Safety for online buyers and sellers

If you’re buying or selling second-hand items online, you have to be careful these days. While there are many legitimate offers out there, there are definitely some opportunists. There are so many different scams out there – whether people are looking scam you out of your money or are trying to scam you out of what you’re selling.

That’s why we’ve got some tips on how to protect yourself when buying and selling second-hand items online – whether it’s private car sales or upcycled living room furniture. The last thing you want is to end up with being at the losing end of an online scam.

Look up the seller/buyer online

Most people who buy or sell products online are going to be generally active online. They may have profiles on other second-hand sites or, at very least, they’ll have active social media accounts. Do a bit of research. If they are scam artists you may be lucky and find that other people have dealt with them before and have put up warnings.

Try go through community second-hand groups on Facebook

If you’re looking to sell some second-hand items, these groups are a safe way to do it. For the most part these people will have been active on the community group and you may even recognise them from being out and about. Some group admins insist on checking out profiles before allowing people to join the group. Another great thing about these groups is that they’re usually based in certain areas, meaning that you don’t have to go far to buy, sell or swap your item. Buying and selling second-hand items on Facebook is pretty easy.

Look out for generic photographs

Whether you’re buying through Facebook or Gumtree, you should make sure to avoid any ads that use generic pictures instead of the photographs of the real item for sale. Using a stock image instead of the real thing is a warning sign that the selling is scamming you – either the real item has something wrong with it or it doesn’t exist at all.

Meet in a public place

If you’re buying or selling an item (even through an online group), you should do the transaction in a public place. Don’t invite people to your home or go out to their home. If they ask to come to you, they may be casing your home to see if you have any valuables. Meet in a familiar public place where you know that there will be a lot of people. Also, tell a friend where you’re going and who it is that you’re meeting.

Mostly you’ll find that people buying and selling items online are just ordinary people like you. But you should rather be safe than sorry. In this world you cannot afford to take chances when it comes to personal safety.