We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
78,997 News Articles

Fraudsters try to scam security expert on eBay

Two attempts to get Sony laptop for free

When security expert Bruce Schneier tried to sell a used laptop on eBay, he thought it would be easy. Instead, a sale was aborted twice - first by a scammer using a hacked eBay account and then by a buyer who tried to trick Schneier into sending her the laptop after she cancelled payment.

Schneier, the chief security technology officer at BT, is an authority on cryptography and frequently speaks and writes on security-related issues.

Schneier's first attempt to sell the used Sony Vaio TZ-series on eBay appeared to be successful within hours of its listing, but eBay cancelled the sale saying the winning bid came from a hacked account, he wrote in a blog post on Friday.

A second attempt to sell the laptop also appeared to be successful within hours of being listed on eBay. The buyer paid for the laptop using PayPal and requested that Schneier send it to her using FedEx. She then cancelled the payment by disputing it with PayPal, apparently hoping that the laptop would be shipped before Schneier found out.

"But PayPal was faster than she expected, I think. At the same time, I received an email from PayPal saying that I might have received a payment that the account holder did not authorise, and that I shouldn't ship the item until the investigation is complete," Schneier wrote.

The experience left Schneier frustrated and looking for a buyer interested in the used laptop.

"I'm willing to make Attempt 3, if just to see what kind of scam happens this time. But I still want to sell the computer, and I am pissed off at what is essentially a denial-of-service attack," he wrote.

At the time of writing, an eBay representative could not be reached for comment.

See more:

PC security advice


IDG UK Sites

3 of the best portable chargers: a solar power charger, a hand-cranked charger, and how to charge...

IDG UK Sites

iOS 8 review: Hands on with the iOS 8 beta

IDG UK Sites

Thinking robots: The philosophy of artificial intelligence and evolving technology

IDG UK Sites

Sharknado 2 VFX: how The Asylum created CG flying man-eating sharks