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Friday, March 7, 2014

Avoiding Marketplace Scams

I had been playing Eve for a while, but after a long break, I jumped right back in (or was sucked back in).  Eve is a great game.  I think one of the better aspects is that CCP is very laissez-faire about how people play the game.  Acts that would get players banned in other games are perfectly legal here.  I wouldn't say they are directly encouraged or that CCP looks on with approval, but they are not stopping it.  Only the most serious forms of agression they counter is if someone is making death threats (and a few other things).  

Since the marketplace is as close to real life as possible and that it is 99% player run, there is no surprise that people will use it as a scamming tool for their own benefit.  The amount of ISK bilked from the unknowing has to be in the hundreds of trillions.  While the marketplace isn't the only scam in town, the place were most scams are run is in market hubs.  That makes it a popular place for scammers to hang out.  They spam local with offers of doubling ISK and using contracts to deceive players who aren't paying attention. I will make another post about those types of scams.  This one is for the market scam.

If you look at the picture above, you will see a good example of a market scam.  
The selling value of "Upgraded EM Ward Amplifier I's" is at a typical price of around 250k ISK.  Nearly all of the items bought and sold from here go out at that price.  However, if you look at the buyers box, you will note that someone is buying 1700 of them for 1.5mil each.  Going across that bar (in the yellow box) the minimum volume is 1700.  You have to have 1700 units of 
"Upgraded EM Ward Amplifier I's" at one time in order to fulfill that order.  Some will try to buy up all the items around that station and bring them back to sell to this buy order.  This is where the trouble starts.  More than likely, the person that put up the buy order ALSO put up the sell orders around the area.  Here is how the scam works.

  1. You see the opportunity.  You buy all the "Upgraded EM Ward Amplifier I's" around and bring them back to this station.
  2. The seller of the items you just bought is probably the buyer of the 1.5mil/unit buy order.  You buy all his wares and then try to sell them back.
  3. You don't have enough product to fulfill the minimum of the buy order so it goes to the next buy order (which is at 15k per unit.  The same person might even be the one that put of the buy order for 15,001.00 ISK/unit.  
  4. Not only did he squeeze you for the sell orders he put up, he also tricked you into selling them back to him at 15,001.00 ISK/unit.  
***note: In order to protect themselves from you actually fulfilling the order (which you would actually make a HUGE killing), they will have trained margin trading.  They will put up the order and will only have put as little as 24% of the order in escrow.  They clear out their wallet so if someone does fill the order of 1700 units, the order will be cancelled due to the buyer not having enough ISK to cover the order.

Be wary, things that seem to good to be true usually are.
Say you bough all the "Upgraded EM Ward Amplifier I's" in the station (that I can see on the market tab
34 @ 384,999.99
8  @ 385,000.00
1  @ 424,999.99
10 @ 435,000.00
     20,944,999.65 <-- ISK you paid out
     795,053       <-- ISK you sold them back at
     20,149,946.65 <-- you just lost 

It is very effective.  You just need to pay attention to the minimum volume and you should be okay.  Don't fall for the traps and as always, fly safe-ish (and buy safe-ish)