Here are some of the most common online classified scams that target the general public. These are simple scams we can all fall victim to, so take some time to brush up on what’s happening in the world of scammers.
Pretending to be PayPal
Sometimes, sellers are scammed by getting a fake PayPal email message confirming payment into their PayPal account. When this happens, the seller often ships off the product with the impression that the money is already in the PayPal account. However, there is no payment made to the seller’s PayPal because the customer sent the seller a fake email pretending to be PayPal. So, the seller has been had in this scenario, but this scam can quickly be prevented just by verifying the payment posted into the PayPal account. If the customer paid, the amount should be present. If not, then the seller will know the email was a hoax and refuse to ship off the product for nonpayment.
Want to buy a photograph of a MacBook?
This is one of the most frustrating scams going on right now. The seller posts a listing selling a hot item like an iPad or an Xbox One. After a person wins the bid on the item, the seller sends the buyer a picture of the item as if to say that’s what they were technically selling in the first place. Just imagine receiving a photograph of your MacBook in the post rather than the computer!
Don’t use wire transfers
A bank deposit or wire transfer is scam potential if you don’t already have the product in your possession or if you’re not satisfied with that you got. Try cash on collection or using PayPal as a safer payment option.
Check the item is theirs to sell
In this scam, you buy something expensive like a car, and the seller gets you to pay outside of eBay. You agree and go to pick up your car, only to find out that the person you negotiated with was not the real seller. The actual seller does not have record of anyone paying for the car, and they don’t have any record of your interest in the car because the ad you responded to was not their ad. The seller you contacted made a duplicate post of someone else’s actual listing—either on eBay or some other site, and now the scammer has gotten away with your money because you did not pay through eBay.
This scam has the seller getting conned after agreeing to change from shipping the item to meeting the buyer in person. The buyer asks to meet in person instead of having the product mailed after they have paid for postage via the online classified site or PayPal. You agree to deduct the postage costs when you meet after you see the person has paid in PayPal. The problem comes in when the buyer contacts PayPal for a refund and says the product was never shipped to them. Now, the seller has to verify the product was shipped, but the seller can’t because he/she chose to meet the buyer instead. Now, the seller has to refund the buyer the money paid and the postage fee.