In the world of cryptocurrencies, people tend to take unnecessary risks. Especially when it comes to obtaining and storing said cryptocurrencies, there is no reason whatsoever to look for shortcuts or save a few dollars. One Reddit user found this out the hard way. He purchased a malicious hardware wallet from eBay, which allowed the assailant to empty his crypto balances in quick succession. Close to US$30,000 worth of funds were stolen, and the chances of recovering them are slim to none.
Beware of Hardware Wallets on eBay
There is a very good reason why no one should buy anything cryptocurrency-related from auction platforms such as eBay. Besides the fact that sellers cannot be trusted, you also never know what kind of mess you are getting yourself into. Plenty of people buy and sell cryptocurrency on eBay, even though the company offers no protection or refund if things go awry. Unfortunately, it is not just the digital aspect of cryptocurrencies which attracts nefarious vendors on such platforms.
More specifically, one also has to be wary when purchasing hardware wallets or other physical cryptocurrency-related products from eBay. Unless you are dealing with the actual manufacturer of such products, it is advised to stay away from any listing which claims to offer a cryptocurrency hardware wallet. That’s because it is impossible to determine whether or not the item you’re purchasing is 100% genuine.
One Reddit user found this out the hard way. Although it appeared as if he was purchasing a normal Ledger wallet on eBay, the reality turned out to be very different. More specifically, the product itself was an actual Ledger hardware wallet, but it seems the vendor could still access the wallet to clear out the funds a few days later. This is a very serious problem, as there is no way for the user to recover his funds now that they have been transferred out.
The Ledger support team was quick to respond to this matter on Reddit. They are helping the affected individual file a formal criminal complaint against the seller in question. Whether or not this will have any impact remains to be determined. A fair few eBay sellers operate under fictitious names and will never be apprehended. It is unfortunate to see events like these take place, although people should know better than to buy such items on auction sites.
Although it is certain that many people will buy genuine, non-compromised versions of popular hardware wallets on eBay, there is no reason to take any chances. It seems this particular Ledger wallet utilized a scratch-off code to reveal its backup seed, even though the latter is normally generated through a very different procedure. Unfortunately for the buyer, he lost all of his LTC, XRP, and all other currencies stored on the device. Using a recovery seed written on a piece of paper by someone else is asking for trouble, and it was the logical “flaw” in this whole ordeal.
Whether or not such nefarious sellers have made more victims in the world of cryptocurrency remains unknown at this time. It is certainly plausible that people are selling such devices in the hopes of new users relying on the included seed phrase in order to empty the wallets later on. It’s a very disturbing practice, although it’s one that was bound to become popular sooner or later. Only rely on official manufacturer listings for products like these, even if it means dealing with shipment delays.