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As online shopping increasingly becomes one of the most popular way to shops, it’s also going to become more popular for dishonest transactions and scam artists. While no seller wants to lose a sale by ignoring a potential customer, getting taken by a scam artist fels awful. Below we have compiled a few tips to help sellers ensure they keep their legitimate customers and avoid the con artists that are lurking around the net!
We cannot stress this enough. One of the biggest red flags is when you’re contacted about an item that you are selling, but they ask for your personal information first. Scam artists would love to get their hands on your personal information, it’s a gold mine for identity theft. Keep it close – there is rarely a legitimate reason any customer will need this information.
One of the reasons that Live Love Art uses PayPal for one of our payment processing options is that they are recognizable, well known and offer transaction protection against fraud. Most scammers will avoid using services such as PayPal, Stripe, Square etc and will ask to send a personal check or money order – such a red flag! Anyone that is willing to part with their cash, without any guarantees or protection, is likely up to no good. We recommend never accepting a money order as payment but if you choose to, make sure the bank clears the funds BEFORE releasing your product.
You’ve been contacted and offered 50% more than your asking price for an item because someone just LOVES it! Great news – right? Wrong. This is another major red flag. Regardless of the reason that someone gives you about the overpayment, chances are it will lead you to a potential scam. It’s not in our nature to opt to overpay for an item, so we recommend avoiding these situations all together.
Often scammers will want to involve an unknown third party such as a shipping or brokerage company. This company is supposed to act as the trusted middle man but will often be the opposite. While we recommend against allowing anyone else into your transaction, if the buyer is insistent on using a third party service make sure to cover your bases – ensure they are a legitimate company, and obtain payment via protected processor (PayPal or credit card) BEFORE releasing your item.
Remember the saying, too good to be true? Online those are words to live by. Most often con artists and scammers will make an offer that sounds amazing – a cut of a check just for cashing it, more money than you asked for, or a large order of items. Quick cash for little additional effort. There are not many legitimate reasons that offers like these are made (wholesale requests not included) so make sure to avoid these offers.
Quite often (but not always) the messages that are used by the scammers don’t make total sense. This could include broken sentence structure, improper word use, illogical requests or poor grammar/spelling. This is because they re-use these messages with each person/item so it doesn’t always flow or make proper sense.
Scammers are good at their jobs! I’m sure all of us have been contacted by a con artist at some point and wondered if it could be legitimate. You don’t want to miss out on a potential real sale by assuming something is a scam. So if you aren’t sure, ASK ASK ASK. Legitimate buyers/sellers will be happy to answer questions and will be able to give logical answers.
Selling online is a great revenue source with many amazing users so just remember to trust your gut! If something doesn’t fit, chances are it isn’t legit. Always use a trusted payment processor to ensure that you (and your customer) are protected.