Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 21st year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2016 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

TradeMe's critics lash out at scam

9 August 2007

Long-time critics of the auction site TradeMe have highlighted yet another case of fraud that, it's claimed has this time hoodwinked hundreds of victims and seen traders fleeced for thousands of dollars.

Scambuster's Alf West alleges that "recent changes by TradeMe to their DVD area have made this type of scam even easier. Previously you needed to photograph the package and write your own text. Now you merely enter any DVD title and TradeMe supplies the rest of the details as well as a handy photo."

This, says West, makes it easy for a scammer to create auctions for DVDs they don't actually have.

A new TradeMe member operating under the alias dvd_hook_ups is said to have pocketed more than $5,000 in a single week as the result of running a large number of such bogus DVD auctions.

This isn't the first time TradeMe has been slammed for virtually aiding and abetting those who'd seek to fleece its members through fraudulent auctions.

The mere fact that the Scambusters website exists is a sad commentary on TradeMe's own attitude to fighting fraud within its community.

Where are the regularly updated and timely scam-alerts and warnings on the TradeMe site itself?

It's clear that TradeMe would rather have its users ripped-off than dare to scare them away by adequately informing them as to the risks as they appear.

OurRegion - Manawatu
Please visit the sponsor!
In fact, TradeMe seem to be so paranoid that people may find out just how regularly scammers frequent the auction site that they've effectively banned references to Scambusters and (so it would appear) have been proactive in removing community postings that might alert/alarm others to the scale of the problem.

Of course this must make TM an even more attractive venue for scammers -- since they know that the company's management will simply try to ignore them rather than take concrete steps to alert its users.

But just how large is the scam problem over at TradeMe?

Well, if ScamBusters are to be believed, it's not insignificant.

Their website claims:

"Since February 2006 we have recorded 996 hijacked TradeMe user accounts. The Romanians operating this scam have now listed 3,376 fraudulent auctions offering 102,145 items which don't exist"

Over 100,000 items fraudulently offered for sale in just 18 months!

But it's not just a fear of scaring customers away that probably stops TradeMe from running its own scam-alert service.

I suspect that this is the other reason.

It's clearly to TradeMe's advantage if there's a good level of fraud going on -- this makes it much easier to earn extra money on sales by way of SafeTrader.

Instead of killing the fraudster's auctions and properly informing customers, TM stands to make more money by pitching SafeTrader as a "cure" for such things.

What is most obvious from this situation is just how important "critical mass" is to the viability of an online auction site.

I'd bet good money that if TM was a fresh startup with no existing customer-base, they would not survive in the face of the competition they now face. There are a small number of competitors who'd eat them alive, simply by dint of the fact that they are less paranoid and offer the user a fairer deal.

Have you ever been stung in a fraudulent TM auction?

Do you think TM does enough to inform and alert its users as to fraudulent activity when it is detected?

Are my opinions in respect to the motives for TM apparently paying little attention to fraud valid?

Have your say on this...

PERMALINK to this column

Oh, and don't forget today's sci/tech news headlines


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

The Missile Man The Missile Man book

Recent Columns

Why is the NZH deleting our past?
I have a little folder of bookmarks that relate to important or useful news stories...

Can you spell naive?
I had a right-old giggle this morning as I read one press release on the news wires...

We are not alone
Yesterday's column was about aliens with cosmic ray guns and today the media seems to have found out where they might be living...

We are under attack from space aliens!
According to reports in the mainstream media, we are under attack from space...

Our gangster government
The Kim Dotcom saga continues to drag on through the courts and yesterday it was announced, to our shame, that the High Court has upheld a lower-court ruling that extradition proceedings can go ahead...

$10 million, seriously?
fondly recall the old-times when domain names were considered a valuable commodity and changed hands for huge sums...

The cloud with a silver lining
As I watched the palls of smoke rising over the hills near Christchurch I began to reflect on the value of clouds...

You have to be kidding me!
There are those who believe that politicians and the government as a whole are a puppet to large corporations and business interests...

We don't need no stinken UFB!
Tokoroa was one of the first two locations in New Zealand to get UFB...

Weasel words from the marketing dept.
How about this... an electric vehicle with a lifetime battery failure warranty!...

Our jobless future - bright or dark?
Around the world, governments are preparing for a future in which unemployment will be the norm and technology will be doing all the work...