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Camera Auctions Scam Alert on Ebay


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#1 Mitsos Triantopoulos

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 06:37 PM

Hello all,

I just wanted to alert everyone to a scam that is happening on Ebay.

Tim Carroll first noticed it in this post.

Some scammers "steal" the photos and descriptions from legitimate auctions. When the legit auctions end, then they recreate the auction using the photos and description from the original (legit) listing.

This just happened to me. I just finished selling an Eclair ACL last Saturday: see here. Now, today, just a few hours ago, some idiot put up this auction here. If anyone bids (doubtful, considering the zero feedback) and send money to this scamster they are not getting that camera, that's for sure, cause it's still sitting in my apartment...

That person is such an idiot that in the description they even put the link to my website where I had additional photos! I took that page down, of course...

As soon as I saw it I remembered Tim's post about that other camera, and I realized that it can't be a coincidence!

Mitsos
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 08:41 PM

I just wanted to alert everyone to a scam that is happening on Ebay.
This just happened to me. I just finished selling an Eclair ACL last Saturday: see here. Now, today, just a few hours ago, some idiot put up this auction here. If anyone bids (doubtful, considering the zero feedback) and send money to this scamster they are not getting that camera, that's for sure, cause it's still sitting in my apartment...


Their are quite a few stange listings on ebay. My favorite are the folks that mix up "Victor Animatograph" with Victor Talking Machine, or talk about the company being names for some sort of Patent Victory. And not because the guys last name was Victor! (my interest in Cinematography extends to older 16mm projectors)

PLEASE take the time to report this to ebay. (the suspected fraud, not the Victor thingie) They WILL at least take the auction down so some unknowing person does not get stung. Unfortunatly with free web mail accounts, it is hard to keep these folks away - but something like this may well be reportable ot the authorities.
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#3 Mitsos Triantopoulos

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 08:48 PM

PLEASE take the time to report this to ebay. (the suspected fraud, not the Victor thingie) They WILL at least take the auction down so some unknowing person does not get stung. Unfortunatly with free web mail accounts, it is hard to keep these folks away - but something like this may well be reportable ot the authorities.


Yes, I reported it to Ebay immediately, even before I posted here. And as it's early in the auction, I hope they will do something about it quickly. Their fake auction has gone up to $350, but the bidders IDs are kept secret so it could just be scam bids as well...
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#4 david west

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 08:51 PM

just a suggestion:

dont take your site down!!!


whatever the idiot linked to say " this is a scam, do not bid!!""


simple justice....

reporting it would be good too.....

the real problem comes when someone bids....

if the bids get over some amount, around two grand, then ebay cancels the auction on a zero feedback seller....


then, people contact the seller directly and continue to get ripped off beacause the go outside of ebay....
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#5 Mitsos Triantopoulos

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:12 PM

just a suggestion:

dont take your site down!!!
whatever the idiot linked to say " this is a scam, do not bid!!""
simple justice....


That's exactly what I did!! Go check it out...!
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#6 Patrick Tong

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:22 PM

Hello all,

I just wanted to alert everyone to a scam that is happening on Ebay.

Tim Carroll first noticed it in this post.

Some scammers "steal" the photos and descriptions from legitimate auctions. When the legit auctions end, then they recreate the auction using the photos and description from the original (legit) listing.

This just happened to me. I just finished selling an Eclair ACL last Saturday: see here. Now, today, just a few hours ago, some idiot put up this auction here. If anyone bids (doubtful, considering the zero feedback) and send money to this scamster they are not getting that camera, that's for sure, cause it's still sitting in my apartment...

That person is such an idiot that in the description they even put the link to my website where I had additional photos! I took that page down, of course...

As soon as I saw it I remembered Tim's post about that other camera, and I realized that it can't be a coincidence!

Mitsos



Noted...Thanks Mitsos :) :)
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#7 Mknmovies

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 02:15 AM

Wanna buy a cheap Arriflex / Arri 16SR 16SB SRI SRII SRIII / Cinema Products CP-16 GSMO / Bolex / Aaton / Frezzolini / Eclair / Beaulieu / Bell and Howell / Filmo / Scoopic, but you don?t want to ripped off on Ebay?

You know what? I have the scoop on all of that. Here is what?s going on in the Ebay wild wild west.

The scam - part I

4 months ago I see an Arriflex SRI on Ebay. Starting bid $1200.00. What the hell, right? So I bid. And within hours I'm outbid. The sale goes up to $7,200.00 and closes. The sellers Ebay name? cheapchick4all with over 150 positive feedbacks. Couple of days later I get an email that says the other buyers wasted the sellers time, but if I wanted to they would sell it to me for the $1,200.00. Wow. Great!

Now here?s where it gets interesting... I get an email from Ebay, that?s right gang - Ebay. Its the Safe Harbor security center informing me that the seller, cheapchick4all is a valued member of the Ebay community, with well over $6,800.00 in a Pay Pal account. However, because the seller has moved to London and because his relocation requires his account to be updated in a couple of weeks time, Ebay is giving me consent to deal with the seller now, without the use of Pay Pal. Western Union will be fine.

Then I get another email from Ebay. The email states that the security center has been contacted by the seller with concerns that I may not be comfortable with dealing with him in this "akward" sales situation. An official endorsement is made stating the funds are safe and if the seller does not perform, my monies will be returned by Ebay.

I go to Western Union. I hand over $1,320.00. I email the seller via the original "contact the seller" link on the auction page where I first saw the camera on Ebay. I ask them several basic questions, No response. I email them once more, I will give them the access code to release the funds at a Western Union office in London, if they provide me with a shipping tracking number. No response from the seller on the site at all.

Then I get an email from the seller and I notice that the email address that he or she is using does not match the one off of Ebay. It's Close, but not exact. The Email is screaming at me. I'm screwing up his finances, he has already shipped the camera, he will leave negative feedback, nag nag nag. Most importantly (hang with me here guys) He demands the Western Union access number before he gives me the shipping number. HE GOT MY EMAIL FROM THE EBAY SITE. But he did not RESPOND from the email given to Ebay.

That sent my warning flags up. Why? Because that?s the sort of thing that someone might do if they are trying to cover the tracks they make. Hide tracks from Ebay, and to keep the scam auction ongoing without negative feedbacks. I sent copies of all of the emails to Ebay. Asked a simple question. Did they send the Emails I got? Sure as hell, they were ALL bogus. EVEN THE ONES FROM EBAY. These guys are so good they even hacked the Ebay Email font system and gave themselves and Ebay web address like www.Ebaysecuritycenter.com. They were pretty slick.

So I went back to Western Union, retrieved my $1,200.00 (I lost the $120 in service fees) and contacted Ebay about pursuing the fraud. I never let on to the guy how I discovered the scam, I just played along. I asked if they wanted to set him up.

Ebay didn't do CRAP. They sent me emails giving advice on avoiding future scams, Thank you emails, and four or five others that didn't do a thing but waste space on the computer screen.

The Scam - Part II

Months go by. I keep looking on Ebay for good deals. I search every morning. Every night. Funny thing, cheapchick4all? They keep re-listing the same camera over and over again. It sells, over and over again too. Then it hits me, this scam artist I dealt with, he runs the auction that generates the leads they need to find suckers (like me). I contact Ebay, tell them what now appears to me to be perfectly clear.

Once more, Ebay didn't do CRAP. They sent me emails giving advice on avoiding future scams, Thank you emails, and yada yada yada. BUT the Arriflex SRI? Suddenly it goes off the radar on Ebay. Never to return.

The Scam - Part III

So now months later I'm cruising Ebay, when guess what I see? A beautiful ECLAIR CAMERA at a price that I can afford too. Whoever owns it, sure loves it. What the hell. I bid. Then I'm outbid. The auction closes somewhere out of my reach. (I?m sure it was the same camera you just mentioned too.)

The very next day the Camera is re-listed on a 24 hour sale. It claims that the Buyer in the original auction flaked out. So, please contact the seller before you bid, because he does not want to waste his time on losers like the last guy. I send him an email as required. He invites me to buy the camera for his base price of $1,500.00 and use - Western Union. He says that he can?t use his Pay Pal account because he has moved to? - Yep! You guessed it - LONDON!

So I figure I've got the same a**ho** on the line for a second time. I tell him, guess what- I was burned before, so send me the camera FIRST. I'll pay you SECOND. I contact Ebay. For the third time, Ebay didn't do CRAP. They sent me emails giving advice on avoiding future scams, Thankyou emails, and yada yada yada. But the camera auction? Ebay TKO'ed me and closed out the auction. Yeah OK Ebay, thanks for nothing. Screw it...

I?m gonna Charles Bronson this a**ho**.

The Scam - PLOT TWIST and CONCLUSION

I sent the con artist guy an email - with an attachment file that claimed to be an access code from Western Union on the sale of the camera. He probably hoped to find $$$ inside the file. Instead when (and if) he opened it, he should have found a picture of a redneck man with a shotgun pointed eye level to the viewer - told him life was full of surprises. (I wonder how long it took for the virus to wipe his drive?)

I hope that this helps someone avoid getting ripped off because search engines everywhere key in on these message boards and someone somewhere may save themselves a couple of thousand dollars just reading what I spent an hour and a half typing.

And I suppose its also possible that the guy with the wiped out drive may be back on line by now - Hell he could be reading this too. If so -

Hey pal? (As they like to say in London) do me a favor, eh? - AND PISS OFF!!!
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#8 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 05:15 AM

Hey Mknmovies that was very well written, very informative...

eBay is full of surprises, never buy anything thats not through them direct (by dealing off eBay) never settle for 2nd chance offers - as they are the easiest way to screw you and of course be aware of the FAKE listings... this is a COMMON problem with eBay, i have found so many beautiful steadicam rigs that would just not be real...

Whats often the case is the hacker will get into someone's account, one that sells say T-shirts for living and has 1000 positive feedback... their account may have not been used recently, so its perfect for heckers... suddenly, this great seller has a great camera on for sale... you bid you win... no camera... i guess checking his previous sales, and seeing its all Tshirts and no camera stuff could have given the scam away...

best bet you have is you buy what you can see and inspect in your own town. I deal with eBay very often and have bought numerous things, including 16mm cameras... just do your homework before bidding and if its TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS. By watching what you are intersted in, seeing few products go pass, you will soon learn which sellers deal in that department and similar...

As long as you have reported this eBay FAKE auction we are currently discussing, it will be taken off before it hits the end... eBay has to do that, so dont stress it...

PS. I am selling an NTSC 4" L4 PRO monitor on eBay soon if anyone is interested :) Just bought it and realised its NTSC and i live in Australia :huh: nice little monitor for on board LCD viewing (video tap) or rigs like Glidecam and Steadicam...
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#9 Tim Carroll

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 11:23 AM

As stated in a number of other posts, I have been looking for a decent Arri 16S for a few months now. A few weeks ago, there was a cherry one on ebay, the seller in London. Got bid up to $2500 and I was outbid at the last minute. I figure, fine I'll find another one. Two days later I get an ebay Second Chance bid offer saying the top bidder had backed out, wanted to know if I still wanted the camera for my last bid. I said sure. Got another ebay email but things did not sound quite right. After going back and forth a few times, I notified ebay and the whole thing was a scam, but it all looked official, all with official ebay logos and letterhead, etc.

Like stated above, I think the original lister is using the auction as a way to obtain the email addresses of multiple bidders, then offering all of them second chance offers in hopes of getting money from each one.

The other disturbing thing I have noticed in the movie camera section of ebay is all the zero feedback bidders who are running the price up on camera auctions. I have to believe many of them are scammers.

A few things I have done lately (I did finally win an auction on an Arri 16s) is when I find an auction that I am interested in, I email the seller and ask if I can come by and look at it before bidding. The legit auctions will always say yes, where the scammers will not reply. If the auction is somewhere very far from where I live, I always make up a friend who lives in the city of the seller and say he would like to come by and look at it before I bid. Has worked out pretty well so far.

OH MY GOD, THIS GUY IS BACK

That is the auction I reported on a few weeks ago, he is auctioning the same thing off again. Unbelievable.

-Tim Carroll
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#10 andrewbuchanan

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 12:00 PM

Their are quite a few stange listings on ebay. My favorite are the folks that mix up "Victor Animatograph" with Victor Talking Machine, or talk about the company being names for some sort of Patent Victory. And not because the guys last name was Victor! (my interest in Cinematography extends to older 16mm projectors)


I love to write in to the seller and ask a question to test their expertise. This can be especially funny if you completely fabricate the feature you are asking about. For example "Is this the 3000FPS Model Canon Scoopic or the 4500FPS Model? Any information would be appreciated". It is always fun to hear back abut sough-after silent Arri IIC, the rare crystal hand-cranked Bolex, or the venerable 3000FPS Scoopic, which can really go through 100' daylight loads.
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#11 Mitsos Triantopoulos

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 02:45 PM

The other disturbing thing I have noticed in the movie camera section of ebay is all the zero feedback bidders who are running the price up on camera auctions. I have to believe many of them are scammers.


Yes, I think that it is these scammers who want to see the other bidders' bids, and by getting the highest bid they know that they can target ALL the other bidders for the bogus 2nd chance offers. Actually, someone from the Eclair mailing list emailed me and told me that the bidders in my auction had already received bogus 2nd chance offers for the Eclair! I started sending messages to every one of the bidders telling them that I had not made any 2nd Chance Offer. But, guess what? Ebay allows only a limited number of messages you can send to other members, so I could not notify all of my bidders...!

By the way, just for the record, the auction for my Eclair was won by someone with zero feedback but he is a legitimate buyer. He is, actually, the one person who came by my apartment to examine the camera.

Still no word from Ebay about the Eclair scammer...!

Mitsos
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#12 G. Stephen Bruno

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 03:59 PM

Hi, thanks for all the usefull info,
Like most student filmmakers, I constantly search for K-3's and other equipment on ebay. Has anybody had trouble with buying a K-3, or is it just with the older highend cameras?

Also...
hell, should i just save up and buy a new super16 K-3, and if so, how "New" would it be?


thanks -
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#13 Paul Vanderhoof

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 08:47 PM

I've seen the exact same scam scenarios --- copying other peoples adds and pics and then ending the auctions suddenly or with someone's strange, high bid, then contacting me with a "second chance offer". They all kept talking about the Ebay "Safe Harbor" thing but then wanted me to send money by bank transfer or Western Union. I smelled a rotten fish right away and turned it into Ebay. Theywon't tell you just what they are doing, but they do go after these guys. This one guy kept using the same wording so I kept finding his auctins and turning him in. All his auctins got pulled within 30 mins of my reporting him.

I think its several people, probably some of the Nigerian scammers, no doubt. But the modus operendi is almost always the same -- a bogus auctions with something sweet at a too low price that ends mysteriously and then you are contacted later privately. Also, I noticed a lot of these scam adds tried to sneak a different email into the auction under the pretense that they "didn't check" their Ebay email account or that it "had a problem". Yeah, like, it isn't their Ebay account but a hijacked account from someone dumb enough to answer one of those fake Ebay "your account will expire" emails.

Basically, if it seems too good to be true, IT IS too good to be true! I always demand Ebay Escrow for anything over $500.00 and I am using the "can I come by and see it" line, also try to ask detailed questions to see if the seller actually understands anything about the item. Lately I have only been bidding on stuffy that I can go see / pickup in person.

Ebay is just rife with scams now and I think that Ebay has no clue how to protect legitimate people from these scams but doesn't want to admit that publicly because the're raking in the gold and don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg even if that goose is biting us in the a**!
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#14 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 10:35 PM

Wanna buy a cheap Arriflex / Arri 16SR 16SB SRI SRII SRIII / Cinema Products CP-16 GSMO / Bolex / Aaton / Frezzolini / Eclair / Beaulieu / Bell and Howell / Filmo / Scoopic, but you don?t want to ripped off on Ebay?

Now here?s where it gets interesting... I get an email from Ebay, that?s right gang - Ebay. Its the Safe Harbor security center informing me that the seller, cheapchick4all is a valued member of the Ebay community, with well over $6,800.00 in a Pay Pal account. However, because the seller has moved to London and because his relocation requires his account to be updated in a couple of weeks time, Ebay is giving me consent to deal with the seller now, without the use of Pay Pal. Western Union will be fine.

These guys are so good they even hacked the Ebay Email font system and gave themselves and Ebay web address like www.Ebaysecuritycenter.com. They were pretty slick.


Actually, I is quite easy to register a domain name with anything you want. A hard to create address would have been something like security.ebay.com The name you gave has notthing to do with e-bay.
From the WHOIS server:
Domain Name.......... ebaysecuritycenter.com
Creation Date........ 2004-11-04
Registration Date.... 2004-11-04
Expiry Date.......... 2005-11-04
Organisation Name.... Deborah Logan
Organisation Address. 10131 Ranger Rd
Organisation Address.
Organisation Address. Fairfax
Organisation Address. 22030
Organisation Address. VA
Organisation Address. UNITED STATES
Admin Email.......... domeniul_meu@yahoo.com

Compare to
Registrant:
eBay, Inc.
2005 E. Hamilton Ave., Ste. 350
2125 Hamilton Ave
San Jose, CA 95125
US

Domain Name: EBAY.COM

I would have my hair stand on end if I got any mail proporting to be from ebay intending to facilitate a sale... and since ebay owns PAyPla they are certin to want you to use paypal to pay.
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#15 Mitch Gross

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 11:13 PM

No matter where the camera is, there is sure to be a reputable camera rental house somewhere in the vicinity. I would always suggest that you have the gear sent to the the rental house for evaluation, and state that you are willing to pay for this service. Not only will this verify what you are buying, but you should have the gear checked anyway even in a legitimate auction.
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#16 Mitsos Triantopoulos

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 12:02 AM

OH MY GOD, THIS GUY IS BACK

That is the auction I reported on a few weeks ago, he is auctioning the same thing off again. Unbelievable.

-Tim Carroll

For this one, it seems that they have hijacked an account. If you see, the seller's account has an 11(100%) positive feedback but it is all from transactions that took place in 2000. I bet someone has 'abandoned' their ebay account, and these scammers got hold of the password and are using the account for the scam...

Mitsos Triantopoulos
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#17 Robert Glenn

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 12:28 AM

Ebay is just rife with scams now and I think that Ebay has no clue how to protect legitimate people from these scams but doesn't want to admit that publicly because the're raking in the gold and don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg even if that goose is biting us in the a**!


I totally agree. I've had over 130 transactions on ebay dating back to 1997, but I've had 2 bad selling experiences in the past couple of months. Not to say that scamming hasn't existed since eBay started, but I now know that ebay/paypal offer little or no seller protection, and no doubt little or no buyer protection either. BEWARE!
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#18 Craig Knowles

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 04:11 PM

Buyer Beware

I lost $1400 on eBay several years ago. In spite of all the proclamations about "Safe" this, and "Harbour? that, eBay was of no help whatsoever. My money was long gone with no recourse, no tracking, all the credentials listed on eBay were fake, etc, etc. This was before PayPal.

It's a sellers market, and it will continue to be until eBay takes responsibility for these kinds of things and becomes serious about dealing with this blatant fraud and scam artists.

Mitsos:

I was one of the bidders on your Éclair, and I received a second chance offer as well. I realized it was a scam because the second chance offer was 1/3 of the closing price of the camera, but the email looked VERY real.
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#19 stoop

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 06:18 PM

Dont ever buy a K3 from ebay thats advertised as NEW - buy it now for £150. It wont be new - it will be a peice of crap from a Ukranian factory floor!!!!

I got stung big time - fortunatley I got a refund!

Be carfull out there!

stoop
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#20 Nate Downes

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 09:20 AM

If you're going to buy a K3, make sure it's from a reputable agent, like k3camera or Otto. (Don't know if Raf carries the K3)
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The Slider

Aerial Filmworks