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Protecting yourself against scams
In this article
In this article


We've seen fake emails and websites that are designed to look like they come from us, or copy our logo and discuss features and services that we offer. In reality, bad guys use these emails and sites to rip off people.

These scams often involve car purchases outside of eBay, usually at other websites like AutoTrader.com and Craigslist. For example, a seller offers a car (that they have no intention of delivering) at a very low price. When a transaction starts, they send the buyer fake invoices, often asking for payment via wire transfer while claiming to be affiliated with eBay or offering eBay Motors Vehicle Purchase Protection.

How to tell if it's a scam

You can avoid scams by knowing what to watch out for. Here are some of the most common scams we've seen:

Fake (spoof) emails

Spoof emails appear as if they came from a legitimate business like eBay, but they're actually from scammers who want to trick you into giving out personal information such as your address, or sending money via wire transfer.

Here are some examples:

Pretending to offer eBay features and services

Scammers often use our name, features, and services to make it seem like the transaction is legitimate. For example:

False claims

The seller lies about a variety of things, including:

  • Asking for payment via wire transfer because they lost their job and need the cash immediately.

  • Saying they can't show the car because it's stored at a shipping company.

  • Not being able to meet in person because they're out of the country.

Tips on how to avoid scams

Follow these tips when buying a car or making another type of purchase on eBay.

Double-check if the email is really from eBay.
Make sure an email is from us by checking your messages in My eBay. Go to My eBay, and then click the Messages tab. If you don't see the same message there, the email is a fake.
Complete the transaction on eBay.
Go through your entire transaction on eBay because it allows you to be eligible for vehicle purchase protection programs, Business Equipment Purchase Protection, or the eBay Money Back Guarantee.
Use caution when you pay in person with cash.
When you buy a big-ticket item like a car, it's always a good idea to see it in person first so you can inspect it before closing the deal. You can pay with cash at that time, but make sure you stay alert, keep your cell phone within easy reach, and bring someone along to keep you company.
Find out about various loan options.
If you're buying a car, use the Financing Center to get more information on the types of loans you can get for the vehicle. You may also be eligible for PayPal Credit, which provides flexible purchasing options for some items.
Be sure the item is covered by eBay Motors Vehicle Purchase Protection.
With eBay Motors Vehicle Purchase Protection, your purchase is covered for up to $50,000 or the vehicle's purchase price, whichever is lower. You're automatically enrolled when you buy an eligible vehicle on eBay Motors.
Beware of fake escrow services.
Beware of emails with links to a fake escrow website. To be safe, you should verify the information in the email by going directly to the company's website. Type the web address (URL) in your browser and go from there.

Report a problem

Be vigilant. If you come across something that doesn't seem right, let us know and report it to the authorities. Here's what you can do:

What to do if...

You already paid for the item

Contact the company you made the payment through to see if you can cancel or dispute the payment.

We recommend contacting local authorities, both where you live and where the seller lives. Let the officers know that eBay is happy to cooperate in the investigation. The officer should contact us at stopfraud@ebay.com. To find local law enforcement agents, visit USACops.


You didn't get the item

If you haven't received the item you paid for or it doesn't match the seller's description, request a refund or report that you didn't receive the item in My eBay.

Contact us

Have a question? We can help.

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