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Guide to reporting fake fossils on our favorite auction site


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Hi all. eBay is generally a good website for us to get fossil specimens as long as we do the proper research, and seek out reputable sellers. However, certain fossils pop up every now and then that are obvious fakes, and not every buyer is diligent enough to know so. What we can do is to report these listings. Believe it or not, sometimes they do get taken down.

To begin, say you notice a fossil you know is fake. Click on Report Item on the top right, it's above the eBay item number.

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eBay takes you to another screen:

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Choose Listing practices > Fraudulent listing activities > You suspect that a listing is fraudulent

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Hit Continue, and you'll be given an item number. Hit 'Send Report'. You do not need to be a bidder to make this report.

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You'll know the report is made when you're taken to this new screen:

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Ultimately, the best practice if you shop on eBay is to do your due research. Ask the experts here; they are more than willing to point out when a fossil is fake. I've personally saved thousands just by helpful advice here. Also, if you notice any fake fossils, do us a favor as well by posting about it here, but do not mention the seller's name or identity; we are here to learn, not conduct a witch hunt.

Good luck :D

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I reported several obvious fake trilobites yesturday. They're no longer posted...

It works!

Best regards,

Paul

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Well done, Andy. Your topic is Pinned. :)

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I reported several obvious fake trilobites yesturday. They're no longer posted...

It works!

Best regards,

Paul

You're doing great Paul!

Well done, Andy. Your topic is Pinned. :)

Thanks John!

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  • 7 months later...

I've reported both fakes and the illegal sale of modern marine mammal stuff and I have never seen an auction removed. 

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I tried this once and was quite confused. There doesn't seem to be an option of leaving some comments as to why I think something is fake? Is ebay supposed to read our minds? :ank:

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On 10/8/2016 at 10:21 AM, sdsnl said:

I tried this once and was quite confused. There doesn't seem to be an option of leaving some comments as to why I think something is fake? Is ebay supposed to read our minds? :ank:

 

Unfortunately eBay doesn't allow you to leave comments or reviews unless you've brought from the seller before.

 

I assume if you were determined enough, you could call eBay directly to report the item.

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All one can do is work with the tools provided and it has proven to get results.

 

I've found contacting the seller directly and threatening to report them is very effective.   What they fear, regardless of what eBay does, works!

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I have done that (contacted seller) on several occasions and for the most part, they thanked me for informing them and either changed the listing information or removed it.  Then there are the ones that completely ignore you and proceed to keep the item listed as is, in which case, you need to attempt to go through ebay channels.  I saw one seller had a listing for a Megalodon tooth, but all his photos were of a truck camper shell.  He wrote me back thanking me, he had no idea it posted like that.

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"I saw one seller had a listing for a Megalodon tooth, but all his photos were of a truck camper shell. "

I probably could have spotted that as a fake.

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JustPlainPetrified
9 hours ago, tmaier said:

"I saw one seller had a listing for a Megalodon tooth, but all his photos were of a truck camper shell. "

I probably could have spotted that as a fake.
 

Yeah, me too, even from Canada. Go Jays

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  • 9 months later...
On 2/25/2016 at 11:22 AM, -Andy- said:

eBay is generally a good website for us to get fossil specimens as long as we do the proper research, and seek out reputable sellers

Interesting post. I have being avoiding ebay for quite some time now due to a flood of fakes.

If someone could point to a couple of trusted sellers I would be great.

 

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1 hour ago, Biston said:

Interesting post. I have being avoiding ebay for quite some time now due to a flood of fakes.

 

I assume you're looking mainly at vertebrates?

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6 minutes ago, Wrangellian said:

I assume you're looking mainly at vertebrates?

Mainly Trilobites and Dinosaurs, actually. But everything between then. I would appreciate any suggestion of good, reputable fossil sellers at ebay. I have a couple I know but would like to expand my sources.

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  • 2 weeks later...
13 minutes ago, fossiling said:

Today I found this. Just look at it.

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Reported it for sure.

 

Wow! That's a pretty brazen offering! It should go with a caption contest like "Steering Committee of the Devonian Trilobites, Morocco Chapter" or "Homemade, deep-dish trilobite pie" :D 

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  • 4 months later...

As we all know, trilobites had highly developed senses of smell. The guy in the middle must have had some bad trilo BO.

Unfortunately invertebrate deodorant hadn't been invented yet.

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  • 6 months later...

I recently found a listing for a "lot fossil collection". It was a crinoid slab 2 other vendors had, one of those copy-paste Moroccan mosasaur jaws, a couple of unimpressive rocks, and a "starfish" fossil...

It was bright yellow. And had only four limbs.  One would think that a forger would at least make an attempt at basic biology. 

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I have reported fakes many times with poor results. As long as that website is making money they seem like they could care less.

 

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  • 1 year later...

I’ve been reporting a few fakes on Catawiki with poor results so far. The sad part is that they have “experts” that are supposed to oversee the auctions (giving customers a sense is security), but as far as I can see a lot obvious fakes still appear on their site. Anyone that have been more successful there? 

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On 06/11/2019 at 1:46 AM, Jacobloven said:

I’ve been reporting a few fakes on Catawiki with poor results so far. The sad part is that they have “experts” that are supposed to oversee the auctions (giving customers a sense is security), but as far as I can see a lot obvious fakes still appear on their site. Anyone that have been more successful there? 

 

I do not know the result unfortunately, but I've rounded up some friends (who also confirmed the fossil was fake) to help report the fake listing in a group.

 

Perhaps you could have other fossil experts look into it too? Please don't openly post a link here.

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LordTrilobite
On 11/5/2019 at 6:46 PM, Jacobloven said:

I’ve been reporting a few fakes on Catawiki with poor results so far. The sad part is that they have “experts” that are supposed to oversee the auctions (giving customers a sense is security), but as far as I can see a lot obvious fakes still appear on their site. Anyone that have been more successful there? 

Same here. I've contacted some of those "experts" about fakes or misidentified fossils before. But they weren't interested in listening at all.

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Interesting, I actually just now got a response that they changed the description of fake mosasaur skull to “artistic reconstruction” after I sent them a detailed list of what was completely off with the item (they could have just looked at the photo though).
 

Pasting a screenshot of their reply and the “fossil skull”. Btw, I am new to the forum. So if I am breaking any rules by pasting these, please feel free to remove my post.

 

I still think it’s a shame that their “expert” is ok with approving obvious fake items in the first place.

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