The sites for online classifieds are also full of scammers – and not too short. Using small tricks, they take their victims for money and goods. How to protect yourself from this? […]
In the past, the supermarket pinboard was used, today there are online classifieds. Whether unused building material or a used TV: almost everything will find buyers there. But fraudsters have long since discovered the classifieds and are taking buyers and sellers for their money.
“These are larger criminal associations that rip off en masse,” says Declan Hiscox of the Austrian information platform Watchlist Internet. Even the police warn of a special scam: the trick with PayPal “Family & Friends”.
Because with this PayPal variant, sending money is free of charge, and it is enough to have an e-mail address to which the money should be sent. There is no security. If the buyer notices that the goods do not arrive at him, the account of the fraudsters has long been dissolved.
Basically, buyers should always be careful if a purchase should or can only be processed in advance, Julia Rehberg from the consumer center Hamburg advises. “Although you also have legal claims when making a purchase via online classifieds, if the goods do not match the description or have not been sent at all. But it is often difficult to enforce them.“ It is often particularly dubious if payments are to go abroad.
“Some scammers ask to transfer the purchase amount in advance using a payment transfer service, ” warns Declan Hiscox. Sometimes the fraudsters even used forwarding companies as supposedly independent trustees, but the company was usually invented.
Also careful should be who acts as a seller on online classifieds markets themselves. The so-called triangle trick is particularly difficult to see through.
In this scam, as a seller, you put something online, for example, a smartphone. The scammer signals interest. At the same time, he himself also hires the identical smartphone for sale. If a buyer reports to the fraudster, he gives them the account details of the original seller. As soon as the money has been received by the seller, he sends the goods – but to the fraudster.
Here, too, PayPal is often used as a means of payment. Then the seller remains sitting on the damage if the buyer protection takes effect. If the buyer has paid by bank transfer, he will not get his money back, provided that the seller can prove the shipment.
Hiscox is also aware of cases in which fraudsters have sent fake payment confirmations in order to get the seller to send the goods. “Sellers should always check whether the money has really been received in their account before they send something. And don’t be intimidated by threats!“
“The safest way is to always handle a business via online classifieds in person and in cash,” advises consumer advocate Rehberg. This way you can avoid all the scams. Especially more valuable goods should be picked up by buyers in person, preferably together with a witness. And anyone who sells something should always hand over the goods only to the actual buyer.
The seller should show the identity card to himself from one of this sent representatives and have the receipt of the goods acknowledged.