Bruce Schneier on eBay fraud

Noted computer security maven Bruce Schneier just blogged about his experience selling a Sony laptop on eBay. It didn't go well, he was the victim of two different scams.

After the initial blog posting, Schneier added a link to a May 2008 Consumerist article that says "... it's become virtually impossible to sell any sort of medium-to-high end electronics" on eBay. 

Both stories tell of eBay warning the seller that the buyer was a fraud. You can take that as the glass half full or half empty.

I have always been sceptical of eBay. From what I'd read on the subject, their rating system seemed too easily manipulated.

There's probably a safe way to use eBay, after all, many people continue to use it. It could well be that certain items, like laptop computers, are more prone to fraud that others. Still, it seems that an education in the possible scams is needed before diving in.

Which brings up the question - without going to scam school, can you rely on eBay's customer support? Twice the Consumerist article tells of canned responses from eBay that did not address the problem at hand. 

One thing I can't state often enough regarding scams and fraud:

NEVER trust the From address of an email message.

Update: A few days after blogging about this, Mr. Schneier sold his laptop privately to someone who reads his blog. (June 29, 2009)

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