Nowadays more and more people prefer to buy items from classifieds websites. It helps save time, money , and sometimes even allows you to purchase a unique product that can not be found on the shelves of a conventional store .
But this rapidly growing segment of the market attracts scammers who cleverly and cynically try to lure us to give away our money.
In this article we’ve decided to describe the most common online scams schemes and give some advice on how to protect ourselves and not to become a victims of a fraud.
Either the seller or buyer could be the target of a scam. In this article we are only dealing with the buyers safety recommendations. In the next article, we will also describe how to avoid scams when selling online.
10 safety steps for Buyers
A scammer may pretend to be selling an attractive item with lower than usual price in attempt to lure potential victims. The so called seller will make excuses for not being able to show the item, pretending to be away, overseas, sick and so on. He will ask for deposit or money transfer and will disappear shortly after the money transfer.
Here is some advice to stay safe while shopping:
1. Be aware of items that seem to be too good to be true – always listen to your intuition – if it sounds too good, there’s a good chance that there might be a catch. If you have any doubts, don’t go ahead with the deal.
2. Avoid ads offering unrealistic prices – always compare the prices with those for similar items and always recommended to know the market value of the item.
3. Seeing items with images instead of photos? Ask the seller to send more pictures of the original item
4. Research the details of the item before buying – get to know what hidden defects to look for. The item might seem brand new from the outside, but might not be functioning. It’s always recommended that you plug in electrical items to make sure they are in working order.
5. Choose items that you can buy close to home . If the seller requires a prepayment , and says that the product is in another country or city, be suspicious – it is better to find someone who is willing to meet you in person.
6. Never, ever, transfer a deposit without seeing the item or meeting personally with the seller.
7. Meet the seller personally and in a safe place. Check the item thoroughly – if the item does not match the description or does not satisfy you, do not feel obligated to buy.
8. Do not give your SIN number, passport number, bank account, credit card information and other personal information.
9. Important: do an internet search. Enter the advertiser’s info ( email, phone etc.) and the exact ad into one of the search engines. it could provide you plenty of information. The details of the sellers may appear in one of the scam books, or you can just find some reviews by other victims.
You should also check the seller’s profile if such exists, it could provide plenty of information and save you a lot of trouble.
10. Finally, do not spend any amount you can not afford loosing. Buying from classifieds does not provide any return policy. So shop responsibly.