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Fraud and Censorship on Audiogon

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For the benefit of those who trade on Audiogon, you may be interested in this thread on Audioasylum about phishing on Audiogon: General Asylum

 

I was the victim of a fraudster who had hijacked some hapless seller's account (apparently through phishing according to Audiogon). I am posting my experience here because Audiogon's moderators refused to post my comments on their forums but it is important that users be aware of the prevalence of fraud on the "new" Audiogon. I have been trading for a number of years on Audiogon now and had been extremely happy with them until my recent brush with fraud on Audiogon.

 

The "seller" in question had 100+ positive feedback posts and so I felt safe transacting with him. However, it turns out that the seller's account had been hijacked and Audiogon eventually admitted that they did not even require confirmation from the original registered e-mail address for a change of e-mail, which one would have thought was quite basic.

 

To make matters worse, when they discovered the fraud, they did not even bother contacting me as buyer. They simply suspended the seller's account. If not for the fact that I coincidentally grew suspicious because of a different, identical listing, I would not have found out till days later. In fact, I had to e-mail Audiogon to check what had gone wrong with my transaction because I could not access it suddenly. When I asked them why they did not contact me immediately, they simply said they could not even though both my e-mail and mobile are listed under my account.

 

Finally, to rub salt into the wound, when I tried to share my experience with other Audiogoners, their moderators refused to post my comment on their forums.

 

They claim to have resolved the phishing problem and issues surrounding hijacked account in my correspondence with them but just today, I found an exact same advertisement as the one posted by the seller who defrauded me, except using a different username, again with multiple positive feedback. These feedback stretch from 2008 to last month so ordinarily one would not be suspicious. As such, unless there is an extreme coincidence, I can only conclude that they have not sorted out problems of fraud.

 

In this context, please be aware that Audiogon offers zero fraud protection. This was fine on the "old" Audiogon when accounts were not hijacked left, right and centre but until they sort out current problems, it is caveat emptor.

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Mike Morrow posted about this a week ago or so as well. I am replicating his e-mail here for your consideration as well.

-Paul

 

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Morrow Audio morrowaudio@gmail.com via priorityoneemail.com

Jun 1 (3 days ago)

 

to me

Dear fellow audiophiles,

 

I just received an email, apparently from

AudioGon, but it is not. It is an attempt to

steal your login information.

 

I felt it my duty to warn my customers and friends.

 

It says "Notice: AudioGon account restricted".

There is then a link to click that looks like it takes you

to their site, where you log in. Do not do it! It is a scam.

You can tell because of the URL, which is not AudioGon. The scammer

will steal your information, or change the password, selling bogus

items under your name.

 

Please pass the word to your friends...

 

Mike Morrow,

Morrow Audio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morrow Audio

 

5195 Madison Pike

Independence, KY

41051

US

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I had a brush with fraud myself on Audiogon where someone wanted to purchase something then changed how they wanted to pay, then wanted it sent somewhere different, then they wanted me to use a cashiers check they sent me to pay for their "moving expenses" to a snother shipping company...on and on it seemed until I simply called the bank the check was cut from and they informed me they had not issued the check at all and that they were constantly a target of fraud like the one that someone was pulling.

Needless to say I did not deposit their check nor send them what they were hoping to purchase but I can see how someone could have been duped by this ploy.

 

As the original poster says "caveat emptor" when dealing on Audiogon. It is a shame as Audiogon has been a great place for folks to try out different gear, sell older things and in general be in contact with other like minded audio nuts.

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One thing to note with those emails. If you use the same password for different sites, you will really feel the pain once the fraudster has that password. I would urge everyone to have a different password for every site. It sounds like the reason the victim had his paypal and email hacked is because of the password he gave in the suspicious email was for several sites.Use a password manager and a password generator to manage this complexity. I highly recommend using LastPass or KeePass.

Mike Morrow posted about this a week ago or so as well. I am replicating his e-mail here for your consideration as well.-Paul

 

----

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I had someone sell me an Audio Research Amp which arrived soaked in cat urine

 

The seller of course did not respond to any emails but the Audiogon staff did nothing whatsoever to help me locate him

 

I would never do business through that site, the owners of it don't seem to be real interested in keeping it safe

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Can anyone spare some general tips for trading long distance on Audiogon? Assuming that an account has not been phished, that is ... Are the ratings of sellers to be trusted? Should one pay expensive items with Paypal?

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#1 should always be contacting the seller by phone. Those scammers are not audiophiles. In seconds you will know if you are dealing with another passionate audiophile or not.

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#1 should always be contacting the seller by phone. Those scammers are not audiophiles. In seconds you will know if you are dealing with another passionate audiophile or not.

 

Yes, I guess that's a good test. Thanks.

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Agree strongly with Elberoth. Always phone the potential seller, get lots of personal information such as their phone number, address, serial numbers of equiptment etc. Be completely comfortable with the person you are going to do business with. If the person has made prior sales get email and phone numbers of previous buyers and contact them.

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Audiogon's Limits of Liability which pretty much covers everything possible to make them not responsible for anything that occurs on their site.

 

Audiogon's Limits of Liability

 

Audiogon, its officers, employees, and suppliers will NOT be responsible or liable for any of the following:


 

-Any losses incurred by its members as a direct result of their participation at this site.

-Any losses incurred by its members as an indirect result of their participation.

-Any losses incurred by its members as a result of another member's participation.

-Any losses incurred as a result of computer failure, slowdown, or inability to connect.

-Any statements or actions of any of its members, either on this site or elsewhere.

-Loss of any information stored on the Audiogon servers for any reason.

-The satisfaction or lack thereof resulting from purchases made via this service.

-The accuracy or lack thereof in any statements made by its members.

-Bad sound or bad music produced and or sold at this site or elsewhere.



Detailed Terms of the Agreement:

 

We may amend this Agreement at any time by posting the amended terms on our site. Except as stated below, all amended terms shall automatically be effective 30 days after they are initially posted on our site. In addition, we will post notices on frequently visited areas of this site. This Agreement may not be otherwise amended except in a written form signed by you and Audiogon, Inc. This Agreement is effective on June 15th, 2002 for new registrations, and is otherwise effective on July 15th, 2002 for all users registered prior to June 15th, 2002.

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They used to be okay, then the business changed hands and - blah... they turned pretty evil.

 

-Paul

 

 

Surely Augiogon is just like any "small ad" service. A case of caveat emptor...
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