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There are so many shopping sites that operate like online thrift stores and garage sales and are such an easy way to get rid of items you no longer want or need without leaving your home and to find items for lower prices. Many online customers will feel very uneasy when trying to shop for items since it can be so hard to fully trust the stranger on the other side of that screen. It is definitely important to understand all the signs of an honest sale or potential scam, and how to avoid them to keep your money safe.
Many watches and other accessories are sold secondhand for lower prices because they are harder to sell as most buyers prefer to buy products new. Unfortunately, some higher-priced items tend to be falsely advertised and sold as a scam. This can be true for any product sold online.
Depending on the item, where it came from, and who is selling it, honest reasons for pricing can differ. However, there are many items and advertisements that are set up to scam its buyer(s). Knowing this fact can cause confusion and uncertainty when trying to purchase something. How do you tell the difference anymore?
Why Are Items So Inexpensive Online?
Many online shops will sell products directly from their brands. These sites will either sell them for the original price or lower to get more buyers. The more purchases, the more money these sites will make. Amazon and eBay are popular sites customers will often use to find the same item for cheaper to save money.
Many other sites such as Facebook Marketplace are a popular way for people to sell items secondhand, much like a garage sale or thrift shop online. Much like a brand new car in a dealership, once a product has been bought and/or used, its value will decrease. It always feels better to buy something brand new, knowing you’re the only one who has touched or owned it. However, many people don’t mind buying used items that are still in good condition as they can save money, and sometimes bargain the price with the seller.
Some other reasons some items might be sold for so cheap online is the seller either may not understand the product’s real value price, or they may not have been able to sell it for the price they had hoped for, causing them to lower the price in hopes that someone will purchase it. Either way, as a buyer or seller, you should research to understand the product’s true value price to make sure you’re at least not unknowingly overpaying, or unknowingly losing money in the sale.
How to Spot a Scam
Scammers are constantly finding new creative and sneaky ways to steal money from unsuspecting or uneducated buyers online. Unfortunately, many shopping websites are built to protect buyers from being scammed. What many people don’t know is sellers can be scammed as well. To better understand, here are some forms a scam can take shape.
Non-Delivery/Fake Delivery: The seller will accept the payment from the buyer, but will either not deliver the item and keep the money, or they will deliver an empty box, or even send it to the wrong address on purpose. When items are sent to the wrong address, the recipient will return them and the scammer will keep the item and the money.
Knock-Off Items: There are many items out there that look like the real product from the real brand, but are not so. Companies in different countries will make their own “copies” of what looks like a legitimate product, then sell them online for the full price of the real product. These can be hard to tell apart sometimes, so be sure to look for spelling mistakes and compare and contrast with the product’s original selling site.
Payments Outside the Site: Amazon, eBay, and other sites will usually have their own purchasing tools on the site to confirm payments were made, and to simplify purchases. Scammers, whether they act as the seller or the buyer, will request to receive or send payment through an outside source such as Venmo, PayPal, gift card, check, or money order. This is a very common way for scammers to steal money as there are different ways of canceling their payment after the order was delivered, and ending up with a “free product”. Scammers will also use this to accept payments then refuse to deliver and block the buyer so they can’t find them again.
Customer Service: Some scammers will find a way to contact sellers and buyers by pretending to be the site’s customer service or help desk. They will use this to get sensitive information about the site’s users, such as identification, credit card numbers, addresses, etc. This can hurt the user more than just financially as this helps the scammer to hack their social media accounts and devices.
Overpayment: The buying scammer will offer to purchase the item for more than the seller asked for, then use a fraudulent account, card, or check to make the purchase. This can be very difficult for the seller to prevent as they may never know it was a fraud.
How to Protect Yourself From a Scammer
Just about everyone will come into contact with an online shopping scammer at least once in their life. When you can spot one, it is then very simple and easy to combat to keep yourself safe.
First, when trying to sell an item, make sure you are selling for an accurate and reasonable price. You don’t want to just give your item away for almost nothing, but you don’t want to do the opposite and post it for way more than it’s really worth as this will detract potential buyers.
Once you know your price, be firm and don’t let anyone give you low-ball offers. If you are buying, make sure you do the proper research to understand the correct price range of the item you’re looking for to avoid overpaying.
Second, when you receive an inquiry about your item, if you can, look at the potential buyer’s profile and account. See how long the account has been active, when it was created, and if they have made any sales before. Oftentimes, scammers will create new accounts and profiles daily so they can work off multiple accounts at a time. When buying, do the same thing and look up the account to be sure they are a genuine person selling a genuine product.
Once you get an offer on your product, don’t accept any payments outside the site you are selling it on. This will help protect you later in case something goes wrong. Buying scammers will usually insist on using an outside payment method. Don’t budge and if they refuse to pay on the site, decline their offer and wait for a different buyer to come along. If you are buying, be firm and insist on paying them through the site, not elsewhere.
Next, you need to document the entire process of buying or selling. Do not delete any online conversations with the other person, photograph the product you are selling, get a tracking number for the package, and if you are buying, photograph the product when it arrives if anything is damaged or incorrect with your order. If you do get scammed, contact the website’s help or security page and report the scammer.
Always remember that if a product or buyer looks too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. Be smart and don’t overlook any details during the buying and selling process, as you are the only one who can look out for you.