The 4 Stages of The Scam

Here are the 4 Stages of the scam in detail


Here are the 4 Stages of the scam in detail

Stage 1

Ebay Business account is created along with a Gmail and Paypal account.



Ebay and Paypal accounts are filled with a fake details. Paypal account is never connected to a bank account and remains unverified throughout.

The street address they use is real as far as the house/flat actually existing but the scammers don’t live there and the real occupants are unaware.

Sell either Iphone cases or Apple Lightening cables for 3 to 4 months, the cases are either knock off or old stock and while the designs vary they are always made by or imitating these 5 companies.

Michael Kors
Kate Spade
Cath Kidston
Ted Baker


They post off all purchases and for all intents and purposes are a legitimate Ebay account with a good feedback score.

They occasionally buy 99p items in batches of 5 from 5 separate sellers in order to fluff up their score, although the majority of their good feedback occurs through them being essentially a good Ebay trader.

Stage 2

After the initial 3 to 4 months legit period they start selling popular items such as Sony Dualshock Controllers, PS4/Xbox 1 games, Braun Oral B Toothbrushes and Lego sets among others.

These are sold for the most part in batches of 20, always between £14 and £16 each, on average they sell one batch every other day.


When the money from the first batch in their Paypal account is made available they spend it fast. They generally buy large quantities of Stamps, Iphones, Ipads and Laptops from legitimate Ebay Stores.

They usually sell 4 to 6 batches of items in total  (1 batch every other day), spending the funds as soon as they’re available.



To get around the fake street address issue they use the Click and Collect delivery option, this obscures their real address and allows them to walk into Argos and collect the day before’s purchases all in one go.

Stage 3

A week after stage 2, the first buyers start contacting the seller asking where their item is, they receive no response as the scammers go dark during stage 3.

Ebay makes buyers wait 8 days for a reply before issuing a refund.

The scammers put up another batch but of a smaller amount to sell quicker.

Any available funds are spent.

The bad feedback starts rolling in and the accounts 100% feedback score starts to diminish effectively destroying the perceived legitimacy of the account.


After the mandatory 8 day wait and with the negative feedback piling up, Ebay attempt to retrieve the money from the scammers Paypal account only to find the accounts stripped of cash.

Stage 4

Ebay have to dip into their own pocket to refund the average £1200 an account steals, Ebay then deactivate the account long after the horse has bolted, sometimes months later.

All that remains of a once legitimate looking account is an account with a score in the negatives, and all completed item pages are removed.


 Some Questions and Answers

Until now I’ve only told a few close friends about my findings and these were a few common questions I got asked regarding the scam cycle.

I’ll answer these here but feel free to ask anything

Why do they wait 3-4 months before ripping people off ?

There are 3 reasons for this…

1. When it comes to new Ebay sellers, Paypal have a security system in place in case of fraud, Paypal will hold any funds they make for 21 days. That is unless they pass certain milestones which I’ve seen confirmed by legit sellers, but Paypal haven’t got back to me with confirmation.

These milestones are…

90+ Days Old
Sold 25 Items
Sold $250 Worth of Items
Good Feedback and High Feedback Percentage Score

Due to them needing to spend the funds A.S.A.P. before refunds start being given they need to act legit for over 90 days.

2. I have a theory that Ebay give new business accounts a kind of probationary period of 100 days.

I was told via @askebay on Twitter that Ebay have an system that checks seller accounts for suspicious inventory changes and flags their account for the Risk Team (Ebay’s anti-fraud department) to check. If my theory is correct then after the probationary period the scammers account is flagged as a safe seller and the algorithm stops checking said account.

I also have some evidence of completely different unconnected scammers getting shut down by this system because they tried doing the scam the same day they opened the account

{day 1 link}

3. Buyers are less suspicious due to the account looking legit, the scammers have a larger net to cast so can sell more items quicker which nets more money.

Isn’t that a hell of a lot of effort just to steal £1000 every 4 months ?.

You’re correct

But only if they made one account every 4 months, if you check out this post below you’ll see the scale of the whole thing and just how much they’ve made in February alone.

{the scale of the problem link}

How long has this scam been going on?

It’s impossible to say exactly as Ebay only show sales for the last 3 months of listings, when I first started researching this back in October I could only see as far back as July and there were quite a few back then.

Sadly I wasn’t as diligent in saving screenshots and wasn’t aware Ebay only show the last 3 months of listings so they are lost to the sands of time.

Have you called the police or told Ebay/Paypal?.

As for the Police I actually emailed a detailed report back in November, with links, to Action Fraud which is the Police’s big U.K fraud reporting hub.

No reply and nothing was done and the scammers fleeced Christmas shoppers out of thousands of pounds.

I also rang and talked at length to Action Fraud recently and reported everything i had discovered over the last 6 months, including a lot of new information i’d discovered since November.

I was told because all I have are suspicions they aren’t enough to act on.

As for telling Ebay …

That’s covered here and in length.

[The Ebay problem link]

Paypal appear to have blanked me also, I only gave then the gist of the scam and told them I have a large list of the scammers Stage 1 and 2 accounts if they want. I even gave them my contact details but it’s been over a week now and seeming as they’d need the list I offered to act, and haven’t asked, I doubt they’ll do anything either.

One thought on “The 4 Stages of The Scam”

  1. That’s life these days on ebay that’s why they have protection,most of the time i think no one gives a fuck what’s going on most of the reports gets ignored and chucked away in the bin the police can only do what they can do fraud is on the rise and it will continue to Grow i recently bought a macbook pro the prick sent me some old pentium laptop instead of a 2016 macbook pro

    Liked by 1 person

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