Teenager detained for eBay fraud

An 18-year-old defrauded eBay users of £45,000 to fuel an extravagant lifestyle of high-tech kit and limousines

A teenager who used Internet auction site eBay to defraud over one hundred people was sentenced to twelve months detention and training on Wednesday.

Phillip Shortman, 18, of Pontypool, South Wales, obtained over £45,000 by selling goods that didn't actually exist on eBay. He had previously admitted 21 counts of obtaining property by deception over a 13 month period.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Shortman had spent the money on expensive electronics kit — including computer equipment, hi-fis and flat-screen televisions — designer clothes and hiring stretch limousines.

Police have warned that criminals are increasingly targeting Internet auction sites such as eBay. A technique typically used by fraudsters is to get a victim to pay by cash or a cheque before they receive the item they've paid for.

eBay itself recommends that customers pay by credit card or by PayPal — which it owns — or use an escrow service that will hold the buyer's money in trust until the item has been handed over. It also runs a Buyer Protection Programme, but the maximum rebate possible is just £105 — rising to £250 if the customer paid by PayPal.