Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Consumer Protection: Classic Contract Scam

Just a short one today as I'm taking care of the kids for the sick wife.

Take a look at this image of a public contract on the left and the market info for one of the tags on the right.

At first glance it looks like deal, buy the tags at 540 mil and sell one of them for 871 mil in the same station, a 331 million ISK profit for no work! Right?

Wrong. Notice the rarely used but very evil Min Volume column of the buy order? Set to 6 for the first one and 5 for the second one? What this means is that the first buy order will only accept at least 6 tags at once in order to pay out (and since the max quantity is 6 it means exactly 6). Same deal for the second buy order at 5 tags. The only buy order on market that accepts a single tag is the one for only 7 million ISK. Most likely the contract and the buy orders were created by the same guy who found a rare item with very few or no buy orders and sell orders and set this up, advertising the scan in local to get people hooked.

Even worse, due to a horrible feature (bug IMHO) the buy order could be setup using Day Trading   Margin Trading so that even if someone had 5 or 6 Chelm Soran's Tags to sell the order might fail when you attempt if the pilot that set it up lacked the funds to cover the difference that  Day Trading   Margin Trading  allows you to postpone. So the scammer is not even in danger of having his scam turned on him.

So be smart and if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

EDIT: Fixed Day Trading to Margin Trading. Always get those two confused. Day Trading allows for remote modification of buy and sell orders. Thanks, commenters.


  1. To be honest, if I teach a newer player about scams in eve I just say: See that public contract there? Yes, it's a scam. No matter the contract.

    1. Then you're teaching them wrong, Runeme. Lots of public contracts are perfectly legit

  2. Margin Trading, not Daytrading.

    Also, before you run and hide, you should check the Price History. If there were no sales just before the contract was set up, then it is very possible that the scammer still has ISK tied up in escrow for the buy order.

    With Margin Trading 5, a scammer still needs to put up about 23% of the buy order up in escrow. So... if you were to sell those 6 tags at 22% of the buy price, the scammer would end up with the tags and you'd get most of his escrow. Congrats, 'cause you just scammed the scammer.

    Now, this works on noob scammers, but the more experienced scammer will "drain" the escrow (which is why you need to check the price history for recent transactions). If you see a recent order for around 23% of the buy order, then the escrow has probably been drained.

    But, don't despair yet! You can still scam the scammer. Just take those tags you bought for 1M or 5K ISK in Jita, and put 6 of them up for sale at the same station as the buy order. Price them substantially below the scammer's buy order - say, 25M each. If a clueless player buys them, and pops the scam, then you've made a nice profit and tripped up the scammer. But... wait! The scammer is just as likely to buy your tags, just to get them out of the way of his scam. That's fine, because you then put up another 6 tags for sale, at 50M each... lol. A stubborn scammer won't know when to quit, so you might end up selling him hundreds of millions of ISK worth of useless tags before he throws in the towel. One idiot paid me more than he would have gotten from his original scam... go figure.

    I spent a weekend last year casually scamming the scammers, and took in around 10B ISK. Not too bad, eh?

  3. @larryb good work :p

    I always check the "History" tab, set to 1 year, since its nearly impossible to manipulate the yearly numbers.

    3 Simple Rules:

    1) Local Chat in tradehubs = 99% Scam's
    So we should not waste our time looking for the 1% valid trades.

    2) "Min Voulme" Except for raw minerals = Scam
    There is normally no reason to set a Min Volume for normal items, thats why u also rarely see this.

    3) Never accept/do direct trades, except u deliberately want to hide the transaction from any logs. Always use private contracts for transactions, they have just a flat 10k ISK fee and work without range restrictions, while they are traceable and u can safely check what u pay/get. Always READ the RED/Green text, its now foolproof notes what u GET and what u PAY!