers of this item. I had the CS rep look at the page for reporting a buyer and showed her that NONE of the selections applied. She still told me that if she transferred me to Trust and Safety, they would just hang up on me.

eBay, you can do better!

This is absolutely ridiculous - Trust & Safety absolutely can, does, and should speak directly to sellers who are reporting security concerns like this, in fact they spoke directly to me on multiple occasions last year when I was fighting against triangulation fraud on the platform also using hijacked accounts.

This is the department that is supposed to be highly trained to identify red flags and common patterns of fraud and abuse, there is no good reason for them not to be willing to speak to this seller who is going above and beyond to try to report this obvious security issue to eBay.

eBay can and must refund any fees that have been incurred due to these cancellations and provide the seller a direct contact to Trust & Safety to take action on these hijacked accounts.

A seller in the eBay community has been trying for months to get eBay's attention regarding suspicious purchases being made by likely hijacked/compromised accounts, but eBay has ignored their concerns.

15 Fraudulent Sales This Morning
Today within about an hour I had 15 fraudulent purchases by 15 existing eBay buyers (members from 2005 - 2019) all with low feedback (from 2 to 9) of $1 postcards (6 of item 1849523686633, 3 of item 174775543922). Though bought by 15 different buyers, all were being mailed to 6190 SW Arctic Dr. #HP…
More suspicious purchases - likely unauthorized use of buyer accounts
Eleven days ago I reported 16 suspicious purchases. I reported this to eBay’s fraud department but never heard back. In the past when I made similar reports eBay closed many of the accounts and/or sent me letters indicating eBay cancelled the sales due to the unauthorized use of buyers’ accounts.…

Eleven days ago I reported 16 suspicious purchases. I reported this to eBay's fraud department but never heard back. In the past when I made similar reports eBay closed many of the accounts and/or sent me letters indicating eBay cancelled the sales due to the unauthorized use of buyers' accounts.

Today there were 11 suspicious purchases of $1.00 postcards made by 11 different buyers, all with low feedback ranging from 1 to 11, and all old accounts dating from 2012-2017. All 11 purchases had a shipping address to 6190 SW Arctic Dr. #HP694, BEAVERTON, OR 97005-9448. There were 2 different recipients (BON sauchinbonphamhai and BON694 694PhamHai), neither of which were the purchasers' names. BON sauchinbonphamhai was also the recipient of 15 of the 16 suspicious purchases reported eleven days ago, so obviously eBay has taken no actions to block this suspicious recipient in Beaverton, Oregon.

I have 48 hours to decide whether to cancel these sales, which I am 99.9% certain involve fraud, or mail them since I got paid and eBay will penalize me if they are not mailed in a timely fashion. Any suggestions?

I believe low cost suspicious purchases are made to see if transactions of hijacked accounts go through. If they do, then high priced items are bought using the hijacked accounts. I checked the feedback of the 11 suspicious purchases made today, and EVERY purchaser showed purchases made in the past six months from Dell, ranging from 1 to 4 items per buyer. I'm guessing they will be making additional purchases from Dell in the near future...

I just called customer support and reported these suspicious transactions (SR 1-409052565949 service report number). This report was sent to the "report number" department which investigates by item numbers submitted. Worst case, eBay only looks at the low cost purchases and does not even check with buyers to see if they made the purchases, not only from me but from Dell in the past 6 months.

My conclusion is that eBay is no longer handling fraud in a viable manner. I was told eBay had NO fraud department, so I was unable to speak with anyone specializing in fraud. Instead I was told the accounts of the purchasers would be "monitored." I asked to speak with a supervisor. After a long wait, I was told a supervisor was not available, but that a supervisor would call me back within 24 hours.

This is exactly what happened less than 2 weeks ago when I reported 16 suspicious transactions, some to an identical recipient in Beaverton, Oregon as yesterday's sales. eBay did nothing and still has not informed me of any actions taken.

eBay needs to do the following at a minimum:

  1. Contact the buyers to see if they actually made the purchase from me and the purchases reflected feedback received within the past 6 months.

  2. If these purchases were "unauthorized use of buyers' accounts," then eBay needs to cancel the transactions and notify the sellers. Earlier this year they did this, but lately that is NOT the case. They also need track down and prosecute the recipient(s) for illegally using eBay buyer accounts and using the mail to perpetrate fraud.

Finally, eBay needs to provide a means of reporting this type of fraud online. Currently one can report a seller, a buyer, or an item, but none of these apply. eBay need to add additional options: Fraud and possibly Other. I have requested this before to be met with eBay's wall of silence and inaction.

eBay profits by doing nothing, as do the sellers and the shippers. It is eBay buyers who bear the burden of this fraud.

And the saga continues. This afternoon within 50 minutes nine more suspicious purchases were made by 9 different long term eBay buyers with low feedback (3-10 feedback scores for accounts created from 2014-2019) of the same $1.00 postcard (item ID 183770399030). The send to address was identical on all these purchases and the same address used in the 18 suspicious purchases that occurred on 11/29/2021. All the packing slips show the same faulty telephone number appearing under the address and UNITED STATES. The false number has an extra digit; this is the phone number 50340639185. The recipient on the packing slip is not the name of any of these 9 buyers; it is: BON694 694PhamHai.

To make matters worse, an eBay glitch is preventing me from cancelling and/or refunding the money paid. At midnight tonight I'll get 11 strikes for not mailing on time on this account and 7 strikes for not mailing on time on my other account. Then in 2 more days I'll get 9 more strikes for not mailing on time on this account. I will NOT mail items when I am 99.9% certain that the buyer accounts have been hi-jacked. The 2 service request numbers for reporting the cancel/refund glitches to eBay today are SR 1-409306956676 and SR 1-409241790178.

7 more suspicious sales today to 4 long time eBay customers with low feedback (4-9 feedback and members since 1916-1918). All bought the same $1 postcard within less than 40 minutes of each other. All were being shipped to the Beaverton, Oregon address of the 43 previous suspicious sales (16 on 11/18/2021, 18 on 11/29/2021, and 9 on 12/3/2021). All had the same faulty (i.e. extra digit) phone number listed below the address: 50340639185. 503 is the Beaverton, OR area code. eBay should be able to use this faulty phone number to find other suspicious sales. When I check the buyer's feedback I see that of a total of 13 purchases made this month receiving feedback, 12 are from Dell. eBay should be able to see the time, date, and amount of these purchases. I'm guessing they were made after the people hijacking eBay user accounts saw that their low priced purchases of my postcards went thorough. I am 99.9% positive that the purchases of my items are all unauthorized use of buyer accounts.

So far since 11/18/2021 I've had a total of 51 suspicious sales, made by 47 different buyers. Though I am cancelling them using the reason of "Issue with buyer's shipping address," the transaction fee of $.30 is starting to add up: 51 x $.30 = $15.30. Plus I am loosing a lot of time contacting eBay to report so many fraudulent purchases. They need to BLOCK all purchases with a faulty phone number or 50340639185!!!

6 more suspicious sales, 5 of whom are long time users (1914-1918), all with low feedback (1-4), all with packing slips that do NOT include the buyers' names and being mailed to the BEAVERTON, Oregon address mentioned above, and all showing the same invalid phone (*****) on the packing slips. Checking the 11 feedbacks received by these 6 buyers shows 4 purchases from Dell in the current month, 6 purchases from Dell in the past 6 months, and 1 other purchase.

Looks like I have to make another call to Customer Service to report this. 40 suspicious sales in 1 day with 1 store now on time away is a new, ugly record for me. I'd really like to hear from eBay if they have verified one or more of the 90 suspicious purchases I've reported since 11/18/2021 are indeed unauthorized use of buyer accounts so I can file a fraud case with the USPS.

10 more suspicious sales on this ID today by 10 different long term members (2013-2019) with low feedback (2-10) buy 1 of 4 different $1 postcards. As some of these were happening 3 minutes apart, I put my store on "time away" for the rest of the day, or the number of suspicious sales would have been higher. All were being mailed to the BEAVERTON Oregon address mentioned above to 2 different recipients, also mentioned above. All the packing slips showed the same phone phone number with the extra digit mentioned above. I believe all these buyer accounts have been hijacked. Three of today's buyers were previously reported by me on 12/1/2021.

Checking the 44 feedbacks, 28 were by Dell for 8 purchases in the past month and 20 in the past 6 months. ALL the buyers had at least 2 purchases from Dell, and 63% of the feedback was from Dell.

To date I have reported a total of 116 suspicious sales made by 108 different buyers, ALL going to the Beaverton, Oregon address, and will be reporting 11 more today (1 on my other selling ID). I have heard NOTHING back from eBay. Additional research shows that 4 buyers whose purchases were reported in November show up as "no longer a registered user." Of the 11 suspicious sales made on 11/29/2021 on this store, 8 have received additional feedback, 5 from vipoutlet and 2 from lenovo. Of the 7 suspicious purchases made on 11/29/2021 on my other store, 5 have received additional feedback, 4 from vipoutlet, 4 from lenovo, and 1 from dell. Will the millions of stores on eBay, it is most unlikely that different buyers would make most of the purchases from the same high volume, high value stores. Hopefully eBay has notified these stores of the probable fraudulent purchases, even though they have NOT notified me.

Several other sellers tried to offer helpful suggestions or chimed in with their own experiences.

This sounds like something that happened to two of my customers last year. They made purchases on here, but both accounts were hacked and somehow shipped to a fraudulent address in Miami. Neither was close to Miami and both knew their accounts were compromised. I ended up calling the Miami PD to tell them about scammers working out of that address. Both the customers filed reports with their local police too. It was the exact same thing as what you wrote, same address different but similar recipients. Ebay did NOTHING to help. I worked with the customers and got the products out to their real addresses. We reported it all over the place ~ ebay, paypal, police depts. Nobody followed up with me but hopefully they did with my customers. It is most definitely scammers and your real customers may not even know their accounts have been hacked. Could be thru here or paypal. I would say try and email with the real people associated with those accounts and see if they did purchase anything. Some may be valid. You just don't know.

It is possible the scammer has no access to the hijacked eBay users' financial details, but is using the hijacked eBay accounts to test if payment can be made using stolen credit card numbers obtained elsewhere.

By testing each card using a different account, if one card is detected as being stolen, there is no obvious connection to the other cards or accounts or to the scammer -- aside from the detective work of the eBay seller who is having problems getting eBay or anyone else to actually look at the big picture before the scam progresses any further.

Maybe contacting the freight forwarding company directly with your suspicions can accomplish something. Freight forwarders do not like being associated with scams and scammers; if you lay out the evidence that a particular customer of the freight forwarder is involved in a large scale scam, perhaps there is something the freight forwarder can do to delay the actual scam purchases from leaving the country.

This seller is absolutely right to be concerned about this issue - account take over fraud takes many forms on eBay and it appears to be a growing problem.

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In fact, I suspect eBay's recent mass suspension of accounts may have been either in reaction to the increasing instances of dormant account takeover fraud or done as a pre-emptive measure to force some dormant users to change passwords and update user info as a preventative measure against such takeover fraud.

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Why is eBay turning a blind eye to the very suspicious activity that seller has been reporting for months?


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of experience in online sales & marketplaces, providing expert commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Amazon, Etsy & more at Value Added Resource!