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Why You Should Never Buy Gift Certificates On Ebay: How I Became A Victim Of Triangulation Scam

Updated on October 22, 2016

Here is my sad story of becoming a victim of ebay triangulation scam which I would like to share, so that other people would be more careful while buying staff on ebay... and while shopping at

A year ago I bough an e-gift certificate for on ebay. The e-certificate worked, I bought everything I needed on Sephora's website and forgot about it. In over a year, I decided to buy something else online on I placed and order, and for a week there was no email as for the shipping, so I called customer service to check what's going on with the order, and was surprised to know that my account was suspended "because of fraud". It turned out that I became a victim of triangulation scam.

What is triangulation scam?

This turns out to be a very common type of scam on ebay, and this is how it works: the scammer buys goods from large stores using stolen credit card information, and passes it into the highest bidder. It turned out that I was lucky that I bought not a physical good, because in triangulation scams, scammer not only buys using stolen credit card, but also provides buyer's shipping address to the store to ship the goods, so that in a while, when the fraud is detected, police arrives to the buyer, who doesn't know what's going on... This didn't happen in my case (thanks God it was an e-gift certificate!) All in all, there are three victims in triangulation scam - the person whose credit card information was stolen, the store, and the buyer...

Have you ever been a victim of a scam through ebay?

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That's what happened to me

In two weeks after my purchase at Sephora with that e-gift certificate, the credit card holder has probably complained to his bank about unauthorized charge, and they charged Sephora for that. Sephora, instead of letting me know, tried to charge my credit card for the amount of that certificate. My bank blocked this unauthorized charge. After that, Sephora suspended my account "because of fraud". The most interesting thing - nobody told me anything, nobody called from Sephora as for the issue. I knew nothing for more than a year.

When I learnt about everything (just by chance, because decided to buy some staff online), they told me that I have 2 choices: either pay whatever the certificate is worth out of my pocket, or choose not to pay and have my account cancelled forever...

Why I'm pissed, and why Sephora is a crappy company

The thing that pisses me off the most is Sephora's attitude! I blame Sephora in all this, not even ebay, that actually let the scammer sell this certificate (that's another story, why they still allow selling these goods after so many scams detected...) Couldn't Sephora call me a year ago, when they realized what's going on and at least let me know that they were going to charge my credit card?! At that point I could resolve that issue with ebay, since they have 45 days policy for such things, return my money from the seller, pay to Sephora and everyone would be happy. Instead, they decided to do nothing else, but try to charge my credit card without even letting me know... Now, I called ebay and the only thing they could do is to feel compassion for me. They could do nothing to help - that seller's account was cancelled a year ago and they have 45 day policy... Sephora decided to be silent and make me to blame in this situation...

Probably some people would say, "it's not their fault". It's not, but it's not my either! Why am I to blame now? Why weren't they a bit proactive a year ago to resolve this issue not only for me, but for them as well? (wouldn't they receive the money the certificate was worth?) Obviously I'm not going to pay them out of my pocket now...

Has anyone been in similar situation? I would love to hear your opinions and experiences...

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    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      The internet has made this as simple as browsing a few minutes and making a purchase. Unfortunately lot of scams are there and we ourselves have to protect our items, funds and identity. Thanks for sharing this and informing us about scam.