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Tue Nov 30 2021 22:09:07

Sellers Should Beware the Shipping Switcharoo Scam

By: Ina Steiner

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There's a twist on an online scam that targets sellers, and while it's not brand new, the shipping switcharoo scam may catch sellers off guard during the busy holiday shopping season. 

Typically the way the "traditional" shipping-switcharoo scam works is that a buyer asks the seller to ship their item to a different address. If the seller complies, they lose any Item Not Received claims opened by the buyer. (Here's a recent thread on the eBay boards where sellers are discussing the risks of complying with such requests.)

Some sellers play it by ear anyway, wanting to accommodate their buyers' requests, especially during the holidays when people are buying gifts for far-away family and friends. As one seller wrote, "I change addresses for buyers frequently and in 23 years of selling here I have never had a buyer scam me by asking for such," though they qualified their response.

Another seller pointed out the "twist" on this scam on the thread, writing, "You know, sometimes those requests to change the shipping address are initiated by someone other than the buyer."

We have heard other reports of  scammers who reportedly "watch" eBay listings, and once they see the item is sold, they reach out to the seller and say they just bought the item and want it shipped to their family member as a gift - but they are not the buyer!

eBay explains its stance on changing a shipping address after a purchase. In a nutshell, eBay tells buyers that sellers generally can't change the shipping address that buyers provided at checkout. "If they haven't yet sent the item, the best thing to do is to ask the seller to cancel the transaction, then buy the item again with the correct shipping address."

The eBay help page goes on to say: "If you made your purchase in the last hour, you can cancel the order yourself. We'll ask the seller to confirm that they haven't sent the item yet. If it's been more than an hour since your purchase, you'll need to contact the seller and ask them to cancel it for you."

As if that wasn't disheartening enough, the Better Business Bureau recently listed the top 12 scams of Christmas, including fake alerts about compromised accounts and fake shipping notifications.

Scammers are taking advantage of sellers' goodwill and the hectic season, so remain vigilant as a seller and of course as a buyer as well. And feel free to share your horror stories to help your fellow sellers look out for scams.



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by: AddyUp This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 1 06:53:14 2021

You just have to use a bit of common sense. I've sent items to a different address several times with no problems. But only with cheapo items. Anything remotely expensive, no way.

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by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 2 01:55:13 2021

Just had a problem on website. Customer listed street address as 1234 South 4th. His bank came back as failed address to what is listed on his bank card (typical not politically correct). We have our setting set slightly lax because some of the order people don't realize not adding either Street, Drive, or Avenue can caused the two servers to conflict. Normally I can google address partial and it will show the completed address with the St, Dr, Ave. Sometimes we might pop up two different addresses like 1234 South 4th St and 1234 South 4th Ave, then we email or call customer to verify which to use. Well, on this particular address it returned 4 different versions? I emailed customer to verify and he threw a fit. He refused to tell me which was right version. Stated to just pick one and he'd get it. Finally went to USPS and found out there was only 1234 S 4th St. I emailed him back trying to explain that when info comes back where name, card number, and CVC number match, but street address doesn't it can throw up red flag as stolen card. He replied that he lives in a small town of 600 population and everyone knows everyone there. Also I could just put his name on package and he'd get it. (which I know it would be sent back as undeliverable) Ends up he's just and old grumpy man that the world around him is moving way too fast and he's not liking modern technology one bit! Or maybe he didn't know if he lived on a street or ave? Bet he really threw a fit when phone numbers changed from 4 digits to 10! I've seen and went through a bunch of crazy stuff in the last 20 years as online vendor, but this ones up in the top 10!

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by: Bethofvt This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 2 16:36:36 2021

Eagle, You can believe him if he says he would get it with just his name.  I live in a town of about 1500 and since we are the only ones in town with our last name, I will gqt any and every package or letter that has my last name on it and our town zip code.  I have gotten mail here with my last name on it for more than 10 different people and with 15 didferent addresses over the years.  



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