Monday, September 2, 2013

iPhone Scam on eBay - Sellers Beware!

This post is intended for newer sellers on eBay. Be careful selling a used iPhone if you don't have much experience as a seller. You are a target for scams! Here is how one of the scams goes:

Unscrupulous buyers (aka, crooks), scope out iPhones and other expensive electronics to purchase. They specifically look for sellers with low feedback who look inexperienced. Their profiles also look new - probably because they open new accounts intentionally to run scams. The buyer will purchase the phone from you. Then, after receiving it, they will either say it doesn't work properly, or it isn't as described in the listing, and want to return it for a refund.

The buyer will arrange to ship the item back to you. When you receive it back, it won't be the same phone you shipped to them. They will have either switched it out with another broken or unusable phone, or taken specific parts out of it so that it doesn't work. So you will have refunded the money to the buyer, and end up with a phone that is worthless.

The "guts" of an iPhone (and other smartphones) can be sold for cash at pawn shops. Also, scammers are gluing together parts of iPhones and selling them as new on the streets, and using them to trade for drugs or prostitution. (See this article, "Scammers Gluing Together Frankenstein iPhones Out of Old Broken Parts.) These scammers are using eBay to harvest the parts for their Frankenstein phones.

So, if you have an iPhone or smartphone to sell, use Amazon's Trade-In Program. The money is guaranteed, you won't have to worry about customer returns, you receive Amazon gift card credit for the phone, and the whole process takes about a week.

Learn more about selling on eBay by taking one of my online courses. The school has just launched, but we have many more classes under development, including eBay for Beginners. Check out the course catalog here, and sign up for my newsletter here to stay informed about new classes and trainings.

Be safe online!


Ivy said...

Thanks for the heads up! Sadly, that one can get any of us, new or older sellers.

Unknown said...

Wow I didn't know that scammers would do all that to get iPhones. That is just ridiculous! Some people will do anything for a dollar even if that means exchanging their defective product for a good one.

It's a shame.