When selling online, you are bound to run into some shady characters. If you receive an e-mail look for these signs for possible fraud.
They are not specific about the item you are selling.
For example: I recently posted custom drawing services. The customer would send in a picture of their home, boat, pet, etc… and receive a custom Pen and Ink drawing plus a cd a scan of the image for holiday cards and such. I posted 2 sample illustrations on craigslist. An “interested” customer contacted me via email and asked me if my drawings were still available to buy. I responded that they were not for sale and samples of the custom work I was providing. In the follow-up email the customer asked me to take down my post because he would be purchasing my drawing and would I please give him some personal information so he can send me a money order. I promptly responded that I only accept Paypal and ended our exchange. Which leads me to my second sign to look out for.
They ask for personal information.
As the seller, YOU should be getting the personal information for the sale. Unless the customer will be picking up the item, there is no need to give out your home address. You should only give that out if the item needs to be returned. If you are a serious seller you may want to set up a P.O. box for returns. If you are using an auction site, check their policies on using P.O. boxes. If there is any other reason you need to give a customer personal information, take all precautions. Hacker’s and scam artists can access a lot with very little information these days.
Strange wording in their emails.
As with my experience, most predators will use very general and vague wording. A lot of wording can be “off” or feel like “broken english”. This could be an overseas predator. The wording is usually very polite and formal or sound like “the queen’s english”. Take note of this kind of writing style, especially if they claim they are from the States.
Trust your instincts. It’s your most effective Firewall!
If it doesn’t feel right, walk away. Don’t try to rationalize the situation. If your first gut reaction is that you’re dealing with a fraud than end any correspondences with the person. There will be other customers and your personal identity is more important than compromising it for a sale online.
- Do not take personal checks.
- Only accept credit cards and PayPal
- If you choose to use a shopping cart service, be sure to familiarize yourself with their privacy and identity protection
Please share your experience with online predators or your best tips for selling online.
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This next tip may seem obvious to some but it still irk’s me to no end. I was researching information on Facebook and privacy, but I kept pulling up information from Google search that’s completely outdated. I’ve gotten some articles that go as far back as 2006. In the lightning fast world of Social Media that is equal to a century, this is unacceptable. Google needs to add a sub-menu that archives news prior to the present year. I don’t know how that would work but they could limit it to articles, then take it one step further and limit it to articles that are not evergreen. There are so many abandoned sites and blogs holding up traffic on the information super highway, we’re finding it impossible to reach our destination.
So my quick tip is to always add the year in your search engine if you want the most current information. Hopefully, it will bring you as close to the present date as possible.
*note my tips are always dated : )
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