A Note on the Scammers from China

I had been resisting doing a write-up on this topic since I didn't want anyone to feel like I was trying to insult their intelligence, but a look at recent "Sold" listings on eBay shows that people are still falling for a very avoidable scam currently plaguing eBay. Those who shop eBay often have probably noticed in recent weeks a large increase in scams originating from China. If you haven't heard of these shenanigans, these listings generally have a number of traits in common:

  • The use the image of a recently listed item (hard to detect if you don't frequent eBay).
  • The seller is located in China with 0 feedback and typically has a name consisting of random letters followed by random numbers (i.e. vxalh79631691).
  • The item is generally a high value item (such as a $400 locomotive) listed for a "Buy it Now" number in the teens ($12.12) and includes free shipping (again, from China).
  • The description will generally match the listing title verbatim.

An experienced buyer is going to see the red flags and stay away from the listing, but those who lurk on eBay less often may fall prey to this scam. This scam is not specific to G scale trains - it has shown up in other train categories and probably others. At the time of this writing, eBay has not come up with an effective solution to combat these fake listings but has generally been decent at removing them in a timely matter (but not always, as evident by the number of these listings that have sold). The best course of action when you see these listings is to report them (the link is at the top-right above the description) and move on.

If a deal is too good to be true, it is!

Stay smart guys & gals.

- Tom