How to Know If Products From EBay, Amazon and Facebook Have Been Stolen

Long before the seemingly endless pandemic began, the convenience of online shopping was hard to resist. But while buying something directly from a reputable retailer or directly from a manufacturer tends to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting, the rise in popularity of online marketplaces, especially on Amazon and Facebook, has made the purchase more attractive. shit.

These places are more like virtual flea markets, except that there is no way to inspect the goods in person. For this and other reasons, stolen goods often end up on sale on these sites. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation , what it calls “Organized Retail Crime” (ORC) currently costs retailers an average of $ 700,000 on $ 1 billion in sales, and roughly 75% of retailers surveyed in 2020 merchants noted the growth of ORC. just that year.

So how do you know what is legal (and legal) being sold or resold and what is popular? Here are a few red flags to look out for when shopping at online marketplaces.

Strangely low price

Mark Coopwood, former Beverly Hills Police Chief Assistant, told Newsnation Now that when an item is well below market value, or “discounted so much” it looks suspicious, it’s a sign that it could be stolen. If you are not sure how much it usually costs , Scambusters recommends checking prices for similar items that have already been sold. You can do this on eBay by clicking “Sold Listings” in the left pane of the product listing page.

Lean or suspicious ad

Take a close look at the list of the item you are about to review to see if it has any of these red flags, Scambusters advises:

  • There is no real description of the subject – just a short, simple statement of what it is, without details.
  • The description states that the item was “found”.
  • This is a locked computer, tablet or smartphone, and the seller claims to have “forgotten” the password.

If you do decide to continue looking for an item before making an offer, be sure to contact the seller and ask a lot of questions about things like its condition, how long they have owned it, and why they are selling it, Scumbasters explains . Ask sellers for proof of ownership, such as a receipt or product registration record.

Anonymous profile

While there is no guarantee that online merchants are who they say they are, Coopwood says having an anonymous profile is also a certain red flag.

Lack or absence of ratings and / or reviews

Of course, there are always times when a new (and completely legitimate) seller does not have ratings or reviews yet, but this is usually not the best sign. That is, having only negative ratings or reviews on only a handful of very cheap items is a tactic that scammers say are being used by scammers to increase their (fake) credibility.

No way to contact the seller

Reputable sellers usually provide at least some way to contact them if buyers have questions or concerns. But Coopwood says this is not the case for people who sell stolen goods.

The seller asks you for personal information

Most often this happens when sellers do not provide identifying information about themselves, Coopwood said. “[When] they have an anonymous profile, they ask for information that you should never give them, he told Newsnation Now .

The seller asks to pay by money order.

It ‘s a serious red flag, according to Scambusters, if a merchant asks you to pay for your purchase with an untracked money order or cashier’s check and doesn’t accept credit cards or PayPal.


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