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Online Fraud: Drop Shipped LEGO, etc. (eBay, Amazon Marketplace, Bricklink, etc.)

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Comments

  • Beautifully worded!!
    "My Lego products are very hot".

    @Legouk - In addition to the advice already, to cover yourself against any repercussions, you might also mention it to your local police station. Take along any information/emails etc. you have relating the sales transactions.
  • Thanks, I feel like a complete fool.
  • I'd advise you to not speak to the seller for the moment, until LEGO and eBay have dealt with it.
  • edited January 2012
    ^^ Don't be. There are plenty of others who'd have seen it as a very lucrative idea also. This 'scheme' has been going for a while, but it's only in recent times the scam has been worked out. On the face of it it, it looks harmless.

    Got to ask though....and I don't expect you to post it here, but I wouldn't mind knowing out of curiosity how much you took and over what period if you can PM me.
  • The guy I bought from was the same way, he was selling for someone else for a 20% commission, I emailed all of the info to this Thor, but never heard back from him on what to do.
  • ^ If you emailed Thor only just before Christmas he may well have been off for the holidays, so I'd say be patient.
  • I did email him before Christmas, so he could have been off for the holidays, but I really only emailed to make sure my name doesn't get blackballed from S@H, I mean I'm not gonna kill myself trying to get my money back and returning things and making a ton of phone calls and emails, I don't think that is our "job" to have to do any of that, we did a legal transaction through ebay and paypal, so for them to tell me I have to jump through hoops to "try" and get my money back from the seller and then to ship things back to them at my expense, and make phone calls to ebay and paypal to get my money back, etc is a bit extreme if you ask me. I'm sure some of you will argue that isn't true but, we all read what @LegoFanTexas had to go through for all of this and as far as I'm concerned that is way above and beyond what we should have to do. Of course I have learned my lesson and will never buy a current set on ebay again, but what they asked @LegoFanTexas to do is wayyyyyyyyy to much IMHO.
  • While I hate scammers and hope they all get caught. I agree with you @choob99. I purchased a set that i think fits the dropshipping scam but I didn't even know about dropshipping then and only read about it on brickset. I built the set (MMV) and threw away the shipping box as soon as I got it so cannot confirm, plus the purhcase was old enough that I can not access the listing details anymore. Nowdays I will not purchase new sets that fit the profile of dropshipping, but I have no intentions to try and return the goods as I purchased them with good faith from ebay using paypal. I do not order from S@H so am not bothered about an account but if I ever do decide to I can honestly tell them I was not sure.
  • edited January 2012
    I can see how it's a really easy thing to get roped into.

    There were a bunch of suspiscious listings on ebay in the UK this morning. The seller even admitted he was selling on behalf of someone else, but seemed not to appreciate it could be a scam. The clever bit about the scammer approaching someone who has already bought a set off them is that the buyer has seen a pristine item arrive and thus is more likely to believe them.

    You also can't take the money aspect out of it. If someone starts earning £200-300 in commission each day they sell stuff, it becomes more convenient for them to turn a blind eye and continue to believe it's legitimate.
  • Another common EBAY scam is the selling of big ticket Lego sets. Sets like the Millennium Falcon(10179), which is selling for $1200+ MISB on EBAY, are listed by new sellers. They usually have 3 or 4 on auction or for sale at the same time. The sellers use generic photos of the boxes and list the sets at very fair prices so that they sell fast.

    All the sets sell, they collect their PayPal money, give you a legit tracking number but never send it. Whammo...you wait three weeks and receive nothing. EBAY makes you wait to file a claim, thus giving the crook even more time to scam someone else.

    It has happened to me twice on EBAY, once with the Millennium Falcon and the second time was the Taj Mahal. EBAY did refund me my money though with little questions asked. Their customer service/complaint department is usually slow, but it works. Try to avoid the new seller with high priced Lego sets.
  • PayPal is starting to implement a 21 day hold on funds for some recipients. This might help slow down the problem where the money is long gone by the time the $200+ Lego set "USB cable" arrives.
  • PayPal is starting to implement a 21 day hold on funds for some recipients. This might help slow down the problem where the money is long gone by the time the $200+ Lego set "USB cable" arrives.
    LOL...That is one expensive USB cable. It's about time EBAY adjusted their policies on new sellers.

  • I can see how it's a really easy thing to get roped into.

    There were a bunch of suspiscious listings on ebay in the UK this morning. The seller even admitted he was selling on behalf of someone else, but seemed not to appreciate it could be a scam. The clever bit about the scammer approaching someone who has already bought a set off them is that the buyer has seen a pristine item arrive and thus is more likely to believe them.

    You also can't take the money aspect out of it. If someone starts earning £200-300 in commission each day they sell stuff, it becomes more convenient for them to turn a blind eye and continue to believe it's legitimate.
  • edited January 2012
    I just remembered I had a similar offer as @LegoFanTexas

    Hi, I`m looking for an experienced seller

    Hide Details
    FROM:
    Rhonda Woyshner

    TO:
    ********@yahoo.co.uk
    Message flagged Tuesday, 8 February 2011, 16:56

    Message Body

    Hi,

    I'm looking for people with e-bay seller accounts to list and sell my
    items. Your feedback would be preferred to be 100% positive, linked to a
    verified Pay Pal account.
    All my products are genuine, not illegal fake or counterfeit!! Sale and
    warranty receipts are included .
    All listing fees and final value fees will be paid by me. It.s free of
    charge; you will not have to pay anything to start.
    Funds will be transferred by the most convenience way for both of us (we
    can discuss about payment to find the best way) or your commission (20% of
    sales) would stay in your Pay Pal account, plus e-bay and other processors
    fees. For your safety and good customer service, my share from sales will
    be sent to me after the item is received by the buyer and his response is
    positive along with a positive feedback left for you.

    I will provide you with listing details , pictures and everything needed
    and this is what you will have to do :
    - list my items
    - answer buyers questions with the support of the resources provided or
    with my direct help
    - send me items numbers and relative buyer's address details
    - fill an overall project table with your sales data (number of bids and
    bidders, views count, number of watchers, final price with subtracted
    e-bay and pay pal fees and your commision, etc.)

    Please feel free to email me back to vromeop@gmail.com for more details
    (Please include your e-bay ID and location in the message)

    Thank you!

    I simply ignored it without thinking to much. Now I see it could be about LEGO - email was sent to my LEGO ebay store email address
  • ^ My immediate reaction to the e-mail above is "why don't you list them yourself ?".......
  • edited January 2012
    I think I found a drop shipper scammer on ebay. He/she is selling NEW Grand Emporiums for $102.99 plus $15 shipping. I almost bought it.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEGO-Creator-Grand-Emporium-BRAND-NEW-/170758054544?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27c1f92290
  • I agree, that is a scam... I reported it to eBay, not that they'll do anything...
  • edited January 2012
    ^ My immediate reaction to the e-mail above is "why don't you list them yourself ?".......
    I guess the world is full of the mentally challenged. LOL. These con artists feed on the same morons that pay $550 on EBAY for a Death Star(10188), when Lego is still selling them at $400. Go figure.
  • edited January 2012
    A little evil Ed.

    I'm not sure it's fair to call them "morons", but possibly naive in some instances. Plenty of people live in countries where the likes of S@H or Amazon for example don't ship or it's cheaper to buy at a higher rate in one country and have it shipped to them overseas.
  • I'm inclined to agree with Ed, but yeah, there are legit reasons why someone would buy a DS for +$150 above retail.

    Perhaps a person was given $550 in eBay giftcards, and don't have the $400 cash to spend with Lego. A bit far-fetched I suppose, but it could happen.
  • I agree, that is a scam... I reported it to eBay, not that they'll do anything...
    Looks like someone bought 4 of them at once. That's ballzy.
  • So I emailed Thor for more information about what he's looking for, pointing out that he wasn't answering questions on the thread, and this is the pertinent part of the reply I received today -


    I’ve been forwarding on information on all the sellers I’ve been receiving emails about for literally the last two days, so it’s been great.

    I send all the information we get to the eBay fraud team that helps with shutting down the stores and attempting to pursue criminal charges.

    I’ll do my best to get onto brick set today to check the posts.

    If people simply send me information when they either are victims (receive eBay purchases shipped from Lego) or see possible fraudulent sellers anyone can email me (with screen shots if possible) and I’ll record all the information and deal with eBay.

    Again I truly appreciate your help and have been truly inspired by the Lego fans enthusiasm to protect our product.

    Cheers,

    Thor

    Thor Magnussen
    Assistant Controller
    CED Finance US

    Direct
    +1 860 763 6932
    Mobile
    +1 860 944 9759
    E-mail
    Thor.Magnussen@LEGO.com


    It looks like he was out of the office over the holidays and is really getting to grips with it this week. Here's hoping eBay does something.
  • Hey all,

    My apologies for not being more active on here since my first post. I've been playing catch up as we can all see that there's plenty to do as far as shutting down some of these sellers.

    As far as the improvements on the site, I've taken down some of your recommendations (Verified by Visa) etc and have brought that to the appropriate employees here.

    My main concern at the moment is reducing the rampant fraud that we're seeing via the drop ship scam.

    If you continue to see sellers on ebay with sketchy sales/inventory feel free to email me the seller name and screen shots if possible.

    Also any information about the people recruiting these sellers (and it seems they've tried recruiting some of you as well) would be appreciated as well.

    Thanks again everyone.

    -Thor
    thor.magnussen@lego.com
  • A little evil Ed.

    I'm not sure it's fair to call them "morons", but possibly naive in some instances. Plenty of people live in countries where the likes of S@H or Amazon for example don't ship or it's cheaper to buy at a higher rate in one country and have it shipped to them overseas.
    Sorry, I never considered that aspect of it. I am just learning about the issues many Lego fans have across the world just buying simple Lego sets. I am a spoiled American. ;-)

  • Lol. You're not alone - I still don't understand half of it!! :o)
  • Hey all,

    My apologies for not being more active on here since my first post. I've been playing catch up as we can all see that there's plenty to do as far as shutting down some of these sellers...........
    Great - delighted to hear that all this information from the Brickset community is being put to good use.

    Go get 'em !

  • Note that there have been fraudsters popping up on Bricklink recently as well. One had been listing new sets at below avg prices and shipped from Olive Branch, MS. This one has been shut down.
  • I just found this seller "ven2online" on ebay selling tons of legos from Olive Branch, MS. Thanks for bringing this information to my attention so I know who to buy from. Thanks lego community.
  • No one buy the Tantive IV (10198) from sellers on ebay shipping from Olive Branch, MS. It seems there is a bunch of them up right now. One seller has a bunch listed and no reviews at all.
  • ^ Did you send a message to Thor and eBay?
  • Yea as soon as I see scams on ebay I report them and I actually just sent Thor an e-mail. These fraudsters are getting smart though, listing these auctions right when sets are discontinued is making people bid. I hope a permanent solution comes up to fix this soon because I am getting tired of having to sift through listings worrying that I am going to get scammed.
  • Just curious, what`s up with the shipping address from all these scams? They all seem to be from Olive Branch, MS. Just saw the Tantive IV listing on ebay for less than US100 from different sellers but the same address: Olive Branch, MS
  • Just curious, what`s up with the shipping address from all these scams? They all seem to be from Olive Branch, MS. Just saw the Tantive IV listing on ebay for less than US100 from different sellers but the same address: Olive Branch, MS
    That's where Lego ships from.
  • ohh ok.. thanks i didn't know that!
  • Just curious, what`s up with the shipping address from all these scams? They all seem to be from Olive Branch, MS. Just saw the Tantive IV listing on ebay for less than US100 from different sellers but the same address: Olive Branch, MS


    That's where Lego ships from.
    The fraudsters are likely going to switch gears soon.

  • I mean I'm not gonna kill myself trying to get my money back and returning things and making a ton of phone calls and emails, I don't think that is our "job" to have to do any of that, we did a legal transaction through ebay and paypal, so for them to tell me I have to jump through hoops to "try" and get my money back from the seller and then to ship things back to them at my expense, and make phone calls to ebay and paypal to get my money back, etc is a bit extreme if you ask me. I'm sure some of you will argue that isn't true but, we all read what @LegoFanTexas had to go through for all of this and as far as I'm concerned that is way above and beyond what we should have to do.
    Nowdays I will not purchase new sets that fit the profile of dropshipping, but I have no intentions to try and return the goods as I purchased them with good faith from ebay using paypal.
    @choob99 @Lambringo So what you're saying is that if you find out you've purchased stolen goods, you don't feel like you need to do anything about it? You know, a transaction is not legal if the goods are stolen. Furthermore, now that both of you are aware that this scam happens, do feel that when the packaging and invoice indicate drop shipping (because the purchaser on the invoice doesn't match the seller on eBay) you have no further ethical responsibilities? One thing if it happened a long time ago and you didn't know. It seems you guys don't want to purchase stolen goods. But moving forward are you actually willing to turn a blind eye and keep goods you can reasonably believe to be stolen just because you make the realization after the transaction is complete?
  • I'm trying to understand the mindset of one of these scammers. I just always assumed that these people, when busted and shut down, would have their Paypal accounts drained, be faced with having to pay back all the money, face criminal charges, etc. Basically just have hell to deal with. And surely these sellers know that others who partake in these filthy tactics are getting shut down on a daily basis.

    So, why do they do it? Do they really get away with having made all of this fraudulent profit and can escape from the law? It's as if they don't fear the fallout of their actions one bit.
  • edited January 2012
    ^Yeah, they likely get away with it. I mean, how do you get caught? There is a lot of complexity that masks the criminal behavior.

    You have at least five separate parties to the crime: the master criminal who has acquired a large set of stolen credit card information, the secondary criminal who owns the eBay account and is either ignorant of the criminal nature of the activities or turns a blind eye. The primary victim, the person who owns the credit card. The secondary victim, LEGO, a merchant who's goods are being purchased fraudulently. And the third victim, the eBay buyer who gets stolen goods.

    So first off you need to detect the crime. Route A) victim 1 sees the fraudulent charges on the credit card. Since it only happens once, perhaps it slips by the credit card holder. But if it doesn't, this goes to the credit card company. Then then follows up with victim 2. Which leads to victim 3. Which then may lead to criminal 2. Route B) victim 3 smells something fishy. Maybe. Most of the times either doesn't know or care. If something is fishy, then maybe it will go to eBay, which doesn't care. Maybe it will be returned, but that means it ends there because the matter is not identified as a scam by anyone important. Maybe it gets to LEGO, which then needs to follow up with victim 1 and the credit card companies. Then maybe the follow up lead to criminal two.

    Route A or B take a lot of time and are not always followed through. So before anyone gets to criminal 2, lots of time goes by while the scam runs. Money can be drained from the criminal PayPal accounts in the meantime. If the eBay account is finally shutdown, you're only shutting down criminal 2. Criminal 1 moves on to other affiliates and keeps the scam going. To take down criminal 1 you need to arrest and charge with a crime. But, there are many road blocks to doing this.

    First of all, it is hard to identify criminal 1. They are probably using false identities to set stuff up and are behind this terribly complex picture of all the parties involved. Second of all, even if you figure out who it is, you need to have the evidence that they are committing a crime. There isn't much of a link between victims 1 and 2, where the stolen credit card is used, and criminals 1 and 2. The link is victim 3, but you need to prove that victim 3 is not a criminal, and that is hard to do. Third of all, you have massive jurisdiction problems. Criminal 1 is typically in a different country than the victims. So who's going to prosecute and investigate across the different parties involved and their respective jurisdictions?

    All of this complexity means that the criminal mastermind can run this operation for a long time with little risk of getting caught and lots of profit.
  • A lot of this could be solved by having positive ID required on all eBay accounts, no more opening an eBay account with just an e-mail address. Then, treat PayPal as a bank, which it should be. Two forms of ID would be required, just like a normal bank, including a credit check on every account.

    Ok, so identity theft does occur... Biometrics would solve a lot of that, but probably not all of it.

    More or less, technology is the problem, technology can be the answer, but a lot would have to change.

    Another option would be to simply call the card member on any charge that shipped somewhere other than the billing address. This is a minor thing, if I want to place a "gift order" and ship something somewhere else, a 30 second phone call is not a problem, and it saves everyone a lot of trouble.
  • @LegoFanTexas PayPal avoids being a bank because it does not want to deal with the regulatory overhead especially when operating internationally. That would increase costs of doing business a lot.

    Biometrics is overkill for Internet transactions. Digital signatures are more than enough for what you're thinking about. Look at it this way: You scan you finger or whatever on your computer, which the hardware converts to a unique set of information, which would then be sent over the Internet to the vendor or whatever. Why bother with the hardware and risk of false negatives? All that's needed is the unique set of information that you generate anyway, so why not use a digital signature instead?

    A 30 second phone call doesn't save everyone a lot of trouble. It is its own set of trouble and saves some trouble in a particular set of circumstances.
  • @brickmatic As per my prior post, I did say that the transaction occurred in the past when I did not know about this scam and I am unable to check the details due to the time frame. How can I know that I have purchased stolen goods when I can not prove it. While it may fit some of the criteria, I can certainly not confirm where is was posted from, and I cannot remember if it was a LEGO shipping box. The part I find quite funny about the transaction was that I paid full RRP and would have much rather picked it up at a department store or toy store but since LEGO never made the set available to me in a B&M store and shipping is $35 from S@H, I could not see any negative about the transaction at the time. As per your own post this operation is hard to police and people who have no idea about this scam will be oblivious and think that they got a great deal (as I was at the time). I will 100% be keeping the product I purchased and not investigating it. I can honestly say that I feel no guilt but I will not purchase from a dubious seller in the future. If I did receive a product that appears to be dropshipped, I would contact the seller and contact LEGO/ebay with the details but they can use their own time and resources to take it further. If they don't do anything then I would keep the product.
  • @Lambringo Yeah, stuff that happened like years ago is so hard to piece together that it doesn't matter anymore. Hence why there are things like a statue of limitation. But if it was like last month, that's something different. If you contact LEGO with details it is reasonable they will ask you to return the product since it was purchased fraudulently. They will not refund you money, since it wasn't your money that purchased the set. And you would then need to sort out the refund through eBay. So are you saying you'd ignore the request to return the stolen product because you can't be bothered?
  • edited January 2012
    @ brickset Yes I would unless I got a full refund with minimal effort
  • edited January 2012
    @Lambringo EDIT You ninja edited me. See, I think that is just plain wrong. I think the right thing to do when making auction site purchases is to check invoices, to contact LEGO if you see that the product was dropshipped, and to return the dropshipped product to LEGO. Otherwise you're just as bad as the obvious criminals.
  • sorry @brickmatic but I edited my post to answer your question directly and I tagged you incorrectly. I will be taking reasonable steps to avoid the situation and hope that the scams are all shut down, but if it comes to it I would rather LEGO or the credit card company be out of pocket rather than myself. This is only my personal opinion and you are entitled to your own.
  • I work for eBay, but I also buy TONS of Lego and sell some too.
    Here's what I'd do:

    -Report the items to eBay. They have tons of people that try and combat these guys.

    -If you buy something that's clearly stolen, counterfeit, incorrect etc. the buyer protection policy should have you covered. Its lengthy, but does cover you in most cases. I've had to use it once.

    -Someone trying to sell you something off eBay from an eBay listing is usually in violation of eBay's terms of service. You can report them as well via customer support usually via email unless they gave you a contact number.

    If Lego is offering their support in working with eBay, you might as well contact them too. Although, make sure you still contact eBay since the problem is between you and the seller rather than you and Lego.

    Personally, I setup my credit card to get charged via Paypal rather than funds directly in my Paypal account. My credit card will insure online purchases, to some extent, so if eBay/Paypal couldn't get me my money back I could do a charge back.

    Biometrics is pretty interesting and, I think, once the barriers to entry come down it could be used for auth on online accounts. Paypal and Facebook are also both pretty interesting sources of truth for user identity since the accounts tend to contain very personal information that's not easy to duplicate. You'd still have to deal with account takeovers though.

  • @Lambringo Oh I agree with you and see it is a fact, you would rather LEGO or the credit card company be out of pocket rather than yourself. It's my opinion that kind of behavior is wrong, especially when as @LegoCzar points out there is a recourse where you will likely get your money back. It's unfortunate that these scams happen and it is likewise unfortunate that there are people unwilling to do the right thing because they can't be bothered.

    @LegoCzar Biometrics are overrated. They're OK for applications that need you to be there, like opening the door. If you need your device to send the biometric info through the Internet, why bother? Just use digital signatures.
  • You guys misunderstood my point aout biometrics...

    Use them in person when opening a bank account, so that you can only open one.

    If you open a PayPal account, there would need to be a place to go in person to be scanned, so that you could not open ten different PayPal accounts.
  • The Lego set on sale for cheap are too good to be true, but you will get the product most of the time. Its just bad for Lego.com and the bank. From my little study, I found there are basically two types of people who will sell current set for cheap. One, is the one that use stolen credit card information buy set from Lego and then drop ship to you. Two, is the one that are looking to cash out money on their credit card and not care about paying them back.
    The one that use stolen credit card, they don't use their true identity anymore. These people will solicit on website such as freelance.com for Internet marketing project where they will hire someone with good ebay account and good feedback rating. They will offer 15% income on top of all fee by ebay and paypal. Many people who are out of jobs will fall for these easy money Internet marketing job and list items for the scammer with their own good ebay account.
    The second type of people who don't care to pay back the credit card are usually foreign student or people who are planning to move out of the USA forever. Thanks to our generous banking system, many of the people has credit card with large limit. Quick way to cash out is to sell hot item like lego.
    In conclusion, Lego.com has to work harder to protect themselves from the scam. There are no easy way to do it but to work with the banks. In the meantime, we lego collector will occasionally gets lego on the cheap from these people.
  • @brickmatic I have no idea if mine was stolen or not, my paypal payment went to a business name and not a persons name, so I have no idea if the name of the invoice matches the name of seller since I didn't get the sellers name, and I did email Thor and never received a response, but to expect me to be on the phone for hours a day and go digging for info is completely wrong to ask of a consumer. The point to the story is that I did a legal transaction on ebay and its really not my problem to fix it, that being said I did email the guy and never heard back from him. And I now won't buy currently available items from ebay now that I know, but don't act as if "i'm turning a blind eye" to whats happening, I'm just saying that it is unreasonable to ask me to consume hours of my time to fix something that I didn't do wrong in the first place. And I didn't say I would keep the item, I said I won't send the item back UNTIL I get my money back, I'm not gonna be out $130, and not get it back, yes paypal will PROBABLY refund it in time, but there is no guarantee to that, so until I get my money, I'm not gonna send it back. Your post comes off as you being "better than me" Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but the point is I did what I consider "reasonable" by emailing Thor about it and asking for instructions, and by the way I won a business and talked to my attorney about it once I found out, and I am covered since it was legal transaction on ebay, I'm an unwitting victim to it, and anyone who has any questions about it, contact your attorney and they will walk you through the process. But, don't accuse me of "turning a blind eye" for one thing its rude and I didn't, I EMAILED THOR, and never heard back, so please reserve your judgement for someone else
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