The rising popularity of exclusive sites and apps you can use to buy and sell things online is causing safety concerns across the country. According to a former police detective, every time you’re dealing with strangers when making transactions, your risk level of something going wrong often goes up. Doing business online is the new marketplace.
While local buying and selling networks provide an easy and fast way to make cash by posting an item you want to sell and then waiting for a good offer, both sellers and buyers should know what safety measures to take to avoid being scammed or getting into any trouble. Here are a few safety tips you should consider:
Verify What is Being Sold
Sometimes, there is often a possibility that items being sold on local buying and selling networks may be stolen or not genuine. How do you protect yourself from this? For instance, if you’re buying a second hand item like a phone, you should make use of a simple tool like an IMEI checker to verify if the smartphone you’re being sold is stolen or not.
Get actual pictures of the item to get a general idea of what you’re buying and associated documents if need. Also, get as many details as you can about the item being sold. Just because you’re buying locally, doesn’t mean you can’t be scammed. Verify the item even after meeting up with the seller and only pay after you’re satisfied with the item.
Be a Smart Seller/Buyer
Considering that most transactions in local buying and selling networks are conducted in-person, you have to be a smart seller or buyer. Although the majority of internet users have good intentions, it’s good to be aware of some smart safety tips to protect yourself and decrease the risk of crime.
- Use a cell phone, so your number can’t be traced to your home
- When meeting someone, insist on meeting in a busy public location during the day
- Never meet at your home or someone else’s home
- Let your friends or a family member know the time, location and nature of the meeting
- Don’t use your personal email when doing business
- Disable your caller ID when calling the seller or buyer on your phone
- Don’t offer to pay in cash and don’t accept cash
- If it’s a high-priced transaction, consider doing it in a bank
Avoid Using Unsecured Wi-Fi Connections
With increasing cases of online frauds, it’s important that both sellers and buyers take necessary precautions when utilizing local buying and selling networks. Using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection increases the risk of falling victim to cybercriminals. If you’re paying for an item online, make sure you’re using a secured network and ensure the network site has extra security measures to protect both sellers and buyers.
Don’t Reveal Your Personal Information
When conducting business transactions through local buying or selling networks, you should never reveal your personal information. Never reveal your home address, banking information or Social Security numbers. Cybercriminals are mining for personal information online and using the private data to conduct fraudulent activities, so be careful with the details you share.
Local buying and selling networks like Facebook’s Local Market are gaining more popularity among today’s online community. Social selling is no doubt becoming one of the biggest drivers of growth for small businesses and even individuals selling items to ready buyers locally.
Reading online feedback is one of the best ways to verify if a seller is legitimate. If you’re a buyer, you’ll want to look for positive feedback from many satisfied customers. Serious sellers know that their reputation relies on great customer service and satisfaction. For sellers, being cautious when dealing with buyers is important to avoid potential risks of fraud.