We accumulate a lot over the years, and not everything is necessary. Things are stored in boxes in the garage, while others are stuffed in a closet. Clearing your house of unwanted items is a great start to decluttering, and there are a few places where someone will get them out of your hands.
One of the most popular websites is OfferUp, which started in 2011 to compete with sites like Craigslist. Unfortunately, as the website became more well-known, it attracted many scammers. Tap or click here to see a popular scam spreading across Facebook Marketplace.
Read on for details on the most common scams on OfferUp and how to avoid them.
Here is the backstory
Even though OfferUp only has a faction of users from other sites like Facebook Marketplace and Amazon, that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe. Whenever a platform gains traction, scammers are sure to follow.
Financial Crime and Fraud Manager at D4t4 Solutions, Serpil Hall, says Readers Digest that OfferUp scammers often present themselves as trustworthy buyers or sellers of high-priced items and prey on people who are not computer savvy or aware of the scams going on.
To avoid these tricky scams, it is important to know in advance what to look for.
Here are five common scams found on OfferUp:
1. Fake website scam
Thieves often try to trick you with spoofed websites designed to look real. This scam is relatively simple, as the criminals create a page that looks like OfferUp.
But if you pay attention to the URL and some visual elements of the site, you will see that it is a fraud. If you buy something from a fake website, you will waste your money and never receive the item. Make sure you only do business on the official OfferUp website to avoid identity theft scams.
2. Overpayment scam
This type of scam can be found on most marketplaces. It works like this. Someone buys an item from you, but instead of paying the purchase price, they send more than was needed. They claim it was an honest mistake. They ask you to return the amount they overpaid to fix the problem.
This is where we get scammed. In reality, the check they sent will eventually bounce. Or if they paid electronically, they’ll tell their bank the transaction was fraudulent and take the payment back from you. If you send the overpaid amount, you lose that money, the original money they sent, and the item you sold.
To avoid losing money on these types of scams, make sure their payment has cleared and is safely in your bank account before refunding the overpayment amount. Also, only use OfferUp to complete the transaction. Scammers may ask you to switch to another payment platform which will not protect your money.
3. Buyer too interested
It’s always good when there’s interest in your listing, but beware of buyers who seem a little too enthusiastic. It could be a scammer trying to convince you they need the item fast and suggesting to talk about the sale on a messaging service outside of OfferUp’s chat feature.
This can be dangerous, as OfferUp cannot help you with any issues if you switch to another platform. Whenever you buy or sell something on OfferUp, stay on the OfferUp site and don’t switch to Facebook Messenger or any other messaging site.
4. Fake verification code
This scam is quite sophisticated and could fool almost anyone. How does it work if someone looking to buy what you’re selling says they want to verify that you’re a real person. Which seems legit, right? So they ask for your phone number to send you a verification code.
In reality, it is not a verification code at all. They steal your credentials and banking information if you click on their link. It might even infect your device with malware. Never click on links sent by someone through OfferUp. The site has its own verification process and does not use verification codes. If someone asks, walk away.
5. Empty box scam
An empty box scam is exactly what it sounds like. You buy something on OfferUp and the seller sends you an empty box.
To avoid losing money on scams like this, stick to the OfferUp app when doing business. If the seller does not send you the purchased item, you can file a complaint with OfferUp to get your money back.
Also, look at seller reviews before buying anything. If they have scammed someone in the past, their reviews should reflect that. Stay away from sellers with bad reviews. If they don’t have an opinion, be careful.
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