Stamp Collectors Against Dodgy Sellers
October 8, 2002:
A new 'scan theft' auction has appeared in the stamp category.
The seller, mbaker7662, who has never sold stamps on eBay before, is selling four very rare U.S. stamps. However, he does not own them. Three of the scans have been identified as stolen from other eBay auctions, as this comparison makes quite obvious.
mbaker7662's selling history fits well within the framework of other 'big con' eBay sellers. There is a history of inexpensive transactions for the purpose of building up enough feedback to make him seem credible. In mbaker7662's case, he sold aluminum cases for "Visor" handheld PDA's, for $5 to $10 apiece.
Then, in mid-September, he suddenly began selling much more valuable items: thousands of dollars worth of televisions, TiVo video recorders, Tommy Hilfiger shoes, and rare stamps. But we know that he doesn't own the rare stamps. What, then, are the chances that he owns the TiVos? This is the final stage of the "big con."
mbaker7662 is not as ambitious as earlier fraudulent sellers such as mabgsl, con of the month for August, but in some ways he is harder working. He adds to the mix two shill bidding id: ebz2u and express-mart.
ebz2u is very obviously a fake ID owned by mbaker7662. It was created the day after mbaker7662 was created in June. Of the 32 items in ebz2u's bidding history, 29 were offered by mbaker7662. It is remarkable that ebz2u has such varied interests - shoes, rare stamps, electronics - which also match so well with mbaker7662's line of merchandise! In fact, ebz2u likes mbaker7662's TiVo recorders so much that he has bid on FOUR of them.
Complaints were made to eBay on October 5 about mbaker7662's stolen-scan stamp auction and his shill bidding. On October 8, ebz2u was NARUed, but not (yet) mbaker7662! Now mbaker7662 has brought out a reserve shill ID, express-mart, whose only bids on eBay so far have been mbaker7662's shoes, perfume, TiVo, and stamps.
(UPDATE October 9: mbaker7662 has been NARUed.)