Scammer hacks into eBay account, tricks Anderson woman into sending phone

ANDERSON, Ind. -- If you sell items online, beware scammers who are hacking into websites and taking over real users' accounts.

Casundra Venable contacted CBS4 Problem Solvers to get the word out. She said she has sold on eBay for five years with no problems, but recently fell victim to a scam.

Venable was selling a Samsung phone with accessories on the website. Her sale closed, she received a $227 payment, and then a message that she thought was from the buyer.

"Thanks so much for (an) interesting auction. It was hard to choose the present for my friend. I think my friend will love this," Venable said, reading the message.

The writer sent her supposed friend's address, and Venable sent the package to that address. A few days later, she received a message from eBay saying the buyer had not received the package. It was then that she realized the message had been a fake.

"I thought, you know, 'How stupid (was I) for doing it?" Venable said.

Venable said she was on the lookout for scams, but only those that come from people outside the eBay website. She assumed that because the message came through a real account, it was legitimate. It turns out, the scammer hacked into a real user's account and used it to find a closing sale, then pretended to be the buyer.

"If they ask you to send it somewhere besides their registered address, say no," Venable said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers spoke with the Better Business Bureau's Tim Maniscalo, who said that while he had not heard of this specific type of eBay scam, it didn't surprise him.

"Well over 50 percent of the scams (we see) now are perpetrated in some way, shape, or form through the internet," Maniscalo said.

Venable tried to get her package back, but she could not get it from the warehouse in Brooklyn, New York where it ended up.

"(A man on the phone) said it’s off to the country of Georgia," Venable said.

An eBay spokesperson confirmed this scam to CBS4, saying a hacker was involved. The company also sent an alert to Venable, but it was too late. The spokesperson sent this statement:

"This incident was a scam and was the result of an unauthorized takeover of another user’s account. Unfortunately, scam artists will gain access to eBay member accounts through phishing emails in order to defraud other members. Criminals often exploit well-known, trusted brand names like eBay to attract consumers and then lure them into fraudulent transactions. We always encourage all our shoppers to be cautious and vigilant when executing a transaction on eBay. Members can prevent account takeovers from occurring by having frequent virus and spyware scans done on their account, regularly updating their passwords, and confirming a message was sent by eBay by checking their “My Messages” within their eBay account."

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