Unfortunately, there are some scammers out there that target re-sale marketplaces like ours, even the big marketplaces like Gumtree and Autotrader haven’t been able to completely stop scammers from using their websites.
Although they are pesky and an inconvenience the good news is that they are normally easy to spot. The best way to protect yourself is to educate yourself about the common signs of a fake enquiry, so that if you are approached you will be able to spot the signs.
Scammers tend to approach people who are selling higher priced items for example wedding dresses rather than smaller, lower priced items. They also tend to approach those who have recently listed their dress for sale, so it may be your first contact with a 'buyer.' Don't get excited and carried away - always go with your gut instinct and stop to think about how you would enquire about buying your dream wedding dress.
For example is it likely that a man would be enquiring about buying a wedding dress and needing it immediately?
Also, it is unlikely that someone is buying a wedding dress on behalf of a client or relative, without arranging for them to come and try the dress on?
Often scammers say that they are blind so are unable to come and try the dress on, or are disabled so are unable to visit to try it on. They often mention a client, shipping fees, delivery to another country and that “once they are satisfied” they will arrange payment via check or PayPal.
Advice is to be aware of enquiries and emails that contain bad English or grammar as this can be a sign of a scammer.
Scammers often ask for you to send pictures and ask what price the dress is, but this information is already available in your listing. Asking questions which are clearly indicated in your listing is a warning sign that is may not be a genuine enquiry.
The scam element is that they come up with a reason for paying you more than the listing price, they will then ask you to send back the difference via transfer such as Western Union once you have received the payment. They then send an email supposedly from PayPal, saying that the buyer has deposited the funds into your PayPal account and that you should now proceed to send the payment via Western Union Money Transfer. Please be aware that this is a fake email from PayPal. We would suggest that you report this to PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that you should always check that any money has gone into your PayPal account before sending the item onto the buyer.
Recent scammers, we are aware of have all gone by a gmail address that had a first name, last name followed by a series of numbers. For example email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to reassure you, that we are doing everything we can to make our website as secure as possible. We have a registration process in place in order to deter those who are not genuine buyers from making an enquiry and unlike other marketplaces we do not give out your email address to buyers, as the first enquiry is always through our website.
We flag up in the enquiry email when enquiries have been sent from a computer/country outside of the UK, have a spam catcher and hidden spam checker in place. Unfortunately, huge companies like eBay haven’t even managed to stop scammers yet sadly.
We are not aware that someone is not a genuine buyer until it is brought to our attention so would continue to advise you to contact us at email@example.com if you think that someone is not genuine. We will then delete their account contact their email provider (for example gmail or hotmail), PayPal and the UK's online fraud organisation - Action Fraud.
We also post the details of the scammer on the homepage of our website and Twitter – so if you are ever unsure it is sometimes worthwhile ‘googling’ the email address or mobile number they have given as it may appear on other marketplaces or online fraud websites.
I can assure you that the majority of our buyers are genuine buyers who are looking to pick up a preloved bargain for their wedding.
- Always go with your gut instinct.
- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is?
- Bad grammar and spelling is a common sign of a scammer.
- Alarm bells should ring if someone offers higher than the asking price.
- Scam artists often get in touch about high value items such as wedding dresses, rather than small value items.
- The majority of our buyers are women - ask yourself why would a man be in touch about buying a wedding dress?
- Wedding items are very personal and as such there is often lots of lovely dialogue and interaction between the buyer and the seller.
- Asking questions which are clearly indicated in your listing is a warning sign that is may not be a genuine enquiry.
- Why would someone pay you hundreds of pounds to post a dress and then ask you to refund them via a different method?
- It is most likely that if someone is buying a wedding dress they would like to see or try the dress on. If you are happy for the dress to be tried on, you should always encourage this as you should be able to gage if the enquiry is genuine.
- We always recommend using PayPal in order to protect both parties. Always check that money has been received in your PayPal account before sending or delivering items.
Our advice is:
- Be very wary of people asking for detail already in your listing, people who ask for the dress to be sent immediately and anyone who says they are buying the dress on behalf on someone else.
- Ask the buyer to ring you so that you can work out the details of the sale. If someone is not genuine they will not ring you.
- Encourage the buyer to come and try the dress on.
- Always log into your PayPal account to check that the money has been deposited into your account before posting the dress.
- The address you are posting the dress to, should match the address on the PayPal tranasction and we would always recommend posting the dress recorded delivery.
I have been offered a higher price for an item, than the price I listed. Should I accept this?
Advice is to never proceed with a transaction that offers more than the price of your item. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are concerned about a buyer please contact us so that we can look into it and deactivate their account if necessary.
I have been approached by someone who wants to pay via cheque and they are offering me a price than advertised.
Cheque overpayment fraud is when a fraudster pays a business for goods or services by a fraudulent cheque. The cheque is made for a higher than the actual value. The business reimburses the fraudster with the excess amount of money that was apparently paid to it, before it discovers that the cheque was not genuine. Cheque overpayment fraud is often a method used for goods and services sold through classified adverts.
What can we do about these scammers?
ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. You can contact them >> here.
Contact the internet provider that the email was send from, eg Gmail or Hotmail.
If you have received a scam email supposedly from PayPal you can forward this onto firstname.lastname@example.org.