Online Classifieds are one of the best platforms to buy and sell products, but are they really safe? Do you know apart from genuine customers and sellers there are big spammers spying at your activities on those sites and I am one of the victims of those spammers. Let me tell you the story.
A few months ago I listed my SLR Camera on one of the popular online classifieds. I won’t reveal the site’s name to spoil its reputation, but that doesn’t matter because spammers will be present on any other places. So I got this email from a customer who wanted to buy my product for Rs. 12,000 (product + courier cost). This contact person was from Canada, named Lisa Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org), and she requested me to deliver the product to Ibadan, Nigeria to a person named Samuel James. I don’t want to hide the name and actual email id of the person so that you can stay alert of them. At first she sounded a genuine person so the question of getting scammed didn’t strike my mind. So according to her instructions I agreed to courier the product in return of which she asked the tracking code and sent me a notification email of getting the funds pending transfer from Royal Bank of Canada.
After a certain period, I contacted by courier agency about the delivery and they replied that the consignee is responding anyway to them. Then I emailed Lisa and she too didn’t seem to co-operate with me properly and asked me to contact the courier agency again. On the other hand, my funds were still on pending transfer. In regard to that, I contacted Royal Bank of Canada with the email and they responded that no such emails are being sent on behalf of them.
That moment was like a storm going on inside my head and I was clueless what to do. A total scam deal it was. This scammer Lisa Johnson later refused that she don’t need the Camera and ordered me to send a digital camera or a Nokia E5.
Due to this sheer carelessness I lost my camera as well as my money. If you are opting to buy or sell products from any of the online classifieds please be very careful of scammers like Lisa Johnson and do not respond to emails that you are suspicious about.
- Deal with people whom you know or are familiar with.
- Avoid suspicious emails.
- Meet the buyer/seller physically before you deal with your product.
- In case of land/real estate deals, confirm their identity with photo ID proof and address proof.
- Confirm the payment before selling the product. For buyers, check the product’s originality before paying.
- Accept only cash payments if possible. In case of heavy payments accept wire transfer; avoid check payments as far as you can.
If you have any such experiences with scammers please share with us in the comments section.