Examples of Auction Frauds Commonly Used on eBay, PayPal, etc.

Auction Frauds: Scams Used on Auction Sites, Like eBay.

Auction fraud involves fraud via the misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale through an Internet auction site (like Ebay) or the non-delivery of products purchased through an Internet auction site. In other words, either the product you ordered isn't what the seller claimed it was, or the seller fails to deliver it, or the seller lies about some other aspect of the transaction. Very often the seller has nothing, he's just trying to get you to send him money, any way he can: check, credit card, wire, cashiers check.  Here's an example; the author posted a purebred dog (puppy) for sale on www.puppyfind.com, claiming he is an American priest, and using a U.S. address. 

As far as we know, PuppyFind.com is NOT a scam; but often scammers use it, by either placing false ads or responding to ads.  The key is when the respondent says

  • he is abroad and
  • wants to ship the dog, sight unseen,  and
  • to send the money via Western Union.  

When all of those conditions are met, it is almost certainly a scam.

Can you see the flaws?  We've highlighted key giveaways in red and numbered them:

Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 5:48 PM
Subject: Re: Puppyfind.com - Regarding Belle

Regards to your mail and the interest my
baby.Yes,i still have the baby(1) but,i am looking for a very confortable
home for him.I live in columbus,but currently in Benin Republic(2) with the
baby on a mission due to the occurence of the Hurricane Katrina.all i just
wanted for he is a confortable and a lovely home where he can feel at
home.I am giving he out for free because i don't really need the money all
i just wanted for him is a confortable and lovely home.I will only
need you to pay for her shipping and i will need altmost assurance from you
promising to take good and proper care of he,he is lovely,playfull
and never meanat anyone,he gets well with other pets and he is a
perfect friendmaker.Very affectionate towards children and other pets with
a Current vaccinations, vet exam,health certificate from a licensed vet and
a written guarantee of health( 1yr). recently checked by a licensed Vet
Doctor for heart, knees, skin, correct bite and eyes. I have been feeding
he maily on Kibbles,dry dog food and
fresh water.he will be shipped along with a bath and a brand new crate,
toys, carebooks, food sample, and dog kits.After your payment details is
received and confirmed at the Airport Shippers desk, l will
send copies of the acclimation certificate, puppy's
taking details and the flight if necesery which will
be processed(3).
shipment would come along with these
documents afterwhich copies would be sent to you in
advance for your puppy delievery and personal
confirmation and shipping guarantee.he will be
shipped on a next day delivery as soon as my
secretary confirms the shipping fee.(4)
when do you want
he shipped and do you want her shipped to your
nearest airport or to your house door.Thank you very
much and below is the contact information of the
church where i currently reside.
Catholic Christian Church Of God(5)
  1. Who refers to a puppy as a "baby"? Someone who doesn't speak English well, that's who!
  2. That makes no sense.  Why would someone who lives in Columbus (Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi?) go to Benin because of a Hurricane that occurred in Louisiana?  Wouldn't the  victims who needed help be in LA, not Benin?
  3. He plans to make the documents, which are supposed to be the proof that the dog is what he claims it is, available, AFTER the buyer pays him.  Why can't he fax or scan and email a copy so the buyer can verify them with the vet and other agencies?
  4. He will ship AFTER he receives payment?  What recourse will the buyer have if the dog never shows up?  None, of course.
  5. The "Catholic Christian Church of God"?  Oh, please!  That is not a name that the Catholic Church would use.  Pastors, ministers, and priests abound on the internet.  Just because someone SAYS that he is a priest does not mean he IS!!!
  6. Finally, this email is written at  the 2nd grade level.  The author clearly has either little or no education, or is incredibly sloppy.  If he has no education, how could he be a priest?  Have you ever seen a priest who would write this poorly?  And if he's just sloppy, would you trust him to safely ship a live dog?

Wake up and be alert to scams!  Read carefully and use your judgment!

If you believe you may have fallen victim to this type of scam and wish to report it, please file a complaint with the U.S. government Internet Fraud Complaints Center.  And tell us about it, so we can warn others!

And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive.  We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!




For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.