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Put An End To Ebay Mystery Payments

By Rick Rouse
Posted Saturday, September 4, 2004

If you are a regular seller on Ebay, no doubt you have received a "mystery payment" or two along the way. A mystery payment is where you receive a payment for an auction with nothing on it to give so much as a clue as to what the person is paying for (or who she is for that matter). I once received an envelope with a $20 bill in it along with a note that said "Thanks!". Nothing else, just the cash and the note. I just about drove myself crazy figuring that one out.

I used to get at least a couple of these mystery payments each week. But no more. Determined that I would never receive an anonymous payment again, I devised a simple but (almost) foolproof method of preventing them.

This is how I do it:

Lets make up an Ebay item number, say 234895745. I take the last four digits of the item number and make it part of my address. For example, using the number above, I would send my payment address to the buyer like this:

John Doe
123 Elm Street
Anytown, Anystate 12345

The AC can be anything that you wish to make it. I use a short acronym representing the item sold in the auction just for a little extra clue in case there are two auctions that end with the same four digits. (This is possible but it hasn't happened once during the two years that I've been using this technique.)

Of course the numbers 5745 are the last four digits of the Ebay item number for the auction. By sending the address in this format, I always know which auction the payment is for. I still may not have a name or anything else, but at least I know where to start tracking down the sender's identity.

Give this technique a try. It isn't fool-proof because the buyer could decide to just omit the code from the address. I've been using this technique for 2 years now without even one failure. With any luck and due diligence in its use it should work well for you too!

About the Author
Rick Rouse is the owner of RLROUSE Directory & Webmaster Resources. He is the author of several popular articles and ebooks on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and traffic building. Visit him at (


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