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Protecting yourself against scams


We've seen fake emails and websites that are designed to look like they come from us, or copy our logo and discuss features and services that we offer. In reality, bad guys use these emails and sites to rip people off.

These scams often involve car purchases outside of eBay. For example, a seller offers a car (that they have no intention of delivering) at a very low price. When a transaction starts, they send the buyer fake invoices, often asking for payment via wire transfer while claiming to be affiliated with eBay or PayPal, or offering some sort of "payment protection" or "purchase protection". Vehicles aren't eligible for eBay Money Back Guarantee on eBay.com.au, and eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection is only available for vehicles purchased on eBayMotors.com (i.e. not available in Australia).

How to tell if it's a scam

You can avoid scams by knowing what to watch out for. Here are some of the most common scams we've seen:

Fake (spoof) emails

Spoof emails appear as if they came from a legitimate business like eBay, but they're actually from scammers who want to trick you into giving out personal information such as your address, or sending money via wire transfer.

Here are some examples:

Pretending to offer eBay features and services

Scammers often use our name, features and services to make it seem like the transaction is legitimate. For example:

False claims

The seller lies about a variety of things, including:

  • Asking for payment via wire transfer because they lost their job and need the cash immediately.

  • Saying they can't show the car because it's stored at a shipping company.

  • Not being able to meet in person because they're out of the country.

Tips on how to avoid scams

Follow these tips when buying a car or making another type of purchase on eBay.

Double-check if the email is really from eBay.
Make sure an email is from us by checking your messages in My eBay. Go to My eBay, and then click the Messages tab. If you don't see the same message there, the email is a fake.
Complete the transaction on eBay.
Go through your entire transaction on eBay because it allows you to be eligible for our features and services, including our Feedback system and requests for a member's contact information.
Note: Although eBay Money Back Guarantee covers most items on eBay.com.au, vehicles are one of the categories that isn't eligible.
Use caution when you pay in person with cash.
When you buy a big-ticket item like a car, it's always a good idea to see it in person first so you can inspect it before closing the deal. You can pay with cash at that time, but make sure you stay alert, keep your cell phone within easy reach, and bring someone along to keep you company.
Beware of fake escrow services.
Beware of emails with links to a fake escrow website. Escrow isn't an integrated payment method on eBay.com.au.

Report a problem

Be vigilant. If you come across something that doesn't seem right, let us know and report it to the authorities. Here's what you can do:

  • Forward suspicious and fake (spoof) emails to spoof@ebay.com

  • Contact the police. Let them know we'll gladly cooperate in the investigation. The officer can find more information and contact us from our Law Enforcement page.

  • If one of the parties involved is located within the United States, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

What to do if...

You already paid for the item

Contact the company you made the payment through to see if you can cancel or dispute the payment.

We recommend contacting local authorities, both where you live and where the seller lives. Let the officers know that eBay is happy to cooperate in the investigation. The officer can find more information and contact us from our Law Enforcement page.


You didn't get the item

If you haven't received the item you paid for or it doesn't match the seller's description, request a refund or report that you didn't receive the item in My eBay.

Note: Vehicles are not eligible for eBay Money Back Guarantee on eBay.com.au.

Contact us

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