Whatsapp Terror on eBay Classifieds: How to Protect yourself from Fraudsters

Anyone who wants to buy or sell a coveted smartphone or other popular goods on eBay classifieds sooner or later comes into contact with scammers. Against the background of a current scam, the star tells you how to trade safer on the marketplace.

Once again, a scam on eBay classifieds is making the rounds. The police warn against misuse of the “Secure Pay” feature in connection with Whatsapp messages to sellers. This is how it works: Supposed interested parties strike without lengthy negotiations and want to process the purchase with the platform’s payment function. Via the often stored phone number in the advertisement, messages follow via Whatsapp, which are supposed to confirm payment and ask you to deposit credit card data via a link to withdraw the money.

Behind this link is a live chat in which alleged eBay Classifieds employees want to take care of the payment processing. If you give the credit card details there, the fraudsters will inevitably be debited and not receive payment.

How to protect yourself as a buyer

To prevent such a scam – and many more attempts to steal goods or money from honest buyers and sellers on eBay classifieds – there are a handful of golden rules that prevent the worst without much effort.

For buyers, if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Meager prices on trendy items, such as a Playstation 5 or the latest iPhone, generate pressure and provoke unwise decisions. For such offers, pay particular attention to the following details:

How good is the seller’s communication? Is the language strikingly flawed, or can we have coherent conversations?

How old is the seller’s account? To do this, click on the other person’s icon in the chat or tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the app to go to the profile. You can find out how long the person has been there and how other users have rated the purchases and sales. You should refrain if these are dewy accounts without any reviews with only one active ad and no history.

If the payment function “Pay securely” is offered, the entire processing must be done via the website of eBay Kleinanzeigen. There are no live chats with employees, no confirmation links via Whatsapp, and generally no steps that take place outside the platform.

This is what you can do as a seller.

The exact instructions and rules apply to sellers. But since reasonable offers make you a magnet for fraud attempts, there are also a few helpful tips:

Do not include your mobile phone number in the ad. Although only registered users can access this information, an account at eBay Kleinanzeigen is created quickly. This prevents you from being contacted unsolicited on Whatsapp and requests transactions away from eBay classifieds.

It is also recommended to specify the address only vaguely for costly items. It doesn’t help to sell anything anyway if you give your exact address – but if someone wants to know where to get something, the information is worth gold. If at all, only share your private address if they have already spoken to your counterpart and feel good about it. If this does not happen, it is better to choose a neutral location near you for a pick-up.

When paying via eBay Classifieds (“Pay securely”), everything takes place within the platform; the buyer does not need your credit card or account because the money first goes to the forum, which it then transfers to you.

By the way: Sellers can also check the buyer’s profile by clicking on the chat icon or the said three points in the app. Again, new accounts don’t hide fraudsters per se, but the likelihood of honest intentions is higher with old versions unless they’ve been hacked.

Help when it’s too late.

If the child has fallen into the fountain and you have passed on your credit card details, contact the blocking hotline 11616 immediately. A report to the police can not hurt but rarely leads to success. If you have provided login data for your account but still have access, change the data as soon as possible.

If your mobile number has fallen into the hands of scammers, there is not much you can do. Even beyond the initial contact with the scammers, remain skeptical if you write unknown numbers and block connections that you cannot assign.

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