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Fakes and fraud

Posted by Reiner Mielke  
Reiner Mielke November 14, 2017 01:27PM
Do mindaters think we have an obligation to expose fakes and fraud? I have noticed a lot of fakes on Ebay and have just ignored them. What are your feelings on this? Should we have a special forum called Fakes and Fraud like we have "Lost and Stolen"?
Jamison K. Brizendine November 14, 2017 01:39PM
If you look back at the archives on the site even ten years ago (can't believe it's been that long!) there were several threads exposing "frauds" on sites like Ebay. I think the general consensus was that we didn't want to become the "ebay police" and the practice of exposing things like this just died off.
Reiner Mielke November 14, 2017 02:04PM
I know there has been a lot of discussion on this, that is why I am asking the question. The problem is not going away maybe getting worse. I agree we shouldn't be the ebay police, but isn't that like saying we shouldn't be concerned about the robberies in our country because we are not the police? Also the problem isn't restricted to eBay it is just that it is more common there.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph November 14, 2017 02:06PM
Yes. We are not the eBay police and should not deal with matters of online fraud except in general cases.


If you see an auction for something that's a clear fraud, then just ignore it.


If you see 100 different auctions from different sellers offering a new find of "lavender liroconite" or something then yes, it's important to mention here that there is clearly some new widespread problem. But a single seller offering a "lavender liroconite"? Just laugh and ignore it.
Bob Harman November 14, 2017 02:14PM
I fully understand Reiner's concern, however, unfortunately, I have to agree with Jamison. Fakes and frauds are quite ubiquitous, not only on eBay, but on other sites, in pictures of specimens, and even with some dealers. At the Denver show, I pointed out a faked contrived specimen in a display case to the show folks {there was a Sparta Illinois pyrite sun on shale matrix with fern fossils that are not found at that locality}.
Mindat can't, and shouldn't police all the sites and dealerships. Many fakes and frauds are easily spotted, but there even might be some examples that might provoke legitimate differences of opinion. Mindat doesn't need these type controversies. It should be "buyer beware" and "educate yourself" before spending your money. That is my opinion. CHEERS......BOB
Reiner Mielke November 14, 2017 02:33PM
I was starting to feel guilty about not reporting fraud I see on ebay but I guess I can rest easy and continue to ignore it.
Rolf Luetcke November 14, 2017 03:39PM
Justin, The Vug, on the internet is the site I often check with fakes and frauds, he works closely with Jolyon so that is the link I would suggest may be posted somewhere to check on for people looking for information. His site is great and handles about all the fakes we see.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph November 14, 2017 05:55PM
Justin's fake mineral website (it's not part of The Vug any more) hasn't been updated in about 3 years unfortunately.
Matt Neuzil November 14, 2017 05:57PM
Agree with Reiner. I don't often visit the vug, but have seen the fakes and fraud page on the site as well.
Holger Hartmaier November 14, 2017 06:29PM
Mindat already has "Fakes, Frauds and Marketing Ploys" under the "How To" button of the messageboard.
Rob Woodside November 14, 2017 06:39PM
There's still kilobuck Tajik 'heliodors' and Atlantean Silvers for tens of kilobucks on the net. Caveate Emptor!!!
Reiner Mielke November 14, 2017 06:40PM
Thanks Holger,

Never though to look under "How To" as I was not interested in how to fake a mineral or defraud someone. Would make more sense to put it under General.
Holger Hartmaier November 14, 2017 07:45PM
Good point- under the general section would be more appropriate.
Matt Ciranni November 14, 2017 07:46PM
What about e-bay ripoffs? I got ripped off by a seller on there last spring, trying to buy a really nice diaspore crystal. This same seller is still active on E-bay and was never punished, and yet I was out over $150. These scum are a lot harder to spot than the obvious fake/frauds.
Reiner Mielke November 14, 2017 10:04PM
Hello Matt,

I guess as far as Mindat is concerned you are on your own. Buyer beware. I thought ebay had a guaranteed satifaction or your money refunded policy?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2017 11:50PM by Reiner Mielke.
Scott Rider November 14, 2017 10:30PM

Reiner is correct, if a seller sold an item that was not as described then you should open a case with ebay and get your money back. You may have to shell out some cash for shipping if the seller wants it back, but whats worse, losing out on the total $150 or $5-10 for shipping...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2017 10:32PM by Scott Rider.
Owen Lewis November 14, 2017 10:31PM
C'mon Matt, you'd better tell us your story.
Steve Hardinger November 15, 2017 02:52PM
If you want to expose ebay fraud try any of the various Facebook mineral/gem scam groups.
Matt Ciranni November 15, 2017 07:56PM
The story was, the e-bay seller "Goturk_C" allegedly had a batch of nice zultanite/diasspore crystals for sale on E-bay. I saw one I liked, bought it, paid for it with paypal, and the seller sent me...nothing. No refund, no crystal- just, nothing. I notified e-bay and they said they'd "look into it" but that was the last I ever heard- it was a successful scam on the seller's part. It ended up being a case of "buyer beware."
Owen Lewis November 15, 2017 09:28PM
Hi Matt,
I deal with PayPal a lot more than I do with E-bay but have never has a problem with either. AIUI, if you paid with PayPal, it is PayPal that will handle any complaint about non-delivery. Drop them a mail and see what happens? These days, and in most countries there is around 100-150 USD insurance cover built into the postal charge and there is also basic tracking on all international packets. Your supplier makes the claim, at their local post office, producing their proof of posting and your statement of non-receipt - and that's all before PayPal gets involved at all. But language problems may make that not as simple as it could be.

So, first step is to contact the supplier (which you have already done?) giving your PayPal reference for the payment and the payee name you used. If language problems make a response difficult, than you take the same information to PayPal disputes department (which can arrange to deal with your supplier in their own tongue) and get you a prompt settlement.

You may be a bit premature in bad-mouthing the supplier (give language difficulty and all). All you know is that you did not receive the item. The possibilities are as follows and will take a PayPal operating only seconds to sort out which applies:
1. You never actually made a payment through PayPal (though you may think you did).
2. You made the payment but it went to a wrong person.
3. Your supplier was sent payment but, for some reason, never dispatched the item.
4. The item was dispatched but to a wrong address.
5. The item was correctly dispatched but was lost in transit.

On the basis of your short outline there is really no reason why you should be out-of-pocket unless there has been some mistake of yours.Do contact PayPal without delay and let us know how you get on..
Alfredo Petrov November 15, 2017 10:47PM
As subheadings to Owen's #5, for packages from foreign countries, they can get confiscated by Customs leaving the country of origin, or by Customs on arrival in the receiving country, run over by a truck and squashed at a post office sorting facility, stolen by a post office or customs employee because it looked like it might have a gemstone in it, dissolved into papier mache after being left out in the rain on a pallet with hundreds of other packages on an airport runway, deliberately destroyed by police or fire officials because someone thought it might contain something dangerous, stolen by one of your own neighbors after delivery... I'm sure the list could be extended. Several of those events have happened to me ;((
...Which is why I like to buy minerals at shows rather than depending on mailorders.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/15/2017 10:49PM by Alfredo Petrov.
Scott Rider November 15, 2017 11:20PM
Being that Matt received no item, no communications from the seller, and no refund tells me this is a scam, no doubt about that. Fortunately for you Matt, this is easily rectified by eBay or PayPal. If I were you, and if you documented everything, then CALL (don't email) ebay or Paypal and start a non-received item case. I have NEVER EVER had any issues with eBay receiving a refund.

One example) I had ordered about 25 specimens from a South African dealer. The tracking of the package showed delivery AND signature upon receipt. But guess what, no one signed for the package, and the driver supposedly left the package on my doorstep. Well I received NOTHING and even with delivery and signature I still got a refund from eBay, despite the dealers objections.

Basically, I just told eBay it was impossible for anyone to sign for that package at my house, as there was NO ONE home for about a week at that time (on prospecting trip). They gave me a refund. The seller, after refunding sent me an image of the delivery receipt from DHL. Guess what, NO signature on the delivery. Either the driver took the package back and it got lost upon its return or he just left it at my doorstop and a schmuck stole it... Either way, DHL was culpable and paid the seller the money.. So both my dealer and myself were satisfied.

In your case, it should be even easier because you never received a specimen nor a refund. And what makes your case even better is that the seller never communicated with you so that will tell eBay the seller is full of you know what... Basically eBay is setup to defend the buyer before the seller, and the fact they never reached back to you will tell them that seller is dubious.
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