As some of you may know, I am a big fan of selling online; especially venues such as Half.com, Craigslist, and eBay. The ability to sell and purchase online opens more possibilities for everyone; however, there is an opportunity that is opened that most may not be aware of: that being the opportunity to scam somebody. The best way that I can help explain what I mean is through an example, which just recently happened to me.
This Black Friday, I ended impulse buying an HDTV (at a great price) with every intention on selling it. One of the first things I did when I got home was write up a description to post on Craigslist. After I had my write up, I went online to find some of the TV’s specs and a nice picture to post with it. As always, I put my Craigslist ad up and setup an e-mail filter to make sure I won’t miss an offer.
About an hour went by after posting my ad, and I had an potential offer, a buyer that wanted some more details. Like always I sent over a more detailed description, and waited for a response. To my surprise, I found a buyer that didn’t even negoitiate; he was going to pay asking price. But here’s where the twist came in, he wanted to send over a carrier service to drop off a certified bank check and to pick up the television.
This is when the red light should be going off!!! This is a scam, they are going to send me a bogus certified check; furthermore, they are going to have a third party pick up the TV. Of course I did not fall for this, but some less seasoned online sellers may have taken this bait.
As a rule of thumb, don’t trust anyone that you are selling to online. Always take extra precautions when dealing with online transactions. When using sites like eBay, you are more protected; but with a site like Craigslist, it is at your own risk. Furthermore, if you use Craigslist and intend on having the buyer pick the item up at your home: be aware that some potential buyers may be looking to check out your home this holiday season instead of purchasing what you have for sale. Use caution online, and avoid falling victim to a scam.