Have you ever been involved in an online scam with sellers from sites like Ebay or Gumtree? While scams are relatively uncommon and these reputable websites take all measures to protect consumers and sellers, scammers are becoming more and more savvy. Here are some of the most popular scams as identified by www.welivesecurity.com.
Wire transfers and bank deposits
If you don’t’ already have the item you purchased and are satisfied with what you got, then you leave yourself vulnerable to being scammed if you use a wire transfer (or bank deposit). Try cash on collection or PayPal for a more secure way to pay.
The seller sells a product and the buyer pays for shipping. The buyer then decides he or she wants to collect the item in lieu of having it shipped. The seller agrees to meet in person and take out the postage costs after the buyer makes payment in PayPal. And here’s where the scam comes in. The buyer files a refund request and claims the seller did not mail them the product. Now, PayPal wants you to verify you shipped the product or else refund the buyer his/her money. You have no choice but to give the person back their money because you can’t verify shipping off the product (since you agreed to meet in person), and now you have to give them the postage fee, too that they did not have to pay.
A photo, not the product
In this particular scam, the seller will make a listing of a popular item like a Macbook or iPad. The buyer will bid for the products in the auction and win. After the buyer makes payment, the seller sends the buyer a photograph of the item and claim that it was the photograph they were selling and not the actual product. For buyers, this type of scam is very irritating.
This scam involves the buyer claiming the seller sent them a faulty product. A few days after the seller has shipped the product, the buyer contacts the seller with photographs of what looks like a broken version of the product the seller sold. Soon, the buyer complains to eBay, and eBay demands you refund the money because of the Buyer Protection Policy. The reality is that they had a similar product that was already broken.
Fake Ads for Real Products
You buy an expensive item like a car, and the seller gets you to make payment outside of eBay. You agree to the payment arrangement and go to pick up your product. When you get there, you see the actual car, but the seller does not recognize you because you did not respond to the seller’s ad; you responded to a fake ad that was a duplicate of the real ad. This seller may have had an actual listing on eBay, but that was not the ad you responded to. So someone has scammed you into paying them outside of eBay, and now you can’t get your money back.
Fake PayPal Messages
This scam involves getting a confirmation email from PayPal that lets you know the buyer has paid for your product. However, the email is fake, and it is not from the real PayPal. So if the seller mails off the product relying on this email, the seller will have been scammed because the customer didn’t actually pay for the merchandise. Make it a point to always verify PayPal emails by checking your account to see if the payment was actually made.