Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Mark Cripps did the story on our ring, it is in the news now

Mark Cripps wrote the story about what happened with our ring and eBay and Indonesian customs. To see this story please go here http://www.stoneycreeknews.com/scn/viewpoint/viewpoint_802106.html.

I hope it helps some one else from getting burned.

Please pass this story on so others can hear about it.

I have copied the article here as well.

Please let Mark Cripps know what you think about his story.

Grandmother's ring held ransom
Mark Cripps, Stoney Creek

(Jun 1, 2007)
At least twice a week, I receive an email made to look as if it is coming from eBay suggesting my account is in jeopardy if I don't update my information and report back as soon as possible.
I continue to forward these to the RCMP email fraud centre (info@phonebusters.com), despite the fact it seems almost impossible to control the fraudulent use of eBay and PayPal and other companies involved in the sale and trade of goods over the internet.
Recently, I received an email from a reader scammed a few weeks back by an eBay fraud artist who bilked this woman of a treasured family heirloom.
Needing some extra cash for her family, Lori-Lee Craig decided to sell her grandmother's ring, valued at more than $1,200. On social assistance, Ms. Craig hoped to garner some extra cash to pay off some bills, buy her four-year-old son a nice birthday present and use some of the money for a move to a larger residence.
She received a bid from a buyer who has a 100 per cent rating on eBay (ratings are used on eBay so sellers and buyers can determine who they are dealing with) asking whether the ring can be shipped immediately. The buyer says he wants to give it to his mother for Mother's Day.
After payment from PayPal was confirmed, Ms. Craig shipped the item via FedEx. The buyer was in Indonesia. She borrowed the money for the shipment costs, as the purchaser said he needed the ring immediately.
The next day, she received an email from PayPal saying the funds were being held for investigation into a possible fraud.
Ms. Craig called FedEx and asked them to stop delivery. She was told her shipping fee was not refundable ($116 down the drain) but that a stop shipment order had been processed.
Unfortunately, the item had already cleared customs and was sealed in a container. There was no way to get the item back until it was actually shipped to Indonesia.
Ms. Craig said it was a heartbreaking decision to sell her grandmother's ring, but she was trying to do something for her family, who lives on Ontario Works.
PayPal determined the account of a legitimate individual had been fraudulently accessed. They refunded the money to the owner of the stolen credit card used by the thief in Indonesia.
Expecting the money, Ms. Craig had planned a birthday party for her son and promised him a toy he had his heart set on.
"He does not understand we are $116 short of our monthly budget and now it is just not possible. No party, no money."
They continue to check with FedEx, hoping at the very least they will get the ring back. They find out from FedEx an individual attempted to pick up the ring but did not have the $360 wanted by Indonesian customs officials. He walked away. Indonesian customs now wants Ms. Craig to pay $360 to release the ring. She agreed. As soon as FedEx responded Ms. Craig was willing to pay the $360 to have the ring returned, they decided they wanted $900.
"We were prepared to spend our month's budget for food just to get the ring back," said Ms. Craig.
Through this entire ordeal, neither eBay or PayPal offered any assistance for what was basically a fraud orchestrated through their online services. eBay said it would refund the $1 posting fee they charge to put an item up for auction. How sweet they are.
"eBay and PayPal might as well put up a sign - Thieves Welcome," said a frustrated Ms. Craig.
Knowing she will likely never see her grandmother's ring again, Ms. Craig said she just wants to let others know eBay is becoming a target for scam artists all over the world. She started a blog and has received numerous responses from others who have been scammed.
She said she's learned eBay is being abused by fraud artists in numerous ways:
1. people are cracking the system and eBay is not addressing security concerns.
2. fake eBay emails - don't ever respond!
3. scammers who phone people and say they are calling on behalf of eBay and ask for personal info. Once they get this info, they go into people's personal accounts and change passwords, post fake items and always use Western Union for purchases.
4. letters arriving via pre-paid envelope. Look like they are from eBay or PayPal, ask for updated info.
I contacted eBay's PR firm Environics based in Toronto and they did not provide any comment on this specific case, offering up only basic rules for keeping eBay accounts safe.
"PayPal and eBay have flaws in their security and nothing to protect sellers," said Ms. Craig.
Personally, incidents like this reinforce for me why I will never purchase anything on eBay.
It's swimming with scammers and as long as eBay and PayPal continue to ignore problems, it's only going to get worse.
For those who use eBay, review the following Web site - http://pages.ebay.com/securitycenter/mrkt_safety.html.

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