After four years of selling online, through almost every app and website possible, you would think I would know all the scams by now...
Well, these mother f**kers are sneaky sometimes and they are always thinking of ways to grab those dollars from you.
I have come across some pretty tricky ones in the past 6 months to a year while selling that actually nearly got me, and a couple of them did, so I wanted to share these stories with you and help you be able to better spot who is trying to scam you.
I lost a portion of my money learning and figuring these out so that you don't have to! And the most important thing before I start here is to realize that if you feel like you might be getting scammed, you probably are so don't go through with the sale or purchase! There will almost always be another person to buy from you or another seller selling that same product.
Save yourself the time and frustration of getting scammed, learn to spot online scams right away.
You know, sometimes they just throw stories at you and make them so believable that you would think these fools have like psychology degrees or something, they know exactly what to say.
I have came across a handful of scammers who have had some very elaborate stories and super believable reasons why I should have trusted them. This is not the normal thing you run into by the way, so you don't have to worry about every single person being a scammer, these were just a few that I ran into, and one that I fell for over the years.
The first one was someone down in Texas that was selling an Apple Watch through the app OfferUp. He had a profile pictures, good reviews (for 3 previous sales) and I had been talking to him on the app and it all seemed fine. He asked me to Venmo him half up front as he had a bill due soon and I knew Offer Up held the money for up to a week or more.
So, I did some research and looked up his Venmo profile and saw that he had a few other people send him money for their items in the past and they each had two transactions (I assumed this was one before and one after they received the item) so, I didn't really think much of it and sent him the money as all the clues led me to believe it was a real profile.
Sadly, I was dead wrong. He messaged me after I paid that he needed my address so he could send the item on his lunch break tomorrow at work, so I sent it and then he messaged that he was going to send it the following day.
Later the next night, I still hadn't heard if he had sent it or not and I went to go message him and all of the messages were gone, he deleted his profile. I was played hard. After this scenario, I made the rule for myself that I never pay through anywhere but the app, no matter how trust worthy they look, this saved me big time on this next one. The apps almost always offer buyers protection, which protects you if you don't get the item, the cash transfer apps do NOT have that.
This next person was less convincing but had a solid story none the less, he was explaining to me that he needed payments through Western Union and that he was a pastor so "that's why I should trust him." He even had a verified profile on Offer Up through something called "TruYou" where you take a picture of your drivers licence so that they know it is actually you in the profile picture and you are using your real name. But, that doesn't tell me if the real them is a scammer or not haha
I was kind of on edge about this guy the whole time so I never followed through with it, also it would have broken my rule of paying somewhere off the app. Because especially with Western Union, that's a cash transfer so not a chance in hell you get your money back.
This was kind of touched on above, and a little harder to notice until you have been selling for a while, but there are a handful of people who use fake profiles, or fake information on their profiles in order to make them look legit.
This can range from the basic fake name to a fake profile picture or even the fake sales that I mentioned above.
(for fake sales they can just have their friend "buy" something from them and mark it as sold to increase their positive reviews as well as sales)
While these are harder to spot, here are going to be a few things I always look at to make sure the person is legit....
The most important is the date they joined the app, on Offer Up especially. If you click on their profile it will show when they joined the app, and if it is that month and they only have like a verified email or phone number, and an obviously fake profile picture or no profile picture, they are most likely a scammer. This is because their accounts get deleted and reported all the time so they keep making new ones.
The second thing I look for is if they have items listed for sale, or if they have had any listed in the past, because likely if they were trying to sell in the past or still have a variety of things for sale, then they are legit as scammers are too lazy to go through all that work.
Also, look at what ways they are verified (through TruYou, Facebook, email, phone, etc) because if it is just through email and or phone, they will likely not be real, especially if that is on top of any of the things I talked about above.
Some apps also let you see if they have a verified payment method or not, which is another good thing to look at.
This is another tricky one as payment methods through companies such as PayPal offer buyers protection, which means they will refund the buyer's money if the item isn't as described or the buyer never received the item.
Some scammers will buy you item, pay for it and everything, and then once it ships out they will file a claim that they either "never received it" or that they are sending it back as it wasn't how they were described. Then they will get their money back, keep your item and then send you a fake something back.
Good thing there are some tell tale signs when looking for this and ways to avoid it as I have found over the years.
First, look when they joined the app and how many reviews they have, eBay also let's you see what year they joined and the amount of positive and negative feedback they have if you click on their username. If they are new to the app and have no feedback, that might be a red flag.
Next, they will usually be asking you to do something on top of ship it, like pay you an extra $50 to ship it overnight, or ship it to their kid or friend in a different state (because this address will be different than the one that shows up on eBay so they can say that you sent it elsewhere).
Finally, look at their username, is it believable at all? I run into a lot of these people with usernames like "jahdjt_0" with no reviews and recently joined and I just save myself the trouble and don't sell to them, or even message them back. If they were real they would take the time to make the username look better than that.
To avoid these scams, always putting the odds in my favor, I take a picture of the item with the postage stamp before I seal the box and then after the box is sealed so I have proof of what was inside and where it was going, if anything were to happen.
Please, please, please make sure you understand how to spot the scams! I have lost way too much money over the years to these people, let's not give them your money too! I am trying to make everyone aware so that these people quit making a living off stealing from us.
So, if you haven't checked out the other blog post about scams, click this link and I'll show you three of the biggest scams you will run into while selling online >>
And if you have found any value, I would really appreciate if you downloaded my guide for helping you start your selling side hustle and get to $100 a week and scale from there. Click here to download that guide >>
Thanks for all of your support!
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