When selling online, watch for these signs

It almost that time of year when you’re ready to get a jump start on spring cleaning. Your first instinct might be to sell some of your once prized possessions to clear out the clutter. These days it’s so easy to take a quick picture and sell our belongings on an online website. But the great feeling of purging can soon disappear if a scammer contacts you.

Better Business Bureau Northwest &Pacific offers these tips for safely selling your stuff online.

First, be sure to limit personal information when posting photos and descriptions online. It’s often best to utilize the email service offered by the website you are using to mask your identity, rather than your personal email. Make sure the photo you use doesn’t contain personal details about you, such as what you own or where you live. The key is to make sure what you are selling is the only thing in the photo.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, online transactions require extra attention to avoid scams. A common scam we hear about is the “overpayment” con. This occurs when scammers pretend to purchase an item only to send you a bogus check and ask you to refund the “accidental” overpayment. In other cases, the scammer will pretend to be a legitimate online seller but never deliver the goods.

When selling or buying anything online to get as much information from the person as possible, including a phone number. If that person won’t give you a phone number or won’t speak to you on the phone you, it’s best to find someone else to do business with.

When it is time to meet to make the transaction, meet in a safe public place. Also, if you ever feel unsafe in any situation is it best to back out, the item is not worth your wellbeing.

When purchasing an item it is best to avoid wire service payments, mailed cashier’s checks or money orders because they can often be fake.

And remember, if the deal seems too good to be true — it probably is. But if for some unfortunate reason you are scammed, you’re advised to report it to local police and the company you made the transaction through. You can also report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker to help warn others of a scammer doing business in your area.

Jeremy Johnson is the eastern Idaho marketplace manager for Better Business Bureau, serving the Northwest and Pacific. Contact her at by emailingjeremy.johnson@thebbb.org.


Jeremy Johnson is the eastern Idaho marketplace manager for Better Business Bureau, serving the Northwest and Pacific. Contact her at by emailingjeremy.johnson@thebbb.org.


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