I have lost way too much money through scams, it was destined for me to write this to help you avoid a majority of the scams and save yourself time, money and frustration.
Even if you think you could spot a scam from a mile away, so did I and I still got fooled a handful of times. Some of the scams people have out there are crazy now, from having a ton of pictures of the item and never shipping it to refunding an item you know they got and even having them say they are a pastor or verifying their profile to gain your trust.
Even when you know what to look for, sometimes you still can't tell. I would like to say I have seen them all, but truth is that there are always going to be newer and more complex scams as the years progress. The best thing we can do if we are trying to sell online is be aware of the more popular and tricky ones (I'll make a blog about the trickiest scams I have come across as well) and if we still don't feel comfortable, don't make the purchase or sale. There will almost always be another buyer or seller of the item you are trying to sell!
These are going to be some of the biggest ones you will see, whether you are selling on Facebook Marketplace, eBay or even apps such as LetGo, Craigslist, Offer Up, etc.
Let's dive in, so you can go back to making money!
Online Scam Number One
"Hey can you ship to my friend/ kid in ________"
Yeah right, never do this. You will be out a product and be out your money, it's a lose lose for you and nothing but a hassle. This usually starts with them asking a few questions about your product and then either purchasing it (through an app like eBay) or asking you if they can pay extra for you to ship it overnight to them.
This way they can file that they never got the item, because you sent it to a different address, and then they will get their money back because of buyers protection on payment services such as PayPayl (what eBay uses).
I have also come across people asking to buy an iTunes card, or even just pay extra and then pay to ship, for me to send it to their "friend" or "kid" for their "birthday.
Not a chance.
If you ever come across these types of messages, just avoid them or stop responding an save yourself some valuable time. Also, the more you talk to them the more you might start to believe their story as some of these scammers can be very convincing!
It is usually pretty obvious because they are willing to pay a significant amount of money more than what you are asking for it sometimes. That is another good point, always be suspicious when someone is going to pay you more because it is usually a scam. I once had an in person buyer that said he wanted to pay me extra for waiting for him, and ended up giving me counterfeit money.
Online Scam Number Two
"I have to take payments through Cashapp, Zelle, Western Union, Venmo, etc"
Automatically say "no" and stop responding. Want to know why they will only take payments through these apps? Because these apps are cash transfer apps and once you send them their money, there is no buyers protection for you, meaning that once you send the money you have no way to get it back. You can call these apps all you want but all they will tell you is that you should not send money to people you don't know as they can't reverse transactions because they are immediate.
No matter what the reason they give you for having to use these apps to purchase their product, just avoid it. I can almost assure you that they won't send your product once you send the money and they will for sure stop responding to your texts.
I have heard some super clever stories to try and get me to send money through these apps, everything from "trust me I'm a pastor" to things such as "You pay half up front and then half when you get the product."
I even heard from one kid that his mom only gave him her Venmo information so I was going to have to pay through there even though that didn't make sense and I started questioning him as I knew I was able to pay through the app. He eventually stopped responding, it's fun to mess with the scammers every once in a while haha.
I have recently start to notice that some people, on apps like Offer Up (where you can ship items), have been putting things such as "payments through Cashapp only as I have been scammed by refund scams in the past." This is likely just the scammers trying to build your trust, don't do it, just stick to trusted payment methods and pay through the app and you will be fine.
The Third (but Definitely Not the Last) Online Scam
This last one is going to be specifically if you are using local selling apps, Craigslist especially, to try and sell your products.
If you put a product up on these apps, especially one of higher value, you will likely start getting messages like "email my mom at _______ she is interested in your product" or "text me at ______" to try and get you off the app so their messages won't get flagged as scams.
Then, they will say they want to pay you through cashiers check and that you can wait for it to clear before you send their product. Never do this, repeat never.
It is one of the biggest hassles and a super obvious scam once you get like two or three of the same messages. They are going to send you a fake check and then you are going to be out a product and responsible for paying the money if you try and cash the check!
I really hope this helps you a little bit if either you have run into a sketchy person messaging you, or are just starting out selling a few things online!
If you found any value from this, I made a free guide for side hustling and selling online for that extra $100+ per week. Check it out by clicking this link to download it >>
Let me know if you have any questions,
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