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By | Dan Goodin 4th December 2007 01:50

Canadian loses $20K in phony eBay sale

Account hijacking continues

A Canadian man was scammed out of $20,000 when he tried to buy a car through eBay.

Shaqir Duraj, a baker from Calgary, thought he was dealing with a reputable seller because the person had a 98-per cent customer satisfaction rating. The refugee from Kosovo had already made high-ticket purchases off eBay, buying a big oven for the bakery he owns.

It turns out he was another victim of an eBay account take-over, in which scammers hijack the account of a legitimate seller and use it to list fraudulent auctions. Six weeks after he wired $20,000, he has yet to receive the vehicle, according to this article from the CBC. When Duraj reported the fraud to eBay, the company told him to contact the police and FBI.

While the vast percentage of eBay transactions are legitimate, the internet is littered with accounts of people who lost large sums of money while shopping on the popular site. In some cases, the con artists infect their victims with a sophisticated Trojan that causes their browser to display fraudulent pages from eBay and third-party websites used by automobile buyers, such as Carfax. One woman lost $8,600 after her machine was infected by the malware, which Symantec dubs Trojan.Bayrob.

Duraj is one of about 1,000 Canadians who have been scammed since 2000, according to a RCMP official.

eBay guarantees auto purchases for up to $20,000, but only if the transaction is carried out on the website. In Duraj's case, the buyer appears to have paid through a wire transfer, which makes him ineligible for the protection.

"Unfortunately, because the transaction occurred off eBay, he/she was not covered by our vehicle purchase protection program," an eBay spokeswoman said. She added that the victim continued to communicate with the scammer even after the hijacked account had been shut down.

The company strongly advises customers to use the official PayPal payment system when making purchases. ®

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