EBay Bid Shield or Shielding Scam

EBay "Shield" or "Bid Shielding" is a scam used by scammers to win EBay bids on very expensive items cheaply. This scam targets EBay sellers who are selling expensive items without a reserve price. A reserve price is the lowest price at which a seller is willing to sell an item. If a seller doesn’t want to sell an item below a certain price, he/she can a set a reserve price.

EBay Bid Shield or Shielding Scam

This scam involves using multiple EBay accounts. One account to bid very low on an item and other to bid very high on the same item.

This is how the Bid Shield scam works

  1. The scammer uses his first EBay account to bid very low on an item (usually very expensive). 
  2. Scammer then uses his second EBay account to set a very high bid on the same item that other legitimate bidders would not be able to match, discouraging them from bidding. Because other bidders were discouraged by the very high bid set by the scammer, the only bids for that item would be the low and high bids set by the scammer. 
  3. At the last moment before the auction closes, the scammer withdraws the very high bid he/she had placed. This will leave the very low bid that the scammer placed first, as the winner of the auction.

Here is an example:

If an item cost $500 and the seller forgot to set a reserve price on this item. The scammer can place a low bid of $20. The same scammer will then place a very high bid of $6000 on the same item.

This high bid will discourages other ligitimate bidders from bidding on the same item. This leaves only the two very low and high bids set by the scammers for the same item.

At the last moment before the bid closes, the scammer withdraws the very high bid ($6000); leaving only the very low bid ($20) as the winner of the auction.

Ebay rules state a bid is a legal binding contract and you cannot cancel within the last 12 hours of an auction unless you contact the seller. Although bidders cannot cancel the bid themselves with the last 12 hours, these people will contact the sellers and ask them to cancel the bid for some reasons. The naive sellers will cancel the bid not knowing that they are being scammed.

Sellers are advised to ensure that they place a reserve price on the items they are selling on EBay and do not  honor suspicious bid cancellation requests.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Comments, Questions, Answers, or Reviews

Comments (Total: 5)

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October 22, 2017 at 12:13 PM by
EBay Bid Shield or Shielding Scam
an anonymous user from: New York, United States

I think the seller can also cancel an auction by declaring the item to be lost or damaged. One lie to fight another lie.

Also something to consider is that instead of multiple ebay seller accounts for one person it can be an agreement between multiple ebay sellers. So tracing the shill bidding would be harder.

A seller should have the right to withdraw the sale at any point prior to payment. God knows ebay gives the sellers a hard enough time as it is.


July 29, 2013 at 2:05 PM by
EBay Bid Shield or Shielding Scam
an anonymous user from: London, England, United Kingdom

The high bid would have to be placed within one hour of the auction end. The price could be quite low at this stage, since a lot of bids are placed near the end of an auction.<br/><br/>The low bid is unnecessary, but this second bidder (the one that will win the item) also places a high bid. The price is now high enough to deter any other bidders<br/><br/>The first high bidder retracts the bid seconds before the end of the auction, leaving no time for further bids to be placed.<br/>The closing price immediately drops to one increment higher than any other bids in favor of our second bidder.


May 22, 2013 at 8:41 AM by
EBay Bid Shield or Shielding Scam
an anonymous user from: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Your example is wrong. If the high bidder puts $6000, the current high bid will only be an increment above the ow bid of $20. So it will be $21. With ebay, it is the 2nd highest bid that dictates the price, not the highest bid. Also to pull his 'scam' off you would have to place the high bid in the last 12 hours of auction ending, otherwise you won't be able to retract the bid. There's a good chance the item would have received many legitimate bids by that time.


March 30, 2013 at 8:55 PM by
EBay Bid Shield or Shielding Scam
an anonymous user from: Kingston, Jamaica

Yes, you are right. Ebay rules state a bid is a legal binding contract and you cannot cancel within the last 12 hours of an auction unless you contact the seller. Although bidders cannot cancel the bid themselves, these people will contact the sellers and ask them to cancel the bid for some reasons. The naive sellers will cancel the bid not knowing that they are being scammed.


March 30, 2013 at 6:15 PM by
EBay Bid Shield or Shielding Scam
an anonymous user from: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

This is categorically untrue. Bids cannot be cancelled within the last 12 hours of an auction. Max bids do not scare anyone away unless someone else exposes your max bid by bidding to that amount. This article is shockingly short of facts and should either be retracted or amended accordingly.


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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

EBay Bid Shield or Shielding Scam