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Security The Almighty Buck

eBay vs. Romania's Online Scammers 162

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-like-a-movie dept.
spinctrl links to an interesting story in the L.A. Times about the cloak-and-daggerism of fighting online scams in Romania, summing it up like this: "The country is the top source of auction site scams. One company is trying to do something about it, with increasing collaboration from local law enforcement over recent years. Ebay has sent over equipment and a team to help the authorities combat this form of cyber crime, which is run with all the organization of an industrial-scale business."
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eBay vs. Romania's Online Scammers

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  • Nigeria? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (221748) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:18PM (#21830832) Homepage
    You'd think Nigeria would have a host of auction scammers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Giovanni666 (1208942)
      I agree. Are they then going to China to stop counterfeits of all types? What about all the scammers in the USA? If ebay was serious, they would require proper registration at the gate. They would disallow user generated content which contain active scripting formats, and they would completely do away with html based emails which contain links, and 'second chance offers'. They would quit depending solely on the 'community' to police the site (READ: FREELOADING). This is nothing but feeble PR spin, which bo
      • This is nothing but feeble PR spin, which borders on racism.
        Romanian is a race now? Time to update the science books!
    • by Detritus (11846)
      They do. I've heard many complaints about Nigerians attempting to pull the counterfeit bank check scam on people who list items for sale on eBay and other forums.
  • Good.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blinx_ (16376) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:20PM (#21830866)
    I'm all for something being done about the scammers, eBay sometimes looks like all it cares about is getting their own share of the auction price. However what I don't understand is that people still fall for these scams, even the tiniest amount of logic applied before sending money to the scammers would eliminate >90% of the cases. Havn't everyone by now heard about, "If it's too good to be true, it proberly is"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If it's too good to be true, it proberly is
      I can honestly say that I've never heard that before.
      • by blinx_ (16376)
        Darn me for not using preview.

        If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't :)
        • by MightyYar (622222)
          I think he was referring to your invention of the word "proberly". The phrase makes sense either way, like:

          "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is [too good to be true]."
          "If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't [true]."

          We know what you mean either way.
    • Re:Good.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:50PM (#21831154)
      I remember last year I was looking at getting another Sony HDC1 HDV camcorder for my business. I liked them better because they used HDV tape and had a standard mini-jack for mic input instead of Sony Propitiatory interface crap. The only way to find one was on Ebay.

      I ended up winning the auction at around $800 (IIRC). Most of these cameras were going on Ebay for around $900 for onces that were "refurbished" with half the parts missing and $1200 used in good condition. (Not bad considering I paid about $1700 for mine brand new).

      At anyrate the auction was reported from someone in Oregon and they said they accepted paypal. After the auction I got instructions to send the money western union...to Romania. And this wasn't their bid pay service (or whatever they call it. I did use it once for a pair of goalie skates, worked out well).

      That was a huge red flag (no pun intended) that something was wrong. A seller that was supposed to be in Oregan, said they accepted paypal, but wanted the money sent to Romania? The next day I got a message from Ebay saying the seller's account had been compromised and that the auction had been cancelled.

      A couple days later I got a nasty message from the Romanian threatening to leave bad feedback. So they got the operation down to a science.

      When dealing with online transactions you have to use common sense. No paypal or merchant/credit card service: no deal. I have one credit card, with a $750 limit, that I only use for online transactions. Anything goes funky, I report it, out $50 and cut up the card. (And I've had it happen once).

      • by DrSkwid (118965)
        You're going to buy a HDV camera without XLR audio input ? crazy
      • by snarfies (115214)
        Your first red flag should have been the seller's inability to spell "Oregon."
      • by Cylix (55374)
        A manager I worked under once had a similar experience.

        There were lots of red flags that this was just a bad deal waiting to happen. Never mind he was getting a laptop at $500 off the cost anyone was selling it for.

        Every time he asked me a question about the deal I said don't do it. In fact, I wasn't the only person who said don't do it and he didn't listen. Needless to say, he wasn't a bright man and he was blinded by greed. (not the first time).

        He actually did send the money via western union to some plac
      • Re:Good.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:55PM (#21831830)
        Same thing, except 'buyer' was in Indiana and the Shipping was to AZ.

        I got a message about one of my auctions "Do you accept credit card, I wish to purchase all of your units."

        I play along and within a few hours I get all the credit card info via e-mail:
        "Here is my credit card information:
        John Smith
        --------
        Crown Point, IN
        (Cc#) (#Exp)
        (#phone)

        Please ship to Bob Jones
        ---
        Phoenix, AZ"

        The FIRST thing I did was look up the phone number sure enough, it belonged to John Smith. So I called him and let him know to cancel his card, it had been stolen. Left a voice message on both his cell and home phone.

        I debated sending a cinder block via COD but I got lazy.

        The only thing that did tick me off is I didn't even get a thank you from John. Nothing.
        -
        I would also suggest a credit card company that lets you create 'virtual' credit cards. Citibank does so for every online transaction I set a $ amount limit and the card automatically expires the next month. The # is one time use only so if anyone tries to use it again or the merchant tries to charge more $, it gets denied.

        If I buy a $23.43 widget from Widget Co, I create a new Card for $30, use it once. And then it's done. The only time I ever use my Real Number is in physical form.
        • by Raenex (947668)

          If I buy a $23.43 widget from Widget Co, I create a new Card for $30, use it once.
          I read on another Slashdot post a week or so ago that Citibank automatically adds a buffer on top of the limit you set, so you are authorizing even more than you expect. I don't remember the exact amount or have a link handy, though.
      • Reminds me of the anecdote, told to me by someone who knew the guy it happened to:

        Guy buys laptop from dude on ebay, sends money order. Guy gets laptop box in mail. Guy opens box, finds big flat rock. Guy realizes he is screwed.

        I've never bought off ebay, believe it or not. I have, however, bought some A/V stuff from Amazon's marketplace and had very good experiences. Given the rise in the general uproar of "teh ebay suxxorz" I doubt I ever WILL buy from ebay.
        • I've never had a problem buying or selling on eBay.

          I think its just the minority moaning loudly.

          eBay is very useful for finding cheap or rare items.
          • by mgblst (80109)
            eBay can be fine, just have some smarts about it. If a guy has 3 feedback, and is selling a fancy new laptop, don't buy it. If he is selling anything over $2, don't buy it. Don't trust him. If a guy has 100 feedback and has been selling phone sim cards or other low priced items, then starts selling 20 new laptops, don't buy it. USE YOUR COMMON SENSE.
      • by hvm2hvm (1208954)

        "That was a huge red flag (no pun intended)"
        Romania is not a communist country any more (since 1989) if that's what you (not) intended to say.
    • by petehead (1041740)
      Just yesterday, I bought a piece of OEM software on Ebay. I paid via PayPal and, soon after, received the shipping confirmation and tracking number. Then, three hours after that, I received an email from Ebay saying that they had removed the listing and would not explain why. Good job pulling the listing of a completed auction, Fraud Department.
    • eBay is fine with scam operation as long as they get a cut. A couple of months ago I listed a laptop. It was inmediately "purchased" (via buy it now) by an englishman who wanted it shipped to her daughter who happened to be in Nigeria. Payment via a fake scrow agency, etc. Anyway, I couldn't relist the item inmediately (you have to wait for payment for a few days even if you know that it's a scam) so I decided to just sell it somewhere else. Well, after 10 days or so I could finally notify ebay that payme
    • by xkhaozx (978974)
      My friend was once scammed by someone from Romania.

      He was selling something, and some person from Romania bought the item. The address on the Paypal account was not confirmed. Normally, because there is no confirmed address, you would have to ship with a signature required option for shipping. My friend hasn't had much experience with shipping to unconfirmed addresses so he ended up only getting "Delivery Confirmation" for the shipping, which is not the same thing.

      He had asked me on advice with what to do,
  • It's easy to avoid scams. I say they just educate people to the point where these scams are no longer profitable.

    -Don't purchase/sell to certain countries.
    -Avoid any auctions that don't allow a well-known escrow service.
    -Request delivery confirmation on everything you send out.

    Problem solved.
    • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:39PM (#21831056) Journal
      First mistake is assuming you can educate enough of the people to make it not profitable. Second mistake is assuming education itself can cure self serving nature. The whole point of these types of crime is that it feeds upon peoples desire to maximize profit / savings.

      Do people really think that they can buy Photoshop for $99 when it is sold everywhere else for $299? or Vista Super Delux for $49.95 when there is no such product? Most people know when they're about to be had, but they have this override switch in their brain that tells them that this is the "exception".

      I'm sorry, but I have little sympathy for people being had by Nigerian, Online Pharmaceutical, Sexy Girl, Cheap Software scams.

      Ebay has always scared me a bit, because you just don't know who you're dealing with. However your suggestions are certainly a good place to start. It will not ever solve the problem because the problem is human nature.
      • Besides which, these types of scams feed upon pure numbers. You might educate 95% of the populace enough for them not to fall for scams, but the scammers will still feed quite well on the remaining 5%. It's a bit like spam. It costs nearly nothing to send out a million spam/scam attempts, so virtually any money that comes in is profit. Five percent of a million is still 50,000 folks waiting to lose a few thousand bucks each. And 50,000 * a few thousand each = lots of cash.... especially in a place like
      • I suppose you're right. I can be idealistic.

        A friend of mine did just that last month. He was looking for a guitar, and found a great deal on a nice fender, so he bid on it. Later on he let me know about the auction. The first thing I noticed was the phrase "No Paypal." He only wanted money orders- you know, those things you can't take back once they're sent.

        I alerted my friend, but he was too starry-eyed about the price and the product to see what was going on. His defense was that the seller had a g
        • I wouldn't use "No PayPal" as an immediate red flag. I Put "No Paypal" in all my auctions. I detest them they're holding $800 of my money hostage because somebody I sold something to paid with money that he got from someone else that was 'stolen'. Their fraud detection is a scam and I honestly can't see why anyone uses them.

          What I do put is that I accept "Credit Cards" and then if the person wants to pay with CC I just send them an invoice via Google Checkout. I don't put GC directly in the auction because
          • It just doesn't make sense to blindly send a money order to somebody you don't know. It's easy to take the money and leave. You can't put a stop payment on a money order like you can a check. You can chargeback a credit card.

            Having too much faith in humanity doesn't make me paranoid in contrast. It just makes you too trusting.
            • How is it any different than PayPal? It's money, it's easy to take and leave. PayPal is Damn slow when it comes to account recovery. Set up 2-3 paypal accounts. Bounce the money around. "Buy" and "Sell" some things on ebay. Go through Tor. Dump it into an account and walk out the door with the money. All you need to become "Verified" is a routing number and an account number.

              If you don't pay with credit card in Paypal, you have no 'charge back' option.
          • The problem is with your system, if you want to scam me then there is little I can do.
            At least Paypal is part of eBay so they know for a fact you've paid.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              And if I decide to scam you with paypal how is it any different?

              All I need to open an Emigrant Direct account is a few numbers (which probably aren't hard to come by). I can link the paypal account to the emigrant direct account then flush it out from there.

              Congratulations, so ebay knows you've paid. If the money isn't in the account, it's gone. Kiss it good by. Ask me how my Shiny new G5 tower is that I never got. I went through PayPal I was young and dumb. I got the stamp of approval of a "protected" auct
              • a) You get buyer protection with Paypal on auctions which guarantees at least some of your money back.

                b) In Australia, Paypal is a financial institution. They need to obey some tough laws. Sucks to be in the US. :)
    • by wattrlz (1162603)
      Let's teach people about tech so they don't ask irritating questions and make the same mistakes.

      Why stop there, though? Let's teach people about economics so there are no more money problems. Then we should teach them how to drive so they don't have auto accidents. Perhaps we could teach them about copyright law so there is no more maf-IAA... etc. Point being that educating the general populace and getting them to act on their newfound knowledge is usually easier said than done.
    • by owlnation (858981)

      Avoid any auctions that don't allow a well-known escrow service.
      That one doesn't work outside of the US. Escrow is primarily a US phenomenon, there are few well known Escrow companies domestically in most countries, and even fewer that operate internationally.
    • by gr8dude (832945) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:39PM (#21832338) Homepage
      I happen to be living in Moldova, a small country which probably scores worse than Romania if you check it with your "country-o-meter".Romania is our Western neighbor (the really long story is that our countries used to be united, but this is just FYI).

      A lot of times I have to deal with the fact that an online-store does not deliver to Moldova, so either I have to know someone abroad (who lives in a "good" country and can make the purchase for me) or forget about the product.

      But hey, we're people too! We are intelligent, reasonable, we have feelings, we trust other people, and other people trust us. Simply 'blacklisting' a country is not a good solution, because it still leaves a lot of unhappy folk.

      I even had cases in which some companies refused to sell software (no export control regulations involved), all they have to do is send me an email with the registration number _after_ the money is transferred to their account; but no...

      What the hell will I do? Stick my hand into "teh tubes", grab their necks and then suck them into the abyss?

      In other words, item#1 in your list should be removed, imho.
      • I've never been a big fan of universal blacklisting. It's a lot like racism.

        The problem is simply this: I still have no assurance that it isn't fraud, and as this article says Romanians are dangerous. And I'm an American, you expect me to differentiate between Romania and surrounding countries? If there's one thing you should know, we love us some propaganda- and you are the target. As far as I'm concerned, you're just trying to swindle me out of good judgment so your neighbors can rob me and you can laugh
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MythMoth (73648)

        What the hell will I do? Stick my hand into "teh tubes", grab their necks and then suck them into the abyss?

        In other words, item#1 in your list should be removed, imho.
        Sorry, but until your country is statistically a good bet the fact that you personally are an honourable upstanding individual is completely irrelevant to me. Blacklists are unjust, but they're not for the benefit of the people on them - they're for the people who use them.
      • by Skapare (16644)

        Your reaction to having your country blacklisted is to ... all of you together ... complain to the leaders of your country to do all it takes ... whatever it takes ... to totally crack down on all the crimes that make your country stand out in a bad way. Do that, and solve the problem, then your country won't be listed. It's that simple. And that is what the blacklisting is for.

  • Effort (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:26PM (#21830916) Journal
    It always amazes me the effort criminals use to commit crimes. However, I finally realized what the issue is and it comes right back down to supply and demand.

    The demand for legal use of the skills required to pull this off, is already saturated with the supply of legal workforce, so the criminal moves to a more lucrative marketplace, the black market. When applying the same skill level and effort of his legal counterparts, the criminal maximizes his/her profit potential by moving to a marketplace that has much lower supplies.

    The only thing that can counter act this phenomenon is making getting caught extremely expensive, thus driving up the "cost" of the black marketplace. I suggest to you, that financial or incarceration penalties are not nearly enough to drive the markets to unprofitability, that it requires something more costly and more effective ....

    I'll leave the particulars up everyone else to ponder.
    • Good thinking ace!

      Let me advocate the devil for a second- what if the penalties are already high, but *gasp* they aren't being levied?

      Why, then someone would have to send over a high tech team to assist the authorities in catching the criminals! And you might see a news story about it on some websit...wait a minute!

    • Thinking economically about these problems is a good way to approach them, but your reasoning is not complete.

      Criminals tend to believe they will get away with it. Obviously instituting the death penalty would dissuade some, but I don't want people to be killed for fraud.

      A better way, possibly concurrent to increasing sentences, is to make sure they actually get caught. All the judges and legislators in the world can't do anything if no one can enforce the law.
    • Re:Effort (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fia (861441) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:08PM (#21831314) Journal
      I am from Romania and I can assure you that the "supply of legal workplace" is very abundant here. If you are an IT guy you can easily find work for about 3 times the medium salary in Romania. I think most of the scams that are done from Romania are done by a small group of people which specialized in this. Not only eBay, but in Romania it is kind of a national sport to scam, starting with the political class and down to the beggars in the street.
      • So are you saying it is a cultural thing? Not out of necessity, but rooted in some other national or cultural heritage? Like "American arrogance" or "Swiss precision" ??
        • by mgblst (80109)
          No disrespect to the Italians, but they have a very similar culture, have has since Roman times. It is in there culture. Not to be racist, certainly not all people are like this, and you get scammers in every culture.
    • by Raenex (947668)

      The demand for legal use of the skills required to pull this off, is already saturated with the supply of legal workforce, so the criminal moves to a more lucrative marketplace, the black market.

      Not always the case. The urge to steal is a natural one. Some people give in to it, even though rationally they could make a decent living working legitimately. It also might come down to a life-style choice. There's a big difference between grinding out a job vs the thought of "easy money" and more excitement.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    From the fine article:

    ...Russians have a profitable niche in Internet dating fraud...

    What exactly is dating fraud? Is this where you setup a date with some hot Russian gal online, only to wake up in a hotel room a week later married to the scariest woman you have ever seen?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:28PM (#21830946)
    ... his best joke was:

    What's the recipe for a Romanian omelette?

    Step 1: steal a dozen eggs.
  • Nice image piece (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:43PM (#21831096)

    Slashdot story about ebay sitting on its hands and doing nothing when given proof of fraud, complete with stories from slashdotters who used to work for ebay: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/16/1316203&tid=95&tid=98&tid=123 [slashdot.org]

    This guy adds in his own personal experience, where eBay wanted a $25 fee to handle a fraud case: http://danwarne.com/ebay-fraud-under-scrutiny/ [danwarne.com]

    In 2002, ebay sits on its hands and does nothing when given evidence of fraud: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078736/ [msn.com]

    FTC says Ebay is the #1 source of online fraud complaints (circa 2003): http://www.news.com/FTC,-states-take-on-online-auction-fraud/2100-1017_3-999009.html [news.com]

    Still a problem in 2004: http://www.nclnet.org/news/2004/internet_fraud_stats.htm [nclnet.org]

    ...and the beat goes on! Just google "ebay fraud" and see hundreds of news stories and personal accounts...

    I recall reading a few years ago that eBay was a source of something like 75% of all complaints about online fraud. Just yesterday I saw an item for sale by a guy with a positive rating of something like 24,000. Unless he's selling 6 items a day for the last 10 years, I see nothing has changed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I recall reading a few years ago that eBay was a source of something like 75% of all complaints about online fraud. Just yesterday I saw an item for sale by a guy with a positive rating of something like 24,000. Unless he's selling 6 items a day for the last 10 years, I see nothing has changed.

      Oh, you must mean the new ebay feature where they let you create your own random feedback number? /rolls eyes...

      There are plenty of people/businesses on ebay that have legitimate high feedback numbers - a 24,000 is
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As a former employee of eBay and someone who still has friends who work there, I know that eBay does in fact take fraud seriously. They are also a serious target. And there are legions of people who seem to think that eBay is out there trying to screw people over. They are not. EBay fully understands how the fraud is hurting their business.

      There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that is not publicly discussed.
      • by fishbowl (7759)
        So can you give me the name and number of one of these employees who takes fraud seriously? I'd like to see someone jailed, please.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Giovanni666 (1208942)
      Here ya go. Ebay has been caught in so many lies about their crappy security it is not funny. Anyone remember that thing about the credit card numbers getting posted on the Trust & Safety forum on 9-25-2007? They lied through their teeth and tried to cover it all up.

      http://auctionguild.blogspot.com/2007/09/has-your-ebay-account-been-compromised.html [blogspot.com] http://www.firemeg.com/2007/09/ebay-inc-proof-of-hacking-video-pulled.html [firemeg.com] http://budmalcolm.bravejournal.com/entry/24291 [bravejournal.com]

      They also threatened, intimidat

    • by spamuell (1208984)
      Just this week, a parliamentary enquiry [guardian.co.uk] in the UK found that ebay profits by colluding with black-market ticket agencies.
  • Nobody is immune from scam's
    Happened to a good friend of mine , who has been working in the IT industry for > 15 years.
    The money he lost in the scam was nothing compared to the loss of credibility it had a really bad affect on his contract work when word got out.

    common if you see 'Nigeria'+ 'transfer money'+ 'you get 20%'+ 'obvious bogus name'

    you don't think somethings wrong you are not worth the paper you're degree was printed on.
    Now he is really interested in the Security Area.
  • Ebay ad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @01:52PM (#21831180) Homepage
    The article sort of looks like an Ebay ad. So, the billion dollar corporation has devoted one (whole) employee to fighting Romanian scammers and donated some pc's etc to the local police. Unless that one person is John Rambo, this is not enough. It is however enough for Ebay to claim "hey look, we 're doing something, when we don't even really have to".
    From the horror stories I have heard from people around me about Paypal (owned by Ebay) scams and the indifference with which Paypal deals (or more accurately does not deal) with them, I know that Ebay is doing far less than it should, even when their own payment system is involved, and even when the scammers are here in the US. Deal with that first - it is so much easier - and stop BSing us about hunting down Western Union scammers in Romania...
  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:00PM (#21831246) Journal
    Why do I suspect that much of this donated equipment has gone straight to the scammers. An operation as big as they say pretty much has to involve the "authorities".
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Yeah, it turns out ebay was scammed by a Romanian group that pretended to be anti-scammers. Ebay should've seen the warning sign when the email they received about the matter stated that once they receive the equiptment, they'll send back 10 times the equiptment, plus 8 extra computers for their trouble.
      tsk tsk, ebay.
  • Cause people will screw you over for money. i am so reminded of this case on judge judy. http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZJDK6ctRjqw [youtube.com]
  • All these scams by romanians scammers hurt more for other romanians who would like to buy or sell something legit, but can't get the chance, because they are look upon with suspicion. Aren't there some services (escrow i think they are called) who make sure that the transaction goes according with the way it should?
    • Not to be too cynical, but anytime I'm faced with trying to decide whether an online ad, auction, offer, etc, is legit or not, if the word "escrow" comes up, I'm all of a sudden less interested.

      Why should I even get involved with a seller who's

      a>in another country,
      b>won't take paypal,
      c>doing things very similar to what other known scammers are doing?
  • I have no problem sorting through the sellers, but what is not usually mentioned is the fraudulent buyers, and the fact that a seller has no way to prevent anyone from "buying" an item. At that point one is out the listing and sales fee, and the hassle of trying to get it back is not worth it. So we no longer sell on ebay.

    I suppose ebay should have an "approve buyer?" button, but to my knowledge they don't.
  • I've bought and sold on eBay about 25 times in the past few years without any problems.

    Now I'm watching for camera lenses for a new Canon 40D (bought from Amazon), but my wife (who checked out several 40Ds on eBay) warned me about these scam rings and that cameras and camera accessories are a favorite bait to lure unknowing buyers.

    Apparently the eBay ratings system can be gamed. Does anyone know of a way to confirm a seller is legit before placing a bid?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by veganboyjosh (896761)
      Somewhat off topic, but a roommate of mine who was into buying high end photo equipment on ebay, and had a friend who got ripped off in a big way.

      He found some equipment he was interested in buying, bid on it, or "buy it now"'ed it. He contacted the seller for payment info, since the price was around $10,000. The seller was anxious to ship the stuff, and got his ship to address, so he could get it out. The seller contacted him sometime before payment was sent, but after he had the ship to address (which
  • Highly organized (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teal_ (53392) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @02:28PM (#21831492)
    The amazing thing is that in Romania, Russia, China, as well as other countries-- online fraud is a full-time business with real offices and employees and everything, just like your job but the mission statement of "the company" is to make money by devising and executing online fraud. They have R&D teams that come up with incredibly sophisticated attacks and they have teams to execute the existing plans, etc. The employees get vacation time, salary, benefits, everything. It's an actual real job, it's basically a wing of organized crime, not just some guy in a basement outsmarting the security folk at ebay. The local politicians are greased to look the other way and impede law enforcement, which is what makes it so difficult to shut them down. There are ISPs in Russia _known_ to be owned by the mob. It takes serious anti-fraud resources to combat these people.
    • by serbanp (139486)
      Can you actually provide an example or it's just that you're full of BS?
    • by a_claudiu (814111)
      I don't know about Russia or China but what you say about Romania is wrong. I'm Romanian and I never heard about companies doing this. Hearing about a gang or a group of teenagers "hackers" yes but never about a company. Yes, the corruption is big in Romania but not so big. Considering Romania is part of EU and NATO no politician will ever think about protecting this kind of criminality. So at least 1/3rd of what you say is BS.
      • by really? (199452)
        Except he is not really that wrong. They are small, cell like, groups, protected by low level politicians and cops. Not as organized as the article would have you believe, but not exactly unknown.
        As for you hearing about some teenage hackers ... it reminds me of the old adage "a good hacker is a well known hacker, a great hacker is an unknown hacker."
      • by gaspyy (514539)
        I agree with the parent (I'm also from Romania).
        I've come across some eBay scammers - they are your garden variety of low-lifes - usually college students with little knowledge in computers.

        In the grand scheme of things, eBay theft is rather unprofitable here. If you're an IT pro, companies will go out of their way to employ you as there is a serious shortage of qualified workers (in my city the unemployment rate is 0.2% I kid you not). If you're a criminal, you can make better money by other means.
    • Are you kidding me? Actually, are you kidding yourselves? How are teal_'s opinions informative? I mean, besides informing us of teal_'s willingness to throw unsubstantiated claims left and right?
      • by really? (199452)
        Just because you are getting all self defensive and unwilling to accept that many, if not most, of your countrymen are, basically, slime, it doesn't make him wrong.
  • I'm from Romania and I have few friends that are great online-traders and deliver the object every time ! And some things that worth to know:
    • this year we received the right to make full-access accounts on PayPal (some time ago we couldn't receive money, only send and at the beggining of this year we couldn't make accounts at all)
    • many of us are trustworthy people
    • some of us are considered "hackers" by the media beucase they are selling fictive objects on eBay
    • and a part of the population thinks it'
  • I find it funny that the article makes it sound like Bitdefender is the greatest anti-virus software. About a year ago I found it caused at least 3 separate problems at two different businesses. It wound up costing one of the businesses about a thousand dollars to discover it was the anti-virus software causing a problem. No anti-virus software is perfect.. but that's quite a bad track record in my experience.
  • Goddamn scammers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pulszar (968478) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:05PM (#21831942)
    What's really annoying about eBay is selling. When you buy from eBay, it's easy to know if you are going to get scammed (providing you use some common sense). A buyer from Jersey needs payment sent to India? I'm out. But selling is a whole other issue.

    I had this one incident where I was selling something and the winning bidder looked pretty trustworthy; a few dozen positive feedbacks, a member for 2-3 years, from the States, the whole deal. So a few hours after the auction ends I get an email saying they needed the item shipped to India because they were visiting family and didn't want the item sent to an empty house. To the average, non-common sense using user, this might seem like a reasonable request but it's bullshit.

    So I refused the deal, reported the account to eBay and the next day got an email saying the real account owner's account had been "compromised" and that they were looking into it. What really sucked is that it took 2 months to get a refund for the cost of putting up the auction (listing fees), and the final value fee from when the item sold. Since it was kind of an expensive item, and eBay already rapes it's users on fees, I was out something like $30 until it was finally refunded.

    So again, buyers can avoid trouble with common sense, but wheres the protection for sellers? We can't tell off the bat when someone steals a legit user's account and then tries scamming us AFTER the fact.

    I really hate eBay.
    • by HAKdragon (193605)
      Similar thing happened to me when I tried to sell my PS3 (which actually led me to keeping it and I've actually been having fun). The first time it was with somebody who had a compromised account. The second time was pretty similar, but the person had bid on a number of higher end items and provided a fake address and phone number; though it was kind of fun to watch their rating drop like a rock.
  • I have this scene flash in my mind's eye of these Ebay Huey's flying into Romainia like the opening scene of Preditor....they come in low over the trees sideways, flashing eBay logo's painted on the sides.

    Once they land, out jumps Arnie and his crew, packing toughbook laptops, rackmout equipment chomping on a cigar, looking pissed off at having to go to Romainia. Borat runs over, salutes and grabs some equipment and throws it in the back of a jeep. They ride over to the command tent to get their breifing,
  • by TrevorB (57780) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @03:58PM (#21832570) Homepage
    I have a good friend living in Romania. She's not a scammer, nor works for a scamming company, but because of Romania's label as a scamming country, internet usage can be very hard for her. For instance, Romanian credit cards are worthless on the Internet, even though she will pay for the goods she purchases.

    I'm figuring things might get a smidge easier now that Romania is part of the EU. It would still be nice if she could validate in some way that she was a good customer, rather than a "Romanian customer"
    • I feel your friend's pain. I'm an exiled Nigerian prince (trying to get my money out of this damn country) and you wouldn't believe how reluctant people are to help me.
    • by rickb928 (945187)
      Read the article referenced in post. Romania seems to be the hind part of the EU. So much so that Romanian workers are unwelcome in most of the EU, what with being well-skilled and very, very inexpensive.

      Gee, maybe we could do the same thing here with Mexic... nevermind. Won't work.
      • by jacquesm (154384)
        same goes for Poles in the Netherlands. People here are absolutely rabid against former east block workers for exactly the reasons you stated (skilled, very very inexpensive). The really bad part is that the big guns here have already made a killing on the opening up of the former sovblock countries by buying up lots of factories and real estate, driving tens of thousands of people in those countries from their jobs. So, now they come here simply to work and take home some money and there is lots of bad blo
      • by hritcu (871613)

        Read the article referenced in post.

        This article is probably the worst place to get general information about Romania (a better place would be Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]). Yes, Romania has a big problem with online fraud, but this is probably the only accurate fact in the whole article.

        Romania seems to be the hind part of the EU. So much so that Romanian workers are unwelcome in most of the EU, what with being well-skilled and very, very inexpensive.

        Depends what you mean by unwelcome. If you mean unwelcome by some of th

    • I've seen several posts now about Romanian users or friends of Romanian users saying that the ordinary people are suffering because they cant use online services. But at the end of the day it isn't the rest of the worlds duty to fix their political problems. If it is really such a huge problem for ordinary Romanians then they need to lobby their government for tighter anti-corruption controls and better law enforcement against cyber crime.

      Until there is some evidence to the service provider (ebay, amazon
    • by oliderid (710055)
      Tell her to open a bank account in another EU country. Like Luxembourg.
      http://www.justlanded.com/english/luxembourg/tools/just_landed_guide/money/opening_an_account [justlanded.com]

  • This is the worst movie scenario ever!
    Ian Wylie must be on something stronger than cocaine.

    I'm used to read a lot of stupidities written about my country but this one is so full of crap it makes me think it's some kind of a joke.
    - Albena Spasova driving the twisting highway (she must be drunk, there is no highway there), escorted by US Secret Service (on horses, with stetsons and stuff)?
    - She can't trust the telephone line (what's up sugar this kind of technology is to new for you)?
    - Local hackers ci
  • Ebay = Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by EEPROMS (889169) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:00PM (#21835558)
    Am I the only one finding Ebay is more expensive than the normal on-line shops or even real retail shops. I recently decided to purchase a HP C6180 printer (works great with Linux) and the best price I found was AU$249 from a normal big brand retail chain. When I looked as Ebay the best (buy now) price was over AU$329 at the time with the best on-line retailer price being AU$304 (with another printer thrown in as a bonus). Im finding that if you want to buy any "new" product, ebay is the worst place to go if you want to save money. On the other hand second hand goods on ebay can sometimes be a good deal.
    • by hritcu (871613)
      That's why you shouldn't "buy now" without comparing prices. And eBay is an auction site! That's where the good deals usually are.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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