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Rip-off at wine auctions

Once again, buyers of renowned wines are being ripped off on eBay. A new case of so-called sales agents proves that eBay is almost powerless against such machinations. This case affects the entire German-speaking region. However, there are 2 sufferers in these transactions: both buyer and seller. Both have been cheated. And the winner is?...the one you can never catch!

Every year

I am often asked why I warn against buying wine on eBay in various media. Although thousands of wine auctions on this online platform come from honest sellers, one should not assume that this is always the case. The number of dubious wine sales in the gourmet section is negligible. As long as one is not affected oneself, one does not understand the excitement regarding eBay. But it is the duty of a journalist to report on grievances. Since the situation at eBay has not really improved for years and a certain number of member accounts are still being hacked (password theft) or members are being cheated out of their hard-earned money, I am happy to give tips on how to reduce future losses or avoid them altogether. In general, there is nothing wrong with shopping on eBay. After all, many reputable and well-known traders also offer their wines here. But I do have something against attempted rip-offs of gullible wine enthusiasts.

Abused for fraud

Perhaps you recognise in the text below that you are also one of the victims who bought wines at auction, paid for them but never received them, or who made your eBay account available to a fraudster. A German acting under a false name (there is already a trace) used the well-known and reputable company GIGAJOB. The company immediately deleted the advertisement after becoming aware of the alleged fraud. Such a job fraudster placed the following advertisement on the Gigajob sites in Austria, Germany and Switzerland (O-text):

Job title: matthias_wagner09@yahoo.de
Job description: I am still looking for some diligent employees who want to work from home, free time management, no costs, with or without a contract. If contract then mini-job, on commission or employee contract. If you are interested, please send me an email.

If you answer this advertisement, you will receive a fairytale offer (original text: presumption of innocence applies to all persons mentioned):

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your job is to place goods on Ebay, Hood.de or Ricardo.ch. You will get the auction templates with photo from us. You do not have to invest or buy anything.
The procedure:
You place the goods in one of the auction houses according to our specifications and answer the customer questions. If you don't know the answer to a customer question, you can ask us. E-mails are answered once a day.
If you give the customer our bank details we will send the goods to the customer as soon as we have received the money and you will receive your commission of 30% plus auction fees paid into your account every 14 days. If you give the customer your bank details you can deduct your commission of 30% plus auction fees directly and transfer the rest to us, as soon as we have received the money we will send the goods to the customer.
After 4 weeks of successful work together you will get an account at Ebay, Ricardo.ch or Hood.de from us and you will get a permanent job on tax card, full-time 2200€ gross, part-time 400€.

If we aroused your interest send us a mail and you will receive the contract.

With kind regards

Matthias Wagner (*

Data for transfer:
Albert S. (name changed)
Bank: Card Complete
IBAN: AT1234567890 (changed for data protection reasons)
Oesterreich / Austria
Please indicate only this as reason for payment and nothing else:52112457
Please transfer in Euro

Upon request, Card Complete Service Bank AG only acted as the executing credit institution in this case (it is a bank transfer to the mentioned current account) and therefore had no influence on the extent or the content of the transaction. For the probably countless victims of this "sales agent scam", this is a serious-looking advertisement.

Full of drive, some interested parties (mostly in need of money!) signed the contract and began to sell well-known Bordeaux wines such as Trotanoy/Pomerol or La Tache 1982 with their own eBay account (examples: drachenherz0650 or beowulf_2008). Most customers paid immediately after the auction ended and only had to transfer 70% of the money received to the above account holder. 30% earnings - simply wonderful. But then the first problems arose.

First warnings

The first buyers complained about the wines they had not received. Beowulf_2008 received a hail of negative reviews and eBay blocked the accounts because of the risk of fraud. Only now did these bona fide sellers (for them the presumption of innocence applies) learn that they had probably been taken in by a crook. The buyers naturally wanted their money back and reports were filed by buyers and sellers with police authorities. However, since the fraud was widespread, it is extremely difficult to coordinate all police stations or public prosecutors' offices. In the rarest cases, the people behind the fraud are caught, as they usually operate from abroad or from Internet cafes, where anonymous surfing on the Internet is made possible in some places. How many employees were hired by this company is beyond my knowledge. It is very likely that there were hundreds or even more. After all, the offer was to be found in all German-speaking countries on the largest Internet job exchange. Gigajob's warning that the job offer might be dubious or even criminal probably came too late for many. At the time of going to press, I heard from one of the people concerned that the police have a first lead to the people behind the job offer. This leads to Spain. Hasta la vista!

ATTENTION: If you were a buyer or seller in such transactions, you are welcome to send your enquiries or tips to info@weinbetrug.org or to redaktion@wein-plus.de.

*)As address this ominous seller gave in addition to the false name also a false address: Matthias Wagner, Schottenring 12, 1010 Vienna! Probably none of the people interested in this "job" took the trouble to investigate more closely whether this company even exists at this address. Otherwise they would have immediately discovered that a renowned, reputable personnel management company is based at this address. According to information from this COMPANY, a Matthias Wagner is completely unknown at this address.

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