When looking for things to purchase, or selling things you don’t need, we often don’t think about the potential hazards that could come from this. Scammers lurk online shopping sites, looking to scam either the seller or buyer out of their hard-earned cash. OfferUp is an app that people use to sell their items at a discounted price for buyers to purchase. Many scammers know about this app and find clever ways to trick people out of their money. Whether it’s pretending to be a seller or a buyer, many scammers are usually unnoticed by many people who fall for their scams. Here are some things to watch out for.
Types of OfferUp Scams
Fraudulent Check Scam
Scammers pretend to be buyers for a product. They send a fake check to the seller telling them to use a portion of the check for the shipping and handling fees. The seller deposits the check and keeps getting multiple calls from the scammer. The scammers demand that the seller sends the money to them via wire transfer.
If the seller refuses, the scammers threaten the seller which causes them to feel fearful. The seller agrees and sends all the money to the scammer. Because of this, their bank account gets overdrawn since the check was fake.
OfferUp Fake Websites
A scammer creates a fake website that looks exactly like OfferUp. They email phishing links and create fake advertisements that will lure victims onto these websites. Once the victim clicks on the links or advertisement, malware gets installed on their device without them knowing about it. Then, there are fake items on the site that trick victims into thinking they can purchase these items.
When they click on these items to purchase them, it takes them to an online payment form. The form asks them to pay using a wire transfer, gift card, or fake check. Once the victim enters this information in and fills out their personal information, a scammer can use it to steal their identities and drain their bank accounts.
Code Verification Scam
A scammer pretends to be the buyer and tries to get the seller’s phone number. They come up with an excuse that allows them to pretend they need to text them a code in order to verify that they are a real person. Once they get the seller’s phone number, they try to complete the purchase away from the app.
They do this so that they can send the seller a fraudulent check instead of paying on the app. With the fake check, they then ask you to deposit it and send them part of the money. However, the bank finds out within a few days that it’s a fake check which becomes the victim’s responsibility to pay them back.
Rushed Sales Scam
A scammer pretends to be a salesperson in a hurry to sell a particular item. They come up with some clever excuse as to why they need to sell their products in a hurry. They tell you that you need to pay for rushed shipping. In return, they promise that you’ll get the item super cheap since they don’t have time to negotiate the price.
Once you send over the money, the scammer blocks you without giving you the item in return. The item is usually fake and the picture was stolen from somewhere else.
Multiple Postings Scam
A scammer makes multiple accounts on OfferUp, then posts the same listing on multiple accounts. The scammer tells people to email them about the listed purchase versus just making the purchase on the app. Within each different account, the same email is listed as the point of contact.
This shows that the same ring of scammers runs each account. Once people email them, they ask for a wire transfer or a gift card purchase. They do this so that the money trail is untraceable, making it nearly impossible for victims to get their money back.
DO NOT Communicate With Someone Outside the App
Any buyer or seller wanting to communicate with you outside the app is looking to scam you out of your money. All purchases should be made within the app so that your purchase is secure. That way if you don’t get the item you paid for, you can report that back to the app. By reporting the fake listing, the scammer’s account will be deleted from OfferUp.
How to Avoid OfferUp Scams
- Only purchase items that are local to you. The farther out you purchase something, the more risk you take of it not getting shipped to you. A scammer can easily come up with an excuse, claiming that it got lost in the mail. However, if you purchase locally you can meet up with the person at a safe place and retrieve your item there.
- Only make purchases on the app. Do not wire money, send a gift card, or send/receive money via check. When you send a scammer money these three ways, the purchase isn’t traceable and it makes it near impossible for you to get your money back. If you receive a check, most of the time it will be a fraudulent check and you’ll end up having to owe the bank back all the money you have withdrawn. Only purchase something through the app’s secure payment form.
- Research the seller before making purchases from them. If the seller has multiple listings and great reviews, then I would trust them when it comes to purchasing their items. However, if you find an account with duplicate information, blurry images of their products, or they are instructing you to chat outside of the app, I would stray away from them.
- If someone is asking to pay extra for shipping fees, don’t trust it. This is usually part of the fraudulent check scam, where they tell you to deposit the check and send some of the money over to them. If you do this, you will most likely find out that the check is fake and you will be responsible for paying your bank back.
- Don’t give the buyer or seller any personal information about yourself. With this personal information, the scammer can commit identity theft and pretend to be you. By pretending to be you, they could contact financial institutions to apply for credit cards and hack into your bank account, stealing all your funds.
- Report any suspicious postings to the app. If you spot multiple of the same post or you spot something else fishy, report it back to the OfferUp team before anyone has the chance to be a victim of OfferUp scams.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You with OfferUp Scams!
If you feel like you’re a victim of OfferUp scams, Social Catfish is here to figure out who they really are! You can use our reverse search bar to verify their identity with any name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image that you have of them.