Common OfferUp scams and how to avoid them

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Looking to buy or sell something on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace rival OfferUp, but worried about scammers? Here are some common methods used by scammers and a plan to avoid them.

What is OfferUp?

First, a quick history and application guide. It was founded in 2011 by Nick Huzar and Arean Van Veelen – then new dads who the company says were inspired to start OfferUp when they found themselves with “more stuff than they wanted and less stuff they wanted”. they didn’t need it”. The app allows users to quickly list items by taking a photo, setting a price, and offering a brief description. Potential buyers can scroll through a photo gallery, negotiate a price, and set up a sale in person or by shipping. Sellers can pay to promote their items to appear in the top 50 featured positions in search, browse, and category results.

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Lurking in these lists are common scams that, armed with the right information, can be circumvented. Let’s go.

Fake accounts

The heart of any scam begins with the scammer. You can avoid bad situations by researching a seller’s history. It’s a good sign if they have multiple listings and good reviews. But beware of profiles with no reviews, if the account has duplicate information, blurry images of their products, or if they want to communicate outside of the app.

You should also keep an eye out for accounts with negative ratings and reviews. The reviews a person receives on OfferUp will display on their public profile. If you rate one to three stars, you will have the option to add negative reviews, such as ‘Item not as described’, ‘Rude’, ‘Problem with meeting location’, ‘Late’, No communicative” or “Other. ” If you choose four to five stars, you will be prompted to add positive reviews, including “Reliable”, “Punctual”, “Friendly” and “Communicative”. The compliment a person has received the most is listed first and all others will follow in descending order.

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False cash or checks

You’ve landed a sale and now it’s time to collect payment. If you’re meeting in person – OfferUp prides itself on being a local marketplace – cash is the best bet. And even then, it’s possible that those net bills for that TV, that piece of furniture, or even a vehicle could be counterfeit.

Keep in mind that counterfeit detection pens are not always accurate. The best way to determine if a note is authentic is to rely on security features, such as watermark and security thread. The U.S. Currency Education Program, run by the Federal Reserve, offers a guide to the design and security features of U.S. currency, which includes advice on simple ways to tell if a note is real.

Does not accept checks already. The scammers could simply provide a fake check, and when the NSF check bounces, you could not only be out of the article, but incur an NSF check fee from the bank.

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In any case, before the meeting, be sure to confirm the agreed terms.

To work around these issues, keep your conversations in the app and don’t share your personal information, such as your phone number or email address.

Overpayment Scams

Use the OfferUp app for shipping transactions. Otherwise, you could be exposed to another check scam involving bad actors sending more than the agreed amount and demanding a refund of the overpayment. They can also say that the overpayment is for the movers who come and carry the item. You could run out of large sums and also be penalized by the bank for the bounced check. Also, beware of buyers asking you to ship to another address or another carrier.

The code verification scam

In this scheme, someone asks for your phone number so they can send you a Google verification code, just to make sure you’re the real deal. Don’t. The request is likely a decoy for you to share the code with them, according to a press release from Identity Theft Resource Center president and CEO Eva Velasquez. If you do, the scammer can link a Google Voice number to your own phone. This gives the bad actor the opportunity to open new accounts and become a fake seller. This is an open door to scam new crop of victims.

Stay away from these predators by only using the app’s messaging system.

Additional shipping costs

Shipping charges are handled through the OfferUp app, so don’t fall prey to another common OfferUp scam where sellers insist an item has additional shipping charges. OfferUp lists its shipping charges and policies on its website. For example, shipping charges are calculated when an item goes on sale and are based on the item’s estimated weight and dimensions. This cost will be indicated on the article when it is published.

Fake websites

Some scammers create fake sites that look like OfferUp and will email links to the fake site, which will be loaded with fake advertisements. When you attempt to purchase an item, you will be prompted to sign in with your email address and password to make a purchase. A rule of thumb: stay on the authenticated OfferUp website or app and don’t click on any link from a user that asks you to sign in. Not only will you not get the item you thought you agreed to buy, but you’ll be out of the money you paid for it. OfferUp Official Site Offers Debit Purchase Protection and credit card purchases made through the app.

Fake sites can also place malware on your device.

Scams too good to be true

A seller offers the latest high-end iPhone for $50. Does that sound fishy to you? This is because it probably is. Scammers with these types of offers may ask buyers to transfer money before an item can be delivered. Once a deal is made, the scammer never sends the product.

Pay outside the offerUp

If you’re not paying cash in person, stay in-app for shipping transactions. Sellers can request a certified check, gift cards, or wire transfer through a service like Western Union or MoneyGram for a sale. They can also request payment through a service like Cash App, Venmo, or PayPal. These are all untraceable methods, making it much more difficult to attempt to get your money back.

If you have been scammed

  • Buyers can file a claim for any shipped purchase, but OfferUp encourages users to request a refund first before filing a claim. If you’re lucky, this may be a faster fix for your problem.
  • You can anonymously report suspicious or offensive behavior and anything that violates the app’s posting rules by tapping the three dots in the upper right corner of the poster’s profile, then tapping the flag for users to ‘Android or “Report” for iOS users. Select a reason or block the person on the next screen. Press “Submit Report”.
  • Of course, you can also report criminal activity to the police. They will need details such as the user profile of the person you interacted with. OfferUp notes that once you have made your report, you must ask the investigator to contact OfferUp and provide a case number or event ID so the company can work with the agent.

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