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Beware second-chance auction scams

The scammer may try to lead the e-mail recipient to an off-eBay site to complete the transaction, take them to a fraudulent escrow site or ask them to wire money for the item. Wire transfers comprise the most commonly suggested way for victims to pay, says Steiner. "A wire transfer is like sending cash."

Either way, both instant cash wire transfers and bank account transfers are unsafe ways to pay for items. Buyers risk never receiving the item and losing any funds sent for it. These payment methods aren't traceable to the recipient. It's a lost cause.


Not all second-chance auction offers are scams. EBay allows sellers to make second-chance offers to bidders in instances where the winning bidder doesn't pay, the winning bid doesn't satisfy a reserve price or when the seller has identical items for sale. Yet some crucial differences between legitimate second-chance offers and fake ones exist.

Will the real second-chance offer please stand up?
With eBay, a legitimate second-chance offer will not come directly as an e-mail from the seller but from eBay itself. If a member has a bona fide second-chance offer from eBay, it will appear in one of several places.

Real second-chance offers will appear:
  • As an e-mail from eBay with the subject line "EBay Second-chance Offer for Item ..." The message should include a yellow "buy it now" icon to accept the offer, along with a new number and page for the unsold item.
  • As a link on the closed item page for that particular listing, beneath where it says "You were outbid," any second chances will appear.
  • As a message next to the greeting at the top of the "My eBay" page after a member signs in.
  • As a message on members' "Items I Didn't Win" pages, which customers can access through their "My eBay" pages. Second-chance offers, if any, will be linked.


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