Some time ago, I moved across the country from Michigan to Texas. In the process of moving, I started to liquidate a lot of the stuff that I had at the old apartment, including numerous computers and electronic equipment. So I went onto several selling sites to get rid of some of this stuff, and what I discovered is that the trolling scammers are practically everywhere now, and they’re pretty bold and not all that concerned with being caught either. So, having been through a bunch of attempts to scam me, I thought I would point out some warning signs for those who might think that selling something is a good idea, and also make the mistake in believing that the majority of people who respond are actually people you can trust and not annoying asshats that are going to do everything possible to separate you from you money.
1. The Responder in a Hurry: This is usually someone who needs to take care of this transaction right now. Not tomorrow, or even in a couple of hours. He or she needs to take care of this right now and you should understand his or her need for speed because of some really badly doctored rationale that even my college student slackers know better than to attempt to try to get over with me using. One standard one I received no less than a half dozen times was “my son (or whatever relation) is in Iraq/Afghanistan and I’m buying this for him/her, and because he needs it quickly, I need to take care of this right now. Now, if this was the only situation involved, it might be somewhat believable, but quite often it’s coupled with one of the other examples as well.
2. The Paypal Only Guy: One of my stipulations in my ads is that the deal must be carried out in person, and in cash. I don’t take checks (people will offer to pay with a check) or any other weird currency, including “can I trade you something for your item?” Look, if I wanted something else I couldn’t sell, I’d take you up on your offer, but as I’m trying to sell something to get it out of my house, I don’t want your junk, too! Anyway, the paypal guy is the one that says that he has no way of paying you in cash (usually he’s “out of town”) so it has to be done over Paypal. I turn these down each and every time as almost always they are coupled with another one of the scamming activities, which tells me that there’s a lot more going on than just a legitimate exchange over Paypal. I haven’t figured out the nuances of what they do to scam you through that process but as so many scammers have offered to pay me over Paypal, I’m extremely apprehensive. Now, I’ve done business using Paypal in the past, but it’s usually with legitimate businesses or entities I trust, so there’s that.
3. “I’m not local to you” guy: This is the most definite scammer of all the ones I keep running across. Years back, I was scammed by an Ebay buyer who did the infamous “I will send you the money through (name some nefarious process) and I need you to send it to me in some weird place that has no jurisdiction over legal matters, but I promise you it will be all okay.” Yeah, I’m kind of exaggerating about it, but you get the idea. Almost always this “offer” promises to send a few hundred dollars over the cost of the item (to handle my inconvenience) and things start to go downhill from there. Now, whenever someone says “I need you to send it to….” I respond, no, I don’t send anything anywhere. Sorry.
Those are the three main ways that I know a scam is involved. In addition to that, I thought I would mention one of the other problems that occurs with online selling in these matters, and that’s the concept of texting. I can’t tell you how many people have responded to my ads with a text, basically repeating exactly what I wrote in my ad (as if that’s a question somehow). Example: I type in “Selling a computer for $700. Call this number.” The text response is “Selling a computer for $700. Call this number.” Basically, it leaves me just staring at my phone thinking, did I just get contacted by one of those alien races that sends back messages of those they intercepted, convinced that this will lead to a future of conversation between two civilizations in the galaxy? What this has finally done to me is to pretty much give up on any instance that starts with someone who texted me. Almost always, anyone that continues the conversation and says he or she is interested, it ends up in a flake situation where I’m waiting somewhere for the person to show up, and they never do. And I never hear from them again. Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I say “call me when you reach the location” mainly because I don’t believe they’re going to show up to begin with.
In addition, I write in EVERY ad, “do not text me as those do not get answered” and almost always they text me as the only way to contact me. I almost threw my phone into a wall the last time because I stupidly wrote back and said, “DO NOT TEXT ME. PHONE ME INSTEAD.” So he texted me as a response. I ignored him after that, even though he wrote a few times asking for more information.
So, those are my thoughts on scammers. It’s almost made it not worth selling anything online any more. However, a few people were pretty good, but when you’re inundated by stupid scammers, it sometimes makes the whole thing not worth it.