Selling things online, from personal items to running an e-commerce store is very rewarding financially. Yet, it also poses some problems.
Scammers are nothing new when you are trying to sell stuff, it’s just the methods are different now. Unfortunately, it is easier than ever for scammers to rip you off. Unless you take some measures to protect yourself.
With the right approach, you can sell online without worrying about losing money to some nefarious scam artist.
In this article, I will go over some ways to stay safe when selling online.
The easiest way for somebody to scam you is through the payment process. Either they will try to cancel or return an item and not send it back or some other way to get their money back while keeping the product you sold them.
To make sure you are protected as a seller, use PayPal to take payments. There are fees of course, but you get protection in case somebody pulls a fast one on you.
You can accept many different currencies and even buying Bitcoin with Paypal is possible offering even greater protection.
Don’t give out too much information
At some point in the sale, you will need to give out some information, but make sure people don’t get your data until that point. What I mean by that is don’t put much personal information in the ad.
Use a dedicated email that you only use for buying and selling online. Also, when taking your pictures, leave out any identifying objects.
For instance, suppose you are selling a car online and need a picture. Take the picture somewhere that doesn’t show your house or address. You can either photoshop your house out of the picture or take the car somewhere that can’t be identified.
Meet in a safe location
Don’t have the buyer come to your house or place of work. You can often set up the transfer of goods at the local police station so nobody will be tempted to steal your cash or item for sale.
You can also meet at a bank or in a mall. Somewhere there are lots of cameras around. Be there first to make sure you are not followed in and wait a while before leaving so you are not trailed afterwards.
Do some investigation
When you have an email from a buyer, do a simple Google search to see if the email is associated with any scammers.
If you have the name of the buyer, then check out their social media to get an idea of the type of person you are meeting. If they have no social media, then that should raise a flag and cause you to be cautious. It may just be that they block people outside their actual social circle from viewing them online, but it could also mean that they are using a fake name.
Follow your gut feeling. If you feel like somebody is trying to scam you then chances are you are right.