Found A Really Good Deal On eBay Or Craigslist? It Might Be A Scam!
Buying and selling on eBay or Craigslist can be great, but it can also be quite risky.
If you’re planning to purchase something more expensive, you need to know how to spot scammers and avoid losing your money. Here are some of the most common Craigslist and eBay scams and tips to help you steer clear of them.
1. Nothing beats dealing face to face
Arrange a meeting with the seller and have them transfer the item directly to you. That of course means you should find local dealers. If you follow this rule, you’re 99% sure to avoid scam attempts.
2. How to recognize scams – the basics
Scammers aren’t that creative and usually resort to simple strategies for achieving their goal.
That’s why most scam attempts involve one or more of the following elements:
- The price of the product is way below its market value;
- The seller claims that they’re unable to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction;
- You get an email or text from a seller who isn’t located in your area;
- Poor grammar or spelling in the product description;
- They’re asking for payment via PayPal, cashier check, Money Gram, Western Union, or money
You can be sure that the seller won’t be willing to receive a call from you – most scammers prefer communicating through text or email.
3. Here are some of the most popular scam strategies and how to deal with them
Scam strategy 1: What you buy is a very expensive photograph
Some sellers might list products that are in high demand – for example, the latest iPhone version. Once a buyer wins the auction, they’ll get a very flat envelope in the mail with a printed photo of the item. The seller will then claim that that’s what the listing was about all along.
How to avoid this scam? Make sure to read the listing carefully. If you see an amazing brand new item at a very low price, it’s time to get suspicious.
Have a closer look at the seller. Is their history empty? Are there any other listings? Have they received some reviews? If not, you can assume that they’ve just signed up recently to pull this scam
on naive eBay buyers.
If you fall victim to this kind of scam on eBay, you can usually get a refund.
Scam strategy 2: Duplicate listing
Here’s how this scam works. Let’s say you’ve just spotted an amazing car. You made up your mind and got in touch with the seller. They persuaded you to complete the payment, so you make it and then head off to collect your amazing new vehicle.
When you arrive at the pickup point, you meet a seller who has no idea how you are and claims that the car has never been listed on eBay or Craigslist. Moreover, nobody has paid for it, so there’s no way you can drive away in your new car.
What happened is that your seller has copied an existing listing from a site and pretended to be the vehicle’s owner. Then they vanished with your money.
How to avoid that scam? Have a look at the seller’s profile – have they completed any other transactions? Do they have feedback? Talk to them and request further details about the vehicle. Ask
for extra pictures of the car. If the listing is copied from another site, they won’t be able to give you any additional information. Remember to agree on payment on collection.
Scam strategy 3: Running away with the car or other vehicle
Before buying a vehicle, you should know that eBay’s Buyer Protection scheme doesn’t work for transactions involving motor vehicles. So the seller can practically collect the money and make a run
for it. Naturally, that’s much easier if you’ve paid in advance for the car. The scammer can simply disappear with your money.
You can avoid this scam by insisting to pay on collection only. If the seller is trying to persuade you to pay in advance, you should get suspicious. When making a payment, use PayPal with a credit card to get some protection over your transaction if something goes wrong.
Scam strategy 4: A guaranteed transaction
If a seller claims that your transaction is guaranteed because they’re officially certified, it’s time to pay closer attention. They might also say that a third party will handle the payment or provide
protection for it.
When it comes to both platforms, the transactions are only between users. Even if you receive an officially looking email that appears to come from eBay, Craigslist, or another third party, get in touch with them to find out what’s going on. Scammers often use such documents to claim that they’re certified or to prove that the payment is guaranteed.
Scam strategy 5: Upfront partial payment
Scammers might ask you for a partial payment upfront and then promise to ship the item. They might tell you that they trust you to complete the payment after receiving the goods.
Sounds too good to be true right? Well, most of the time it is. The seller might say that they’ve already shipped the goods while in fact they’re only waiting for your payment and will then disappear into thin air.
Scam strategy 6: Wire service payment through Western Union or MoneyGram
So, you found an amazing deal for an item. The price is much below market, so you’re interested. The scammer asks you for a wire service payment through these providers.
But at some point they might ask you for a confirmation code which is required for them to withdraw money. The seller might claim to be from a country such as Nigeria, Romania, the UK, Netherlands or any other country which supposedly requires such code.
How to deal with that? Just avoid the seller.
Even if they’re popular, platforms like eBay or Craigslist are still quite risky.
But with the tips listed above you should be able to easily spot a scammer and avoid losing your money on an item you’ll never get.
This article is a guest post from BizDb.co.uk – “the most reliable business directory available online.”