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Fri Jan 3 2020 08:27:23

Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy sellers are wondering if they're unwittingly being drawn into package delivery scams, and it appears orders for low-priced items could spell trouble. A reader sent a link to this thread on the Etsy forums where a seller explained that they became suspicious after receiving 3 orders for inexpensive items where tracking was requested. 

The seller was contacted by a recipient of one of the items who said they had never ordered it.

Another seller responded with a link to an article on Better Business Bureau (BBB) about a scam that could explain how online sellers are being drafted into the scheme.

The BBB explains in detail how the scam works. The victim orders an item from a website - "often brand name goods at a significant discount" - and receives a confirmation email with tracking number that eventually shows the package as delivered - but the package never arrives.

The shipping company confirms the package was delivered, "but to the wrong address," and when the victim notifies the website from which they ordered the item, it is unresponsive.

According to Etsy sellers, the scammers acquire legitimate tracking numbers by placing orders for low-priced goods.

Here's the crux of how it works for the scammer, according to the BBB:

"Some scam victims report filing a claim with PayPal because their protection promise says you can open a dispute if your order never arrives. But because the scammer technically shipped the package and the tracking number marked it as delivered, PayPal rejected their claims. One consumer reported to BBB Scam Tracker: "PayPal denied my claim because the seller showed the tracking number as being delivered. I even had UPS send PayPal the proof that I didn't receive my package, but all PayPal required is a tracking number loaded and shows delivered.""

Another seller said they'd seen several similar posts over the past week. They summarized how they believed the scam works:

1) scammer sells expensive item to their customer. They never intend to send it.
2) scammer buys a cheap item from you on Etsy that has tracking and gets it sent as a gift to an address nearby to their customer, in order to harvest the tracking number.
3) scammer can then use your tracking number to "prove" that their item was sent to their customer.

The seller also said they hadn't seen indications that Etsy has been able to help in those cases. "Suggestions were to cancel and refund these suspicious orders, and perhaps to temporarily de-activate the cheap item that you sell with tracking so they move on elsewhere."

The BBB article offers tips for the victim, but not for legitimate sellers. The seller who provided the link to the BBB article had the following suggestions:

"The defense is to recognize the warning signs and not get involved. All of these criteria must be met. 

- low-priced items bought as gifts going to different addresses
- customer states they must have tracking
- customer is a guest buyer"

Note that if scammers are exploiting sellers to carry out their scheme, it's likely they are turning to other platforms as well. Do you have any suggestions on how sellers, online marketplaces, and PayPal can thwart the scammers?



Comments (12) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Fri Jan 3 08:51:00 2020

''Brand name goods at a significant discount'' doesn't seem to have anything to do with Etsy.  Sure, Etsy has brand name goods sold as ''handmade'' -- but usually at a significant mark-up.  And Etsy has counterfeit brand name goods at low prices ($40 Chanel bags and $80 Rolex watches),  

If this is a real scam, then Etsy would be the best choice for purchasing the inexpensive items because -- as the whole world knows -- the Etsy marketplace is infested with fraud of various types, plus having the worst customer service ever.  

If I sold on Etsy, and was concerned about being dragged into the scam as the cheapie item seller, I would have a policy of NOT forwarding gift purchases to another address.  What else can you do?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 3 10:18:36 2020

That's scary because about 25-30% of my customers will ask for tracking at the time they place the order.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

by: pennyemporium This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 3 11:10:56 2020

paypal requires a seller to ship the the address that paypal provides to be covered by paypal protections.  if the buyer of the cheap widget wants a seller to ship the widget to a different address than on paypal... red flag.  

tracking protects the seller.  i have had several incidents where the buyer wanted the cheap widget shipped to different address than paypal; i cancel the order and ask them to replace with corrected address.  they vanish.  problem solved.  

also, scammer will need to show to their buyer that they shipped the expensive widget to the buyer address on paypal, and if over $250 would need to ship with signature confirmation, etc.  if the expensive widget was not shipped at all, and cheap widget shipped to different address... i can't see how the scammer is winning these cases.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 3 16:12:47 2020

@Life During Wartime

I just looked at etsy.. I can not find a $80 Rolex. is there a item number I can use to find it?

thanks

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Fri Jan 3 21:31:58 2020

RL15, you're right -- they're gone today!  Were there yesterday, listed as ''vintage''.  Today...vanished.

Am guessing employees are returning to work, and emails from the brand's attorneys were sent to Etsy to take that ''stuff'' down.

Sorry you missed them.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 4 17:12:43 2020

These are idiot scammers, it won't add up to anything of real concern, and it won't last too long, Paypal has many automated fraud filters at their disposal.
they will red flag these accounts, in short order.






Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Sun Jan 5 03:42:32 2020

The ''Rolex'' sellers are back.  The 2020 price is $90, though.  Search for vintage Rolex, and you will see a bunch of sellers, all with $90 watches.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 12:10:02 2020

@Life During Wartime

thanks for the heads up, I'll try and get one today

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

by: littlesaint This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 6 01:09:51 2020

@LifeDuring: Why would you knowingly purchase a counterfeit item?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

by: SammyCat This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 6 08:42:41 2020

I'm pretty sure @LifeDuring  was being sarcastic!

Interesting, I had this happen last year around this time but for an expensive item.  Sent with insurance and tracking of course.  Happened to me on ebay a hundred years ago, its an old scam that disappeared for a while.  Guess they're back at it.

Buyer said it didn't arrive and lodged a claim with Etsy.  I suggested she contact her post office to follow-up because it showed delivered.

Got back to me within hours and said that it had been left at an abandoned house a few doors away. She was so sorry.

Then, low-and-behold, it was not as described which was a lie.  Etsy sided with me because of proof of delivery, and so did Ebay back in the day (they held the money though and it took months to get it back!)  Chick filed another claim later that year saying it was not as described and Ebay once again accepted the claim but it didn't take so long to get the hold off my account.

Etsy buyer left a 1 star which will hound me forever and they seem to turn a blind eye to scammer buyers and its all on us.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Mon Jan 6 09:31:32 2020

No, I am NOT encouraging anyone to purchase counterfeit items on Etsy or anywhere else!  I mentioned the fake Rolex watches and counterfeit Chanel bags as examples of scamming that Etsy is well aware of, but chooses to ignore under its ''safe harbor'' policy.  Even though, according to Etsy's guidelines for selling, these items should never be for sale on the site since they are not handmade, vintage, or crafting supplies.  

I checked after midnight this AM, and once again most of the $90 watches were gone.  But they'll be beck, sadly.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?   Etsy Sellers Drawn into Package Delivery Scams?

This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Mon Jan 6 22:30:47 2020

Don’t offer tracking on inexpensive items.

Can selling venues police tracking? I think not, as third party fulfillment is allowed.

Some sellers do not have a clue that they are enabling a scammer...



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