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Crooked Seller Gives eBay a PR Nightmare for Other Alleged Pastime

The UK media are having a field day over a case of eBay fraud on a grand scale, but it’s the background of the alleged perpetrator that is making headlines. “Former Islamic extremist arrested on suspicion of £1m eBay scam” from the Guardian is one example of the coverage that must be making everyone at the online marketplace cringe – especially the part where it says the alleged offender is “suspected of defrauding buyers on auction website to fund terrorism.”

The seller accused of ripping off eBay shoppers is a “notorious Islamic extremist who went on to advise Labour Ministers as a “reformed jihadi,” according to the Daily Mail, which reported that the alleged scam “is believed to be one of the biggest frauds eBay has faced in the UK.” Note that the brother of the suspect told the Daily Mail the arrest and raids were part of a police plot to persecute his family.

An eBay UK spokesperson told EcommerceBytes in an emailed statement: “No customer was left out of pocket as a result of this case. We refunded every customer in full at the time of the event. We have dedicated in-house detection teams and alert systems in place to identify suspicious behaviour very quickly. Our teams share information with law enforcement agencies around the world to keep our marketplace safe for customers.”

It’s fascinating to read comments by alleged victims in this thread on a site called HotUKDeals.com from a year ago when the alleged fraud was supposed to have taken place by the eBay selling account, MiGenie, which is now NARU (suspended).

One shopper noted, “Sounds like their eBay was hacked” – which of course does happen – fraudsters can hijack an eBay account and put up fake listings using the previous history of the real seller as a testimonial to convince would-be shoppers of their trustworthiness.

MiGenie also had a website and Facebook business page. As another shopper noted, MiGenie had sold only sweaters. We were unable to view the past activity of the eBay account due to its feedback having been made private, but we observed that the Facebook account hadn’t been active since the previous year – December 2013. It was a year later in December 2014 that MiGenie’s eBay account began listing expensive electronics.

Shoppers on the Deals site went on to report their progress in getting reimbursed from eBay.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.