Learning how to avoid scams is crucial if you’re planning to sell your stuff online.
While selling what you no longer need is a great way to earn some extra cash, it also opens you up to fraudsters who use increasingly well-known tricks to dupe you out of your money or your goods.
Here CashLady looks at five ways to avoid scams when selling your stuff online using popular platforms such as eBay and Gumtree.
Avoiding scams on eBay and Gumtree
eBay and Gumtree are two of the UK’s most popular platforms for selling your unwanted items but as with any website they are prone to fraudsters and scams.
There are millions of adverts and listings live on these sites at any one time so it’s impossible for eBay and Gumtree to police every single interaction and transaction between buyer and seller.
Whatever platform you are using, it pays to stay vigilant and trust your instincts when selling your stuff online.
How to avoid scams when selling online
Avoid common scams when selling your stuff online by following the tips below.
#1 Wait for cleared funds before sending goods
Electronic payment methods such as PayPal may make it easy to send and receive money, but they also make it easy for you to be duped.
Make sure you receive the cleared cash in your account before handing over any goods, no matter how much pressure the buyer puts on you to send the item quickly.
They might message you saying that they have paid but there is a risk that the money won’t clear. Wait until you receive the actual funds in your account before considering an item paid for.
Also, beware of fake email confirmations from buyers saying they sent you a PayPal transfer. You’ll see an email confirmation, only to find out later that it was a scam and no money was actually sent.
You are the seller so stay calm and remember that you are in control – only send goods when you are sure that the item is paid for and the buyer is genuine.
#2 Never accept overpayments
A common scam to avoid when selling online is the buyer claiming that they have overpaid and asking to be sent back the difference.
This is often linked to payment scams where the buyer has sent a fake payment confirmation email and not actually send money at all – meaning not only do you send the goods, but you also give them extra cash and they haven’t paid a thing.
Never accept overpayments and don’t fall for any stories that the buyer might be telling you. Contact the site administrator instead.
#3 Watch out for fake emails and texts from Gumtree and eBay
If you have an eBay or Gumtree account then you may receive an email or text requesting personal information, such as passwords and bank details.
These are fishing scams and you should delete them right away.
Remember that a reputable website will never genuinely ask you for sensitive information out of the blue by email, text, letter or phone.
You might also receive a text message about your for-sale ad that doesn’t look right. This is typically a trick to get you to click onto a fake link and enter your personal details.
Remember, if it doesn’t look right then it probably isn’t.
#4 Don’t switch payment method
Gumtree advises that you should be extremely wary of buyers or sellers that ask you to switch payment method from what you usually use.
This could apply to any online selling platform so be wary and remember that cheques and online transfers are easy to fake. Always wait until you receive cleared funds before handing over goods.
If the buyer claims they are having account issues then you can do a little digging, read their previous reviews or simply press pause on the sale and contact Gumtree or whoever runs the site for advice.
#5 Send all items tracked postage methods
Avoid the ‘I never received it,’ scam.
If you’re posting your items out to buyers, then always use tracked postage methods so that you can prove the item was sent and received.
Ensure you add the posting charge into the overall cost of the item so that the buyer pays for it.