Gumtree, eBay, and other auction sites are great for buying and selling products and services, but there are many different online scams that you should be careful to avoid. Online scams are becoming more and more sophisticated, targeting people in sophisticated ways that you wouldn’t believe until it happens to you.Look below at some surprising online scams you should be careful to avoid.
Wire Transfer Scams
Wire transfer scams are well documented and even the major wire transfer companies advise customers to be careful of this type of scam. Unless you have received the item or service you wish to purchase, avoid paying with a wire transfer or bank deposit. In most cases when you send the money in this way before you have the product, the likelihood is that you will never receive it. Paying through PayPal or another type of escrow service is one of the safest ways to pay for items on an online auction site or other types of websites selling services.
This online scam is not related to buying items on auction websites but to cancelling timeshares. Timeshare cancellation companies claim they can cancel your timeshare on your behalf. First they provide a free consultation, then you will be hit with a big fee. You won’t know you have been scammed until months later when you receive demands for unpaid fees from your timeshare company. The letter or email you received informing you that your timeshare had been cancelled was a fake!
Fake PayPal Email
Similar to the fake timeshare cancellation letters, people are creating fake PayPal emails. Just imagine that you have sold an item on an auction site, then you get an email from what you believe is PayPal letting you know that the buyer has paid for the product that you sold. You mail the product immediately, then you noticed that the money is not showing in your PayPal account. The email was a carefully designed hoax.
Purchasing Just a Photo
One of the most aggravating eBay scams out there is purchasing a photo of the advertised product. Some online scam sellers will list a hot item like a MacBook or Xbox One. The buyer wins the auction at a really low price, pays, then waits for it to arrive in the mail. The only thing that arrives is a photograph of the item. The seller says “technically” that is what they were selling, just a photo and not the item.
You sell an item successfully on eBay, so you mail it to them in perfect working order. However, the buyer emails you pictures claiming the item is broken. You have no way to prove that it wasn’t broken when you mailed it. The buyer contacts eBay and with eBay’s Buyer Protection Policy you are forced to refund the money. What the scammer did was to swap the item you sent with a broken version of the same product. Always keep records of serial numbers when sending electrical goods as this is a good way to prove which items is yours.
The Delivery Refund Scam
You are in danger of this kind of scam when a buyer has already paid for the product plus delivery charges through an auction website like eBay. The buyer then calls you before you have had chance to mail the product to say that they would prefer to collect the item. Rather than cancel the payment, the buyer agrees for you to given them the postage money in cash, when you see them. They arrive, collect the item and everybody is happy. A few days later the buyer has filed a request for a full refund claiming you never sent the item. You have no proof they picked it up, and according to all record
s you had agreed to send it and cannot provide proof of postage either. You are forced to refund the entire amount, including the postage that you already refunded in cash.
Be careful with online scams and use your head!