The convenience of online classifieds services such as Gumtree, eBay and similar online classified websites makes for many win-win scenarios. These examples of disruptive technology mean the traditional weekend garage sale is all but a thing of the past.
Online classifieds aren’t without their risks to both sellers and buyers. It seems like every month there’s a new story about someone being robbed or assaulted after a Gumtree-arranged meet up goes sour.
Recently it was a Melbourne crime gang luring people with online postings of mobile phones for sale. Last year we heard about a terrorist handbook suggesting readers should kill people and use their classifieds services. In the US, Craigslist is synonymous with dodgy-dealings to the point that it has severely tarnished their reputation.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying and selling goods online.
- Focus on your safety – First and foremost, consider your personal safety first and bear in mind that online scams and attempts to lure buyers do happen, so be careful. Being aware of potential danger is the first step to avoiding it.
- Avoid pick-ups from your home – If you’re selling something online, think about whether you want a stranger coming into your house to collect the goods. If you’re willing to take on some risk, have the buyer come inside. If not, meet the buyer at the corner of the block, this way you stay in plain sight and they don’t find out your exact home address.
- Be clear about the payment – There’s no need for an argument, discuss payment and terms before the meeting. Let the seller know you’re bringing cash with you and you’d like to check out the item physically before making a final purchase. Clear communication is key when it comes to safe buying and selling via the web.
- Take precautions about the way you want to be paid – Cash is simple. Online transfers are good, but there have been cases of people driving off with a car then reversing an online transaction a few blocks down the road.
- Take a friend, meet during daylight hours – Don’t ask for trouble by meeting at night and alone – take a friend and do the transaction during the daylight hours so you can try and avoid any issues.
- Check the seller’s reviews online – Most sites have user review features, make use of them as needed. If you’re happy with dealings you had with someone, leave a review and pass on some goodwill, a short message can go a long way.
- Be wary of links in online postings for cyber security threats – Viruses and phishing scams aren’t going away. What you think might be a detailed picture of used fitness equipment may be something more sinister.
Thieves often use classifieds sites to sell smartphones online. But before making a purchase, have a look at http://www.imeipro.info/; this valuable tool is a very simple way to see if a phone has been blacklisted. Remember, if something’s too cheap, it’s probably stolen.
If something seems a little suspicious, if the seller only wants to accept strange payment methods or meet with you in a dark alley, perhaps you should look for someone else to buy from.
For further information regarding all manner of current security issues and assistance in mitigating them, please do not hestitate to contact Agilient.
The Agilient Team