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This is a simple way for eBay scammers to cheat other people’s money: Take the money and run away.

There is another group of scammers selling intangible rubbish and making use of Paypal’s policy to protect themselves (Virtual or intangible items that are Not As Described are not refundable).

Below is a summary of how they conduct the eBay scam. It isn’t as straightforward as it seems but the basic idea remains the same: Take the money and run. Just like any lottery, 419 scams, etc.

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From 2003 to 2008, Nilton Rossoni used phony names and stolen identities to create e-mail accounts with America Online, Yahoo and other Internet service providers that did not verify their registration information, according to an indictment.

Then he set up hundreds of eBay accounts and used those phony names and e-mail addresses to post goods for auction.

He used prepaid credit cards, which required no identification, to buy 15 to 20 inexpensive items on eBay from themselves and posted positive “feedback” on the transactions. The purpose: To gain an online reputation as legitimate sellers for potential buyers.

Rossoni posted various items — computer flash drives, sporting equipment, designer luggage, appliances — for 24 hours at a time, according to the indictment.

After each auction, he notified the winning bidders via e-mail to send their payments as a check or money order made payable to one of four alias names or to a purported Fort Lauderdale business named Prime Hill Inc. He instructed the winners to send the payments to private mailboxes, such as a UPS Store, in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

As the enterprise flourished, Rossoni rented at least 59 private mail boxes, using fabricated Brazilian passports with aliases, according to the indictment.

After he received the payments, Rossoni deposited the money under the same aliases in accounts he opened at Bank of America and other South Florida banks.

“Even though the winning bidders of the eBay auction items had sent their payment to the private mailboxes designated by Rossoni, the items were never mailed or delivered to the winning bidders,” the indictment said.

The father-son team had lived in Miami-Dade and Broward dating back to the late 1990s. The father pocketed the money to “unjustly enrich” himself, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Anton said in court papers.

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