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Calgary man loses $20K after eBay sale hijacked

by Owyn / December 3, 2007 2:48 AM PST

"A Calgary man is one of 1,000 Canadians who have been scammed on eBay through a tactic known as hijacking, and the RCMP says the online auction service is not co-operating with their criminal investigations.

Shaqir Duraj, a Calgary bakery owner, won an eBay auction for a car in early October. He thought he was dealing with a reputable seller with a 98 per cent customer satisfaction rating."

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I see it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2007 3:19 AM PST

"the $20,000 he wired to the alleged seller."

There is a scam where they talk the buyer to not use Paypal or Ebay's payment system. Instead they dupe them into sending the money with Western Union.

So where is the issue here?


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The issue is:
by Renegade Knight / December 3, 2007 3:43 AM PST
In reply to: I see it.

The seller never got the money. The buyer used eBay information to pay the seller as he should. However someone else had taken over the auction page and told the buyer to pay them instead.

Thus the buyer doing exactly what they should have done paid the wrong person.

The method of payment only play into the options the buyer has to deal with the fact that the payment went into the hand of a criminal. Had the buyer paid the right person via that method he would have his car.

This is an eBay security issue.

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eBay has warned often about the WU scam.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2007 6:42 AM PST
In reply to: The issue is:

They can't stop it. Western Union isn't the bad guy here either.

I guess you learn fast about that scam the first time you get hit. Let it be a lesson to others.


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Using escrow services
by commorancy / December 3, 2007 11:45 AM PST

The lesson here is that if you're going to spend $20k on an item from eBay, both the buyer and seller should agree to using an escrow service prior to closing the deal. Yes, these services do cost money, but the added cost (read insurance) is well worth it to ensure the buyer gets the merchandise and the seller gets the money (and that there's little chance of foul play from either side). So, with large dollar items, it's wise to email the seller and ensure they are willing to use an escrow service before bidding.

It always surprises me to hear of people losing large amounts of money like this when escrow services have been around for so long.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2007 12:31 PM PST
In reply to: Using escrow services
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Use an escrow that's reputable and verifiable
by commorancy / December 3, 2007 3:11 PM PST
In reply to: The WU ESCROW SCAM.

Don't randomly send money to an escrow company you've never heard of or that the seller mandates. Send it only to an escrow service that actually can be verified by third parties. You should have well enough time to do this research before you place a bid on an item. An escrow service works if it's a legitimate escrow company. Deals can become scams, obviously, if it's a shill company set up to look like an escrow company. A legitimate escrow company will not release the funds to the seller until the buyer has received the goods. That's the point of an escrow. Of course, it would be easy to be scammed into wiring (or sending) funds to a fake escrow shill company which would, of course, be a scam and, thus, you would lose the money.

There's always the possibility of being scammed. But, if the buyer takes the necessary precautions beforehand and doesn't let the seller dictate all of the terms (especially on large money transactions), the process can work. If the seller changes things at the last minute, acts in a strange way, won't work with escrow companies or dictates a specific companies to use then walk away from the deal.

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Western Union Story
by Renegade Knight / December 4, 2007 4:42 AM PST
In reply to: The WU ESCROW SCAM.

The only time I've used WU was for a PDA.

A guy in Texas said he would send the PDA FIRST then I could pay but I had to pay via WU. Well heck, I can live with that. The PDA was shipped new from Seattle direct from the K-Mart ( and my payment went to Estonia were my eBay contact said his manager wanted the payment sent.

Nothing about that deal was kosher. I took the PDA to the police and asked about the deal. No interest. At that point my job was done.

The only rig I ever sold on eBay was a 75 Blazer. It fetched about 75 bucks and a kiss from my wife for the guy hauling it out of my yard. Cash & Kiss on pickup in that case.

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I've used Escrow in the past.
by Renegade Knight / December 4, 2007 1:37 AM PST
In reply to: Using escrow services

They work, but these days the real ones are artificially expensive. Escrow services have also become a vehicle for scams.

There is an irony when legit sites make doing business with them too painful that it drives business to the scammers.

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Did you miss the point?
by Renegade Knight / December 4, 2007 1:34 AM PST

If the buyer paid the seller via Western Union they would have got the car. Simple as that. The Seller wasn't scamming.

The problem isn't western union, they provide a legitimate service. The problem isn't the buyer. They paid like they should. The problem isn't the seller, they never got the funds.

That leaves two parties. eBay and The Criminals.
eBay has a problem that lets criminals hack a page an intercept a payment. They have to address it.

All the scam warning is good for is a tip off that something may be askew. But who are going goign to ask? The Seller? You can't their page is hijacked. The police? The seller has done nothing wrong. eBay? Bingo, eBay can see if a change was made to the page (aka was it highjacked?) but eBay has some issues in that you can't just ask them questions like that.

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"If the buyer paid the seller via Western Union" they were
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 4, 2007 1:42 AM PST

Asking for trouble and got it. I didn't miss it and will go as far as calling them an idiot for sending that much via WU.


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You did miss the point.
by Renegade Knight / December 4, 2007 4:35 AM PST

Western union is a legitimate busines. The seller is a legitimate business. The buyer was dealing in good faith. There is no problem here. The buyer, the payment medium, the seller were all on the up and up. You even said in another post that Western Union isn't the issue.

Using Western Union isn't asking for trouble. A Seller asking for Western Union is a warning flag. Nothing more. When you see a flag you look into things. "Seller, solid rep, feedback ok, communications thus far are kosher, looks good". The seller would pass scruteny because they were legit.

Paying via a bad check is asking for trouble. Paying via a legitmate means isn't. The problem is not with the buyer, the seller or Western Union. It's elsewhere. eBay and the Criminal are the two remaining choices.

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Didn't miss it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 4, 2007 4:38 AM PST

When you send 20 grand via WU, there is no escrow, etc. It was a dumb thing to do. They did it and sadly paid the price for skipping the escrow and warnings.

Are you telling me you would do what they did?


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Terms of the Auction
by Renegade Knight / December 6, 2007 3:40 AM PST
In reply to: Didn't miss it.

If the terms of the auction were Western Union, I'd factor it into the equation and make a decision. Western Union isn't cheap. It's also a warning flag. If the terms of the auction were not WU and then they ask for it, that's another warning flag.

The issue with WU isn't so mcuh WU as it is the recourse. I can cancel a check, or question a credit card fee. Cash and WU are one way trips. You can't get your money back if there is a problem.

However even if you pick up the car in person, if someone has hijacked the sale, takes your money and runs. Are you asking for trouble because you used cash? No.

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Yep. WU is part of the problem but....
by Owyn / December 3, 2007 9:55 PM PST
In reply to: I see it.

The other part is that a "reputable" sellers account (98% satisfaction) was hijacked.

The comments about escrow seem like something eBay / Paypal / ... should be looking into as a service. Seems like a reasonable approach for larger ticket items, e.g. transactions > $1,000.

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How is Western Union part of the problem?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2007 11:10 PM PST

Western Union does what it does just fine. How are they complicit in this crime?


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by Owyn / December 3, 2007 11:14 PM PST

Using WU as a payment method on eBay is a risky method.

There, happy??

WU provides a useful and reliable way to get money to a destination that is otherwise unreachable.

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" WU is part of the problem "
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 4, 2007 12:32 AM PST
In reply to: Ok....

Was what I was asking about. WU is WU. It works well for what it does and when its needed.


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by Owyn / December 5, 2007 12:10 AM PST

"EBay is not responsible for criminals who abuse its online auction service, said a company spokeswoman after CBC News reported on a Calgary man who lost $20,000 on an eBay transaction.

"That's an internet problem, not an eBay problem," Erin Sufrin said Monday about criminals engineering scams through the service."


"Duraj wired $20,000 from his bank account's line of credit, thinking he was using PayPal, eBay's protected payment service. But the thief actually sent Duraj a fake duplicate PayPal site."

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