With the increase in online sales and the spread of peer-to-peer trading applications, there has also been a widespread presence of online scammers who use these platforms to deceive buyers with false online sales or by offering non-existent or counterfeit products. Unfortunately, this often happens due to a need for more control over the content users upload.
There is also a considerable increase in cases in which the scam victim is the person who offers their products for sale on various shopping platforms. In this case, criminals pretend to be interested buyers when, in reality, what they want is not to buy the product for sale but to obtain personal data or confidential information and then use it to carry out any fraudulent operation. Knowing the details of these scams can help you avoid falling victim to these scams.
Scams Against Buyers
Technology products’ short life cycles and high costs often lead us to look for them online at more accessible prices. To avoid the security risks that online shopping entails, before purchasing, make sure that it is a secure e-commerce site so as not to put your personal information at risk.
Suppose the purchase is made directly from a private individual through a buying and selling application to avoid false online sales. In that case, you must be highly cautious and consider the following danger signs.
- Be careful of ads that offer an excessively cheap price. Fake online offers usually apply very high discounts on their products (over 50%) and other types of benefits such as free shipping and overnight delivery, taking advantage of people who shop for second-hand products because they search for discounts and fast deliveries. So, if the price is far below market value, you may never receive the item, or it may be a fake or poor-quality imitation.
- Be wary if the seller is abroad or gives you some excuse to start the process. For example, if an item is advertised on a website, but the seller tells you it is abroad, and a transport agency or courier must make that delivery, they will ask you to pay the intermediary ( to guarantee the purchase) before receiving the product.
- Look at the quality of the product images, and do not trust generic photos of the item for sale or photos taken from the Internet. If the ad doesn’t show real photos, be wary.
- Check the seller’s profile. Read the reviews and ratings of other users and check if there are any negative or scam-related comments. It will help you understand if the person is reliable.
- Choose a secure payment method and avoid making payments via bank transfer, gift card, money order, or money transfer companies like Western Union, Money Gram, etc., because in case of fraud or scam, you will have no chance of recovering your money.
- Provide the seller with only what is necessary to complete the transaction.
- Don’t buy anything that requires you to download software or enter your personal information to access coupons or discount codes.
Scams Against Sellers
If you have for sale or are thinking of selling a technology product, appliances, vehicle, etc., using one of the applications specialized in buying and selling products between private individuals, be careful because you too could be the victim of a fraud case. Criminals pose as a buyer interested in purchasing one of your products for sale.
They contact you via message/chat on the application itself and then ask you to continue the conversation (to buy your product) outside the app, for example, via email or WhatsApp. By doing so, they try to obtain your data, such as your email address, telephone number, full name, and postal address, with the excuse that they need this information to send a courier to collect the product you have on sale.
Once they have obtained your data, they ask you for your bank details and try to deceive you by email, pretending to be a well-known logistics or transport company. In this email, they ask you to provide them with your credit card code, saying it is necessary to make the shipment. To avoid this type of deception, pay attention to the following recommendations:
- Check the prospective buyer’s profile before sending anything. Read the comments and ratings of other users. It will help you understand if the person is trustworthy.
- Be wary if you are offered more money than you have agreed upon. Fraudulent cases may occur where foreign buyers offer you more money than you ask for the product for sale. If this happens to you, report it through the application you are using to make the sale, and only send the product once you have confirmation that it is a reliable buyer.
- Do not advance money for shipping costs, transport, etc., under no circumstances, even if they tell you they will refund the amount when you pay for the product.
- Use the app’s chat. Make all arrangements and maintain conversations through the chat of the trading application.
- Use a secure payment method so that you can guarantee the traceability of the sale.
- Cancel the sale if you have any doubts or suspicions.