SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — It came out of the blue, a Bay Area woman gets a Rolex watch in the mail.
The woman, Marie, thought it was strange that she had a package waiting for her at the post office. She said it was from an unknown sender. Then she opened it up and things got stranger.
Inside, a Rolex watch in Rolex packaging, but that was it.
“No user manual, no note card, no invoice, nothing at all,” Marie said.
The only clues were a return address in Indiana and an eBay tracking number on the front of the envelope.
Marie said she’s never had an eBay account and has never bought anything on eBay.
Marie quickly determined the watch was counterfeit and called police, who told her that real or fake, it’s now her responsibility because she accepted the package.
But she was concerned she might be part of a larger scam and it turns out, she was right.
KPIX 5 tracked down the man in Indiana who sent Marie the watch, he said he bought it on eBay and when he realized it was fake, sent it back to the address provided by the seller.
The seller, eBay confirms, provided Marie’s address instead of his own.
Author and professor Steve Weisman says this is a growing form of ID theft in which criminals use someone else’s address instead of their own to avoid being caught.
“It’s simple to get a list of people, could be a voter list, a phone list, this info is quite readily available,” Weisman said.
In a statement, eBay says “these types of scams are very rare when put into the context of millions of transactions being conducted each day.”
As for Marie, she’s just grateful to have solved the mystery of the random Rolex.
eBay told Marie she should just throw the watch away and apologized for any inconvenience.
The company told KPIX 5 that it has suspended the seller who used Marie’s address and the buyer will be reimbursed via eBay’s money back guarantee.