Six Steps To Help Avoid Scammers When Selling Items Online


So you have some items you no longer need. Or want. Or that you can’t stand looking at for even one…more…day. Online selling seems like the best option for getting your items out there without getting stressed while also netting some cash through outlets like Etsy, Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, and more.

There’s a world of options at your fingertips but seller beware: There are plenty of scammers on hand as well. Keep the following six steps in mind when you put your items up for sale and you’ll stand to make the most profit while avoiding the most common pitfalls of online selling.

Six steps for making a bundle and avoiding a swindle!

1. Always meet buyers in a public place

You’re selling personal items but that doesn’t mean the transaction needs to take place in private. For your own personal safety and to ensure that the deal goes as planned, meet your buyer in a shopping center parking lot, at a local coffee shop, a retail common area, or any public space where plenty of people are passing by. After all, you’re meeting up with a total stranger — and it’s never a good idea to do that totally alone.

2. Have evidence of the item’s condition

It happens often: an item is sold in mint condition, the buyer contacts the seller at a later date and says that the item doesn’t work and demands a refund. The upshot: you end up losing a mint. Before the sale, take a few minutes to record serial numbers, date of purchase, assessment of the item’s condition, etc. Product photos are also a good idea — a picture tells a thousand words and can save countless hours of aggravation.

3. Don’t accept big bills for cash transactions

Ten to one there’s a scammer out there waiting to hand a seller a $50 or $100 bill that’s a fake then hit the road with a fistful of change and the item of choice. You’re left with a worthless bill and without an item to sell to a legitimate buyer. Accepting only small bills is a good idea but having a fake note detector kit (available for under $10) on hand is an even better one.

4. Be wary of partial refund requests

Be on the lookout for refund requests in your inbox: A buyer emails you saying the item you sold them isn’t working or is missing parts (and you know that neither is true); they then request a partial refund from you to make things right. Ask for photo evidence of the damage or the problem, or offer to refund their purchase after they return the item to you.

5. Avoid buyers with brand new accounts

In the world of online buying and selling, it’s nothing new: Some new account holders are scammers and repeat offenders. They buy items, ask for refunds for “damaged” pieces or an “item not as described”, and engage in ongoing, fraudulent behavior until they’re banned by an outlet such as eBay. There’s nothing to stop them from opening a new account, however, and getting sellers to unwittingly buy into the scam.

6. Don’t ship to an address other than the one on file

If you set up an account on an online selling site with a shipping and billing address, stick to that address when selling an item. Decline requests for shipment to a different location: The account in question may have been hacked or you could be asked for a refund because the item was not delivered to the address on file.


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Ariana Aufiero

I am an extremely verbal person who excels (and profusely enjoys) writing and/or talking about anything and everything! I love writing... Did I mention that?

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