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 a new 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 the buyer for a product, then sends a check to the seller telling them to use a portion of the check for the shipping and handling fees. The seller deposits the check but keeps getting multiple calls from the scammer. The calls demand that the seller sends the money to the scammer via MoneyGram and scares them into doing it. The seller agrees and sends all the money to the scammer, and their bank account gets overdrawn since the check was fake.
Code Verification Scam
A scammer pretends to be the buyer and tries to get the seller’s phone number. The excuse they use to get this is to pretend to need a code verified in order to verify that they are a real person. Once they get the seller’s phone number, they try to complete the purchase off of the app so that they can send the seller a fraudulent check. 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 its a fake check and it now becomes the seller’s responsibility to pay them the money back.
Rush Sales Scam
A scammer pretends to be a salesperson in a hurry to sell a particular item due to some clever excuse they come up with. They tell you that you need to pay for rush shipping but 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 doesn’t really belong to them.
Multiple Postings Scam
A scammer makes multiple accounts on OfferUp, telling people to email them about the listed purchase versus just making the purchase on the app. Within each account, the same email is listed as the point of contact, showing that the same ring of scammers runs each account. Once people email them, they ask for a wire transfer or a gift card purchase, leaving the money given to them untraceable.
Wants to Communicate Outside the App
Any buyer or seller that wants 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 and if you don’t get the item, you could easily report that back to 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 or a scammer coming up with an excuse as to how it got lost. 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. Don’t wire money separately, send it via 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.
- 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. Then you find out that the check is fake from your bank and you have to pay back the money you took from them.
- 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.