How do you know if someone is legit on OfferUp?

Have you ever made purchases on OfferUp? Do you worry about not getting the item you paid for or being the victim of a scam? We cover seven common OfferUp scams and how to avoid th

How do you know if someone is legit on OfferUp?

Have you ever made purchases on OfferUp? Do you worry about not getting the item you paid for or being the victim of a scam? We cover seven common OfferUp scams and how to avoid them!Contents:What is OfferUp?What kind of common OfferUp scams should I be watching for?What are some red flags that I might be dealing with a scammer?How do I ensure a safe transaction in person?

What is OfferUp?

OfferUp is an online sales platform created in 2011 that allows you to buy or sell items. There are no commissions or fees to list items for sale. Sellers can pay a fee to promote their items  to move it to the top of search results to make it more visible to potential buyers.

OfferUp is often compared to Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as a way to network for local sales.

What kind of common OfferUp scams should I be watching for?

Any exchange of money is at risk for scammer attempts to steal either your funds or your items  and unfortunately there are some common OfferUp scams to keep an eye out for.

Some common OfferUp scams include: fake payments, fake mirror websites, fake accounts, demanding untraceable payment methods, code verification scams, and fake fees. Well cover them all below as well as some red flags that might help you identify them.

Fake check or cash

You post your Xbox for sale and you get a message agreeing to buy it for your asking price. Voila! Youve made a sale!

You meet to hand over the gaming system and collect your money, only to find out later that you were given a fake check or even fake cash!

You can avoid one of the most common OfferUp scams by simply only agreeing to cash. You can invest in a money marker that can alert to counterfeit cash bills. You can also be aware of anti-counterfeit features of bills greater than $5 (as of 1999) that have color-changing ink once tilted.

Another option is to do the transaction electronically either prior or in-person. You can use payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, Square readers, and more. You can confirm the transaction is complete before the buyer leaves with the item!

Fake mirror website

Another one of the common OfferUp scams involves phishing. The scammer sets up a fake website with a similar layout and logos as the legitimate OfferUp site. The scammer posts phishing links on their sale ad and the links take you to their site to make payment. There is no protection to the buyer through their website and payment processing, so youre out your money since they wont send the item they advertised.

A way to avoid these fraudulent sites is to never click on links outside of the original OfferUp website to complete your transaction. The legitimate websitehelps counter common OfferUp scams by offering purchase protection for your debit or credit cards if items are paid for directly in the original OfferUp app.

common OfferUp scams scammers
common OfferUp scams scammers

Fake account

Fake accounts are another one of the more common OfferUp scams. You can often spot them when you search for an item and notice multiple listings with the exact same photos with different seller names.

If a new account has zero feedback or transaction history, but has multiple of the same item listed, or an item listed that seems identical in photos to several other listings it may be a red flag! If a new account wants you to pay for the transaction upfront outside of OfferUp, it may be another red flag! Also note if an account has negative feedback and be aware of potential bad experiences that other buyers may have had.

The fake account scam tends to be common with listings for vehicles. If you search for a Ford Mustang and come across a dozen listings of the exact same vehicle in the exact same photos listed in multiple cities throughout the US, it most likely is a scam.

These scammers will often say that they are selling the vehicle for a friend or family member and offer to have a vehicle or big-ticket item shipped. Once they have money in hand, they move on to their next victim.

Paying by other means

Demanding payment via untraceable methods is another one of the common OfferUp scams. Sellers may insist that you send or bring payment in the form of certified check, gift cards, prepaid cards, or wire transfers. All of these ways do not offer buyer protection or a way to recoup your money if they do not provide your purchased item. As a buyer OR a seller, insist on cash (and verify its not counterfeit!) or confirmed electronic payment via the app.

Overpayment scam

The overpayment scam works by appealing to the idea of making a few extra dollars on your sale.

Say you have a $1,000 laptop for sale and you receive a message from a buyer who loves it and is offering full price PLUS $100 for shipping. You know it wont cost $100 to ship, but its nice to increase your profit for the extra effort.

In reality, youve fallen prey to one of the common OfferUp scams that convinces you to accept the risk of a bad check. Its only after youve shipped the laptop that the check bounces. To add salt in the wound, you have to pay fees for the bounced check!

If the offer seems a little too generous, it often is!

Additional shipping

OfferUp has links in the transaction process to allow for shipping. This is the only way to receive purchase protection for items that need to be shipped! Sellers insisting that an item has additional shipping charges are part of another one of the common OfferUp scams.

All shipping fees and options are stated on the OfferUp website. Sellers sending an invoice via another app to bill for additional fees are likely scammers and theres a good chance you wont see your money or your product!

Code verification scam

The code verification scam has been hitting many social media platforms, and is another one of the common OfferUp scams. Often the buyer or seller will claim that they need your cell phone number and need you to confirm a code for them to verify that you are real.

When you receive a Google Voice verification code on your phone, scammers can use that to create a Google voice number linked to you or hijack your phone! Sometimes they use it for identity theft or to create a new profile to scam others from. They may potentially be able to open new accounts or access your accounts with additional information!

A good rule of thumb is not to give your cell phone number out to unknown persons, do not include it with your listings, and do not send verification codes to potential buyers or sellers.

What are some red flags that I might be dealing with a scammer?

The old adage, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is applies to many online transactions! To help avoid some of the more common OfferUp scams; here are a few red flags to watch for:

  • Amazing deals on expensive items (a brand new iPhone for $20!)
  • Postings that only have manufacturer or stock photos
  • New account with zero history or transactions
  • Account with negative reviews
  • Links to purchase outside of original OfferUp website or app
  • Demand for payment in wire transfer, prepaid cards, certified check, etc.
  • Billing for additional fees or charges outside of OfferUp website or app

How do I ensure a safe transaction in person?

Now that you know how to avoid some common OfferUp scams online heres how you can help ensure a safe exchange if you choose to meet in person:

  • Bring a buddy!
  • Meet in a well-lit populated area, such as a local police department parking lot
  • Have a way to test electronics to ensure things work and are unlocked
  • Pay with cash or a traceable app with purchase protection
  • Be sure to select Goods and Services if paying with PayPal
  • Keep all correspondence and screenshots of communications and listings

We hope these tips help you have a great experience when purchasing items through OfferUp! We have many more resources for you to help avoid scams and save money!

Rachel Grayless

After 27 years in law enforcement and state Veterans Affairs agencies, I found myself working from home and looking for dollar-stretching resources. Government programs can be notoriously difficult to navigate and I'm happy to lend my experiences to make this easier for others!

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