Stay safe from scams when selling online

Online scams

If you are selling a high-value item online - whether it is a car on eBay or a truck here on - then you need to be alert to potential scams.

Some of these scams involve the use of payment services such as PayPal. Although these services are a very popular and secure way to make payment, they are known to figure in what are called 'overpayment scams'.

Here, the buyer makes payment but for some spurious reason 'accidentally' overpays the seller. They then ask the seller to pay back the difference. Once the seller has done that, the original payment evaporates. Perhaps it was made with a stolen credit card, or perhaps the fraudster faked the receipt of payment and never transferred the money at all. There are many variations. 

But in all cases, the seller is left out of pocket. Sometimes they are left without their goods too.

The good news is that a little bit of awareness can help you spot and avoid scams like these. So here are's tips for staying safe:

  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A buyer who offers to pay full price without any questions or negotiation should ring alarm bells.
  • Be wary of buyers that only communicate over email and refuse to speak on the phone at all. They may give a dubious reason like 'they are not allowed to take calls at work'.
  • If a buyer asks for payment for any reason (either to cover fees or in the case of an 'overpayment'), then this is probably a scam.
  • Make sure that any emails from your payment service - PayPal for example - are genuine. If in doubt, log in to the service (not via a link on the email) and check for yourself that payment has been received.

Still not sure what to look out for? Here is an example of a scam email that a seller received recently. Happily, because of their common sense and the vigilance of the CM sales team, the scam was avoided.

Thanks for getting back to me,am at work and calls are not allowed thats why i am contacting u via email,I am OK with your asking price and if you dont mind, I can only pay through PayPal at the moment due to my work and pickup agent is avail to come and pick it up after payment made,all i need is the email u use in setting it up and ur name with your lowest price so that i can make the payment and u will be notify by paypal as soon as am done.arrangement for the picking follows  as paypal will update u on that after transaction completed.

Await your response,

Sent from my iPhone