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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Margin Scams in Local Chat

The famed "margin scam" - this is what it is all about.

In the local chat window in Amarr the below comment appears:

and clicking on the link brings you to the market window:

So, on the face of it i could buy this item for 1.5bn x2 at this station and haul it to another station in the same solar system and sell for 3.0bn x2, and so netting me a profit of 3.0bn before taxes in under a minute.  Notice the minimum volume that i have to sell for 3.0bn is 2 items.

Unfortunately, that is somewhat unlikely.

What has happened here is that the buy order is likely set up on margin and the character that set it up will not have the funds to complete the buy order.  In other words the character has only had to put 600m ISK as escrow and the ISK remaining on the character is nil.

The scam part is because the same player has another character that has put the two items up for sale - most likely bought for much less in the first place.

The victim will buy those two items for 1.5bn and attempt to sell them for 3.0bn each and the sell order will fail leaving the victim with 2 overpriced items in their inventory!

The Scammer will then have sold 2x 1.5bn for the cost of 120m ISK purchase price + 600m ISK escrow.

and to prove the point, the character in the comment is barely 9 days old:


  1. The scammer loses the escrow if there isn't enough to cover his buy order? Or do I just misread that sentence?

    1. If I'm not mistaken he/she only loses the set up cost of the order. The escrew will be dumped back in the wallet.
      I've had it happen a few times on one of my trade alts when someone decided to try and fulfill all of my buy orders :D

    2. Ah, thanks for that info. I did not know that.

  2. You forget a few things here, the margin trading skill gives you a maximum of 24% to hold in escrow, that is 720.000.000 isk on each of the 4 items put up by this character. 4x 720.000.000 isk is 2.880.000.000 isk.

    Why 4 items? Since people putting up the scam profit from the SELL of the items int he system, not from the BUY order. So they have to make sure that the complete escrow on this item is drained. When putting up 4 pieces on a buy order with a minimum of 2 items, you can drain your escrow to 0 isk by selling 2 to your own buy order.

    So, what does this mean for the calculations?

    "The Scammer will then have sold 2x 1.5bn for the cost of 120m ISK purchase price + 600m ISK escrow."

    This is correct for the sell, but as for costs, there are just the costs of setting up the order and taxes, the 720 mil (x2) escrow is not lost, since it was already cleared out by the above discription. Realize he has costs for both setting up the buy and sell orders.

    The scammer thus has a profit like this; "Sell price - original buy price - taxes and costs (2x)
    = profit"

    On optimal skills and standings that would mean this;

    - 480 million isk on original buy
    - 360 million on taxes
    - 89 mil in broker fees

    This would make a ISK profit.

  3. Greedy people are the only reason this stuff works.

  4. Nice as a featured site I expect to see scores of extra copycats scams this week.

    So many copycats in fact that it maybe harder to detect out of line prices without checking the history graphs. Which can also be wrong on buy order side since people do make posting mistakes and low supply items can jump huge if someone insists on that part for fitting 1 or more new capital or T2/T3 ships.

    The key is check EVE Central and possibly history graph to see if the buy price is reasonable high sec wide. If it is you can always resell elsewhere. Meantime you don't miss a windfall from someone's posting mistake or fitting obsession .


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