Powerbook eBay scams?

wide

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 17, 2004
746
0
NYC
I've been thinking about getting an iBook for some time now, but earlier today I thought I'd look at what people are selling on Ebay. well, i've found some deals that look too good to be true. $700 for a high end 12.1 inch powerbook and $1000 for a completely maxed out 15 inch powerbook....

the strange thing is, some of the people listing these items have excellent feedback..

even stranger, all of these auctions were started in the past few hours for a 1-day period..

any thoughts?
 

Heb1228

macrumors 68020
Feb 3, 2004
2,217
0
Virginia Beach, VA
If they are selling really new computers like that for those prices, I'd guess they are probably stolen. When I used to work at a major computer store that sold macs, we had a period of about 2 weeks when we had about 4 desktop macs stolen right out of our store. I figured they probably sold them on eBay or something like that. People don't steal PCs because they have hardly any resale value. Thats my guess anyways.
 

wide

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 17, 2004
746
0
NYC
thanks heb

I thought that could be a possibility. the other day someone tried to sell me a Sony DV camera on the street that he had stolen from the postal carrier or something...

it's odd--i am quite sure that this is a scam, something illegal, or somethign that just will not work out, yet and am still looking into buying one of these computers.
 

tsk

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2004
642
0
Wisconsin
Do you have links to the auctions?

Often times accounts get hijacked.

Warning signs are:

-Won't take credit cards or paypal especially if located in another country. For that matter, if it says they are registered in one country and the auction lists another.

-The big ticket item looks strange compared to the other items they have sold (check their other past auctions and look at what they typically buy or sell). ie the person normally sells jewelry but now is selling 5 PB's new in the box.

-Won't let you pick up in person (although lots of people like to tack on lots of shipping fees).


However, if they are just starting the auction at $700, that's not a big deal. If they have it listed as a Buy It Now at $750, that's very odd. An auction started low will always go much higher so they no doubt anticipate action.
 

chucknorris

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2005
559
0
Moscow, ID (No Kremlin here!)
Have I got a story about this!

I saw a 17" pb on Yahoo Auctions with maxed out ram, a 60 gig ipod mini, airport express base station, adobe cs2, final cut pro, etc., etc. for....$950 shipped! I emailed the guy and he said he could no longer take credit card payments, and that the only way he was going to be able to take payment was via moneygram. That set off the red flags, so I wrote him and said that I would not pay via moneygram. Then he wrote back saying that I could just email (!!) him my cc information. I stood my ground, got similar lame responses, then finally just thanked the guy for fitting the scammer stereotype so well. Oh, he also had no feedback.
 

aquajet

macrumors 68020
Feb 12, 2005
2,384
0
VA
chucknorris said:
I saw a 17" pb on Yahoo Auctions with maxed out ram, a 60 gig ipod mini, airport express base station, adobe cs2, final cut pro, etc., etc. for....$950 shipped! I emailed the guy and he said he could no longer take credit card payments, and that the only way he was going to be able to take payment was via moneygram. That set off the red flags, so I wrote him and said that I would not pay via moneygram. Then he wrote back saying that I could just email (!!) him my cc information. I stood my ground, got similar lame responses, then finally just thanked the guy for fitting the scammer stereotype so well. Oh, he also had no feedback.
Sounds like a crook to me.
 

Macky-Mac

macrumors 68030
May 18, 2004
2,589
1,142
wide said:
......it's odd--i am quite sure that this is a scam, something illegal, or somethign that just will not work out, yet and am still looking into buying one of these computers.
it's a well known type of scam on ebay

if you fall for it, usually what happens is that you send money and never recieve what you bought............they don't even have to steal something to sell you cuz what they want is for you to wire them money......and once you've done that, it's gone forever and you'll never hear from them again
 

Arnaud

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2005
430
0
The Moon
Macky-Mac said:
it's a well known type of scam on ebay

if you fall for it, usually what happens is that you send money and never recieve what you bought............they don't even have to steal something to sell you cuz what they want is for you to wire them money......and once you've done that, it's gone forever and you'll never hear from them again
I'll complete from my own experience too. I saw a similar ad some months ago on eBay, somebody selling a Powerbook for a good price (€1000) from England (and I live in The Netherlands).

I got big doubts, but went on to contact the guy and ask details about the machines and all. I got a rather correct answer, so-called perfect state of the machine and ready to send, but the guy asked the money to be wired before sending the packet, which was a problem.

I told him so, and he answered back it was no problem, I could use a safer way with Moneygram including a key number etc, so that he'd send the machine as soon as the money was there and I'd send the key number as soon as the machine was received, everybody happy.

But...

The Moneygram website contains detailled information about this type of scams, and for example the fact that a key number is no protection, as ID from the concerned person is enough to access to the payment (ie without the key number).

So the real deal was: send the money to the guy via Moneygram, have him go to Moneygram with an ID, wait for years to receive the machine, cry.

---

I think eBay deals are a little like hoax emails, you have to listen to your instinct and be very careful when it's dubious :(

A.
 

powerbook911

macrumors 68040
Mar 15, 2005
3,735
158
Well, I hope these scams are minimized, for I plan to sell my Powerbook on ebay, when new ones come out, and I don't want those scams bringing down the value on mine. :)
 

wide

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 17, 2004
746
0
NYC
tsk said:
Do you have links to the auctions?

Often times accounts get hijacked.

Warning signs are:

-Won't take credit cards or paypal especially if located in another country. For that matter, if it says they are registered in one country and the auction lists another.

-The big ticket item looks strange compared to the other items they have sold (check their other past auctions and look at what they typically buy or sell). ie the person normally sells jewelry but now is selling 5 PB's new in the box.

-Won't let you pick up in person (although lots of people like to tack on lots of shipping fees).


However, if they are just starting the auction at $700, that's not a big deal. If they have it listed as a Buy It Now at $750, that's very odd. An auction started low will always go much higher so they no doubt anticipate action.
yes, these accounts seem really odd. they are all 1 day listings, and some of the vendors have usernames like "ladiesaccessories" -- fishy sounding considering they are selling a brand new powerbook.

i contacted a few of the people selling these computers, and i have come to the conclusion that it is just one person. i used two accounts to email them and i received the same exact response each time they responded.

furthermore, they said they were based in Europe and that they would want a moneytranfer through Western Union.

well, i guess it was too good to be true..oh well. at least the new ibooks will be out soon :)
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
powerbook911 said:
Well, I hope these scams are minimized, for I plan to sell my Powerbook on ebay, when new ones come out, and I don't want those scams bringing down the value on mine. :)
Sorry, that's the reality of eBay. Since eBay don't do nearly enough to proactively root out the scammers, you have to live in the environment of cheap but non-existent goods. THe Powerbook being one of the most sought after brands, it also attracts the thieves (Like Acura Integras)

You need to do everything you can to demonstrate that you are legit. Definitely take your own photos of the 'book, don't used copy and paste from Apple's website, neither text NOR photos.

Write your own description, including how long you have owned it, where you bought it, and why you are selling it, with a scrupulously honest description of the condition of the 'book. Don't say it's brand new or in the original box or in like new condition.

PayPal is really the only choice that gives the buyer some security. You will have to absorb the 3-5% cost, you are not allowed to charge a premium for PayPal payment. Alternatively, you can offer escrow -- there is a cost there as well. Don't even bother asking for money order or wire transfer, that brands you as 50% shady.

Give details of how and where it will be shipped from. It is fair to charge shipping based on UPS or FedEx actual rates, plus a small amount for boxing and handling. Don't offer free shipping (again, a scammer's signature).
 

bodeh6

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2005
772
0
CanadaRAM said:
Don't offer free shipping (again, a scammer's signature).
Really? I did not know that. I offered free shipping when I sold 2 of my cell phones. I set buy it now prices that I though were fair. Both phones were bought within 12-24 hours of posting the auction.
 

japasneezemonk

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2005
414
0
Nomad
What's more ridiculous? The awesome price for the Pb or the scammers feedback. you will notice that the last few items sold, are 0.99 cents or $1.00 sales.
 

tsk

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2004
642
0
Wisconsin
wide said:
yes, these accounts seem really odd. they are all 1 day listings, and some of the vendors have usernames like "ladiesaccessories" -- fishy sounding considering they are selling a brand new powerbook.

i contacted a few of the people selling these computers, and i have come to the conclusion that it is just one person. i used two accounts to email them and i received the same exact response each time they responded.
You need to report this to eBay then. The quicker eBay shuts down the accounts, the less chance they have of scamming someone.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
bodeh6 said:
Really? I did not know that. I offered free shipping when I sold 2 of my cell phones. I set buy it now prices that I though were fair. Both phones were bought within 12-24 hours of posting the auction.
Cell phones and other small items are different, because they can be shipped inexpensively thought he mail. Insured courier freight on a Powerbook is expensive. Given that profit margins on new Apple computers are often sub-3% (like, $60 on a $2000 machine), offering $50 worth of free shipping on a discounted unit is a red flag. Plus, every "eastern european" laptop scammer offers free shipping.
 

Plastic Avatar

macrumors member
Jan 26, 2004
52
0
West Virginia
I got burned on ebay.

Not proud of it.

Been an ebay'er since the beginning. Thought I was smart enough to know when I could trust someone when things got a little 'non-standard'.

I was wrong, and I lost $1500.... it took me almost a year and a half to save up enough money to buy another machine.

I got taken by someone using a 'suspended' account (which didn't show up as such until after I tried to contact ebay multiple times, with no response to this day). If I could have afforded a lawyer to take on ebay, I would have pursued the matter further.... but I had other obligations. Maybe enough people who got scammed because of a hole in ebay's system over the years will tempt a firm to start a class-action suit- heck, people do it to Apple all the time for minor offenses.

I actually haven't talked about this in a year because I've been so pissed off- at myself for not following the rules I'd always followed *and* at ebay for holes in their security, policing, and screening processes. And, it's pretty d@mn embarrassing to admit you've been had when you thought you were scam-proof.

ebay has become a joke, imho, for high-priced items. It used to be great, but not even PayPal prevents getting ripped off (the anti-PayPal website listed in a previous reply is great).

Check out the Better Business Bureau and FBI sites for info on Romanian and Russian rip-off artists and ebay- it's amazing how big the network of e-criminals has gotten.

Geez. Where was I going with this....

Oh, yeah.

In your case, a deal too good is probably too good to be true.

Probably the only way to prevent getting totally ripped off is either to pick the item up personally or use a reputable escrow service.

If you're searching for a good deal on last year's Macs, ebay is still a good place to look. I steer away from ebay for newer high-price items, though.

I'd rather pay an extra few hundred dollars to get it from Apple.

But that's just me =)
 

wide

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 17, 2004
746
0
NYC
tsk said:
You need to report this to eBay then. The quicker eBay shuts down the accounts, the less chance they have of scamming someone.
I definately will.

btw, that P-P-P-Powerbook site is great. many thanks for the link!