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Australian Agency Asks for eBay Sellers’ Info

In welfare crackdown, officials target sellers making more than $20,000 on site.

Australia’s Department of Human Services asked eBay to give it the names of sellers who sold more than $20,000 worth of goods on the site in one year.

According to The Australian, officials asked for this information in an effort to crack down on welfare fraud by people who regularly sell online, earn considerable incomes and don’t report these earnings. eBay is reported to have shared the information of 15,000 sellers.

The agency asked eBay for the names, user IDs, email and IP addresses of sellers who were being targeted, Sandy Culkof, an eBay spokeswoman, tells The Australian. She adds that eBay notified sellers when this information was provided.

The government notes that people who sell casually on eBay will not be among those names reported.

Depending on the results of this process, which is being called a test, officials may ask for this information from the marketplace on a regular basis, they note.

Other governments have also taken steps to encourage sellers to report incomes earned from selling online. The U.K. government recently asked online sellers to update their incomes by Thursday. By meeting that deadline, sellers would have faced lower tax penalties for any income they may have not reported in the past.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Gov’ts all over are hurting for cashflow.  While I agree that fraud should be sought after and minimized, I doubt that the majority of those on welfare are really raking in any serious cash.  There may be but a few scamming the system.   Besides, how else would you get off welfare without any type of means of self-sufficiency.

  • Susan

    Shame on eBay for sharing such information! Just because someone had $20,000 in sales doesn’t mean they had $20,000 in income! As a matter of fact, they actually may have made $5,000 or less, depending on what they spent on inventory, whether they’re drop-shippers, and what kind of markup they had. It’s a false measure that could hurt a lot of people, and eBay is culpable by joining the witch hunt no questions asked.

  • Wendy

    That just does not seem fair, I am a single mom of 2 and things I sell on ebay are usually my own personal belongings that I lose a lot of money on but sell to be able to support my family. Now if the people have a huge inventory and make a ton of money then maybe but leave the rest alone.

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