Safety Centre

Avoiding scams and reporting fraud

Very occasionally things go wrong – read our practical tips on staying safe on eBay and online, and what to do if you think you’ve been scammed

Golden rules

  • Always complete eBay purchases on the eBay website.
  • If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If you receive an email that includes links and requests sensitive information, be cautious.
  • Communications from eBay and eBay members always appear on the Messages tab in My eBay.
  • Protect your computer with anti-virus and anti-malware software

Back to top

Avoiding buying scams

  • Remember that eBay Money Back Guarantee only covers eligible transactions that are completed ON and paid for with PayPal. Find out more about our eligibility requirements for eBay Money Back Guarantee.
  • Always read the listing carefully and check the seller's Feedback before buying. The more you're spending, the more cautious you should be. Read our information on buying with confidence.
  • Be cautious about sending payments for high-priced items that you'd normally inspect in person - such as vehicles - especially if the seller is asking for a payment method other than PayPal.
  • Look out for these common warning signs:
    • Items or vehicles advertised at well below their market value. Remember, if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
    • Sellers who refuse to meet in person or refuse to let the buyer physically inspect the item before buying.
    • Transactions in which the seller and the item - especially vehicles - are in different locations. Criminals often claim to have that they've had to move for work or due to family circumstances, or that they've left the vehicle with a 'local delivery company'.
    • Sellers who claim to have made arrangements with an 'eBay Financial Centre' or eBay's Vehicle Purchase Protection Program. eBay doesn't have a 'Financial Centre', and eBay Motors Vehicle Purchase Protection is only available for vehicles purchased on
    • Sellers who request payment via bank transfer to an eBay bank account. eBay does not act as an escrow service, nor request money from buyers to be paid into our bank account.
    • Sellers who request payment by instant cash transfer via Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods aren't permitted on eBay.

Back to top

Protecting your identity

  • Protect against spoof
    Keep your accounts and identity protected by being aware of spoof emails (also known as fake or phishing emails) - these emails appear to come from a reputable company, but try to make you go to a fake website and divulge your login information or financial details.

    Look out for:

    • Fake emails containing links and/or attachments, asking you to sign in or enter personal or financial information.
    • Fake emails suggesting that your account has been (or will be) suspended
    • Fake Second Chance Offer emails
    • Fake questions about items you are not selling or have not bought
    • Fake offers to become an eBay PowerSeller or eBay Top-rated seller

    Take these simple precautions:

    • If an email appears to come from eBay or PayPal, log into your account to confirm whether it's legitimate or not.
    • Always access your account by typing the eBay URL (e.g. directly in a new browser window – never log into your eBay account using links in an email
    • If an email doesn’t look quite like the notifications you receive from eBay or PayPal, and particularly if the email contains grammatical or spelling errors, you should be highly suspicious – forward any suspicious emails to for confirmation
    • Upgrade your browser. Browsers with the latest anti-phishing capabilities make recognising spoof (fake) websites easier.
    • Be cautious about opening messages with attachments, especially if you're not sure who sent the email.
  • Look after your password
    Always use secure passwords for your eBay and email accounts, as well as your other online accounts. Never give out any sensitive details like bank information or passwords - they're the key to your account.

    Here are some tips for creating a safe password:

    • Secure passwords are 8 or more characters long and contain a combination of numbers and letters
    • eBay passwords are case sensitive – so you can use a combination of capital and lower-case letters for increased security
    • Don’t use the same password for multiple online accounts. In particular, keep your eBay and email account passwords separate.
    • Make sure your password doesn’t contain personal information such as your name, your birth date, driver’s licence, passport number or other similar information.
    • Never write your password down where someone can easily access it
    • Change your passwords regularly (e.g. every 6 months)
  • Protect your computer
    Online scammers, hackers, and identity thieves do business by gaining access to your computer, personal information, finances, and more.

    As a minimum, take these simple precautions:

    Read more about protecting your eBay account.

Back to top

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

Reporting account or identity theft

If you think someone has gained access to your account, change your eBay and PayPal passwords immediately

  • Contact your bank/credit card issuer to cancel unauthorised transactions
  • Make a police report using the Action Fraud website. Even if the police aren't able to take the matter further, your report will still help them to build up a picture of fraud activity.
  • Contact eBay and inform Customer Services about what has happened – they can provide further useful information and initiate actions against any fraudulent accounts
  • Make a police report
  • Share your experiences on the eBay forums with other buyers and sellers so that they know what to avoid
  • Keep safe by understanding how to avoid identity theft

Reporting a fraudulent transaction

If you haven't received an item you bought on eBay, or it doesn't match the description you may be eligible for eBay Money Back Guarantee . Learn more about eBay's resolution process.

If you didn't buy the item on eBay or your purchase isn't eligible for eBay Money Back Guarantee, you can make a police report using the Action Fraud website.

Note: Please be aware that reports about transactions outside of eBay or PayPal may not be investigated, although your report will help the police to build up a picture of fraud activity.

How eBay works with the police

eBay will always assist the police in a criminal investigation. Learn more about reporting fraud to the police and how eBay works with law enforcement.

Back to top

Additional site navigation