As we are becoming more and more reliant on the internet as a source of information as well as for purchasing products and services, we need to beware of the increase in online scams that are targeting innocent consumers. This article is not intended to badmouth purchasing and selling on reputable classified auction websites like Gumtree and eBay; on the contrary, these are great sites, but there may be online scams that you should take care to avoid. Below are some of the most common online scams to beware.
Scam #1 – Fake PayPal Account
When you sell an item, you usually receive an email notification from PayPal to tell you that the purchase has been made and you can send the item. Scammers have found ways of imitating this notification so that you believe the consumer has paid for the product. If you then send the product without double checking that the money is in your account, you might find that it was a scam.
Scam #2 – Mexican Timeshare Solutions
This type of scam is not limited to Mexican Timeshare Solutions, but rather is a warning about any company that claims to be able to cancel a timeshare after the cooling off period has ended. There are a number of timeshare cancellation services that write defamatory information about leading timeshare brands in order to attract online consumers to pay high prices to cancel a timeshare that cannot legally be canceled.
Scam #3 – Payment through a Wire Transfer
An old one that still happens. Any payment through a wire transfer or if you do a direct bank deposit into the account of the seller will leave you victim of an online scam, unless you have the item already in your hands and you are completely happy with the item. One way that is safe is paying with PayPal or if you pay cash. Often, wire transfer companies like Western Union will not authorize a transfer unless you personally know the seller. They have been known to refuse a transaction in order to protect the consumer.
Scam #4 – Purchasing a Photograph
One of the most miserable eBay scams is when you get caught out purchasing a photograph of the product that you want. A seller will post a photograph (sometimes in a frame) of an expensive high demand product like a MacBook or Xbox One. You believe you are buying a MacBook at a really low price, only to be scammed into buying an very expensive photograph.
Scam #5 – The Bait and Switch
You list an item on eBay and a buyer wins. They pay for the item with no problem, so you ship the item to the buyer in perfect working order. However, you are notified that the item has arrived damaged. The buyer sends you pictures of the item and files a complaint claiming that you have sold something that is broken or doesn’t work. It will be your word against there’s and EBay will side with the buyer, because of the Buyer Protection Policy. You have to refund the money to the buyer.
Don’t get caught out by these scams!