That Time I Was Scammed

Folks. I became an ebay seller.

And then I deactivated my account only four days later.

Yup.

I have horrible luck.

I take that back- there is no such thing as luck. At least that is what my mother has told me for the last 24 years.

But whatever is the alternative, that is me.

You see, I made myself an ebay account for the sole purpose of selling my Nikon D90 camera. I don’t even know what prompted me to sell it in the first place. Perhaps it was after I took my camera to a repair shop last week to get my camera lenses fixed (you know… after both broke in Europe… yes, I did just get them fixed one year later). After a long conversation with one of the employees, I held in my hands a more professional camera that did everything my current camera could not do. I was sold.

Now, I know there is a lesson in this story. The lesson goes back to one of the ten commandments- though shall not be envious, or covet your neighbor’s wife (or camera, in this instance). I made it up in my mind, however, that I would find a way to purchase this camera.

This is when ebay comes into the picture. I noticed that I could probably get the best bang for my buck if I sold it through this site, and so I tried to take some professional looking pictures of my camera with my iphone, I wrote a detailed description of the condition of the camera, and then I listed it.20140406-105319.jpg

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Sixteen hours later it sold.

I was shocked. Through a family strand of text messages, my sister said “it must have been Daddy-O’s shirt.” Yes, that white background was in fact computer paper and my father’s white shirts (oh, the things you do to get a good photo!).

Then I became all sentimental and sad. This was the camera that first made me passionate about photography. It traveled the world with me. And I hated seeing it go to some guy named Mike Harvey from Alabama.

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Are you concerned that I just posted the buyer’s name? Don’t be. Because the truth of the matter is, Mike Harvey does not even exist.

So fast forward three days. Mr. Harvey had requested that I gift wrap the camera and prepare to ship it internationally for his cousin’s birthday. I received confirmation that he paid me last Friday morning, and that he also gave me an additional $150 to do expedited shipping internationally.

What a kind man, I thought to myself. I even considered writing a happy birthday note to his cousin Leo, since it was his birthday and all.

After I received an e-mail from ebay confirming that he had paid me, I received an additional e-mail from Mike with the address on where to ship the camera.

Nigeria.

Okay… so its not France or Denmark, as I had been expecting, but I guess that is a cool place to study abroad?!

Friday I went to the post office and after filling out customs forms galore, I sent off my beautiful camera and one of my most prized possessions to Nigeria.

[fast forward four hours]

I sign on to ebay, only to see that the message FROM EBAY that I had received in my personal e-mail was not visible on my ebay account.

Hmmm… that’s weird, I thought.

Then I checked my bank account.

No money.

Panic began to set in and I felt sick to my stomach. I called ebay and after about an hour’s conversation, it was determined that I had been scammed.

That e-mail I had received in my personal e-mail account was forged, and made to look as if it came from ebay.com when in fact it came from ebay@mail.ie

Guess this is why it is important to look carefully at the e-mail address. Note to self for the future!

Once the pieces of the puzzle began to come together, I knew I had to make sure my camera was not in transit to Nigeria… because then it would be too late. My mom got on the phone and called the post office immediately. Although she was calling after hours, someone answered. It is an act of God that someone answered. At first the man thought it was already in transit; but after a lengthy search, he had located my camera!

The next day, the camera was back in my hands. The post office was so gracious to refund me the cost of shipping; and I told myself I would never be so ignorant (Nigeria… come on!) again.

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Sunday morning, however, I had a message from ebay saying that I had sold my camera again.

What??? 

Turns out that ebay had relisted my camera once they realized I had been scammed the first time.

This man seemed much more legit, however he also wanted to gift my camera to his son for his birthday. And kept asking for personal information (like my paypal e-mail address).

As I began to package my camera to sell once more, I was very careful to ensure that this man did not act in a suspicious manner, and that he first and foremost paid me.

The money never came…

And I had been scammed yet again. Thankfully, I had learned from my previous experience and kept that camera in my possession! So folks, how on earth are you supposed to become an ebay seller if these scammers can point out the newbies, and take advantage of them?

All I know, is after my first experience with a “Mr. Mike Harvey” I was ready to send him the angriest e-mail saying some not very nice things, however my mom (once again, always right… but still bothers me) reminded me that this man is clearly sick and if I would choose to write him back, perhaps I should extend love and challenge the man, rather than lash out at him.

So there you have it. Anyone else have any crazy “scammer” stories?!

PS- you’d be happy to know my camera is now in the hands of one of my dearest friends in the world, and I couldn’t be happier.

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7 responses

  1. You poor thing! Glad it all worked out. You said you had no money in your bank account? Did that get fixed?

    I was also scammed in college. Was trying to buy an mp3 player on ebay and sent the money, but received no package…ever. Was definitely not the same value as your camera though!

    • Hey Kayleigh, that’s too bad about your mp3- at the end of the day, a scam is a scam! Thankfully I did not lose any money or my camera this time (we caught it in time!), but now I know just how good scammers really are. They had me fooled!

  2. Guys like “Mike Harvey” are the ones giving Africans a bad rep and making it impossible for the rest of us to do legit business. I’m glad you got your camera back and is now in good use

    • Amanda, DON’T. Seriously, from here on out I am relying on craigslist or word-of-mouth to sell things. Unless you become a serious ebay seller and can develop rapport, I don’t see an easy way to become a seller without encountering scammers. They know how to spot you from the onset, sadly.

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