Article Type: Online Business
OLX/Gumtree/Junkmail or similar sites advice to potential buyers/sellers.
The golden rule is to always be highly suspicious. Many of the ads on this site are placed by scammers who live off scamming. Many of the interested ‘buyers’ are conman waiting for your slight mistake to run off with your valuables.
These scammers are aware that the police are not even aware of them ( I reported a case to a Police ‘captain’ who had never heard of OLX and just try and inform a cop what WIFI is ), and the few cops that are informed don’t give a damn and are really irritated that you’ve given them extra paperwork. So if you lose your money or item don’t expect any investigating or actual police work to be done, you’ll be lucky if the police even pretend to sympathise.
Meet in a public place. This is no guarantee that the scammer or conman won’t try and steal from you. These guys have refined their ‘art’ and since the SAPS are not going to investigate anyway, they are extremely daring. Remember this is South Africa, even if you in the middle of a mall surrounded by cameras and other companies’ security guards, they won’t assist you as its none of their ‘business’. Scammers know it is a nightmare of red tape to access the video footage of malls and most people will just move on after their loss.
If you are buying, don’t carry cash with you. As far as possible try and meet close to an ATM of your choice. DON’T BUY IF THE GUY PROMISES DELIVERY AFTER EFT OR DEPOSIT, THOSE GOODS DO NOT EXIST.
If you are selling, accept only cash and check if the cash is REAL. Don’t just check the first or last note, take out notes randomly for checking. EFT, cheques and Shoprite payments are the MO of fraudsters. Remember the banks are not gonna assist you in any way afterwards.
Google the name, phone number and email of the potential buyer/seller. People without a Facebook account, Twitter, not registered on Whatsapp, Viber, Mxit are not easy to find nowadays. This applies especially if the person wants to buy/sell a smartphone, tablet, Playstaion or computer. Ask if the person is employed, find out the name of the company and confirm with the company if the person is actually employed by them. On meeting check their drivers licence or I.D actually corresponds to the name they gave you. Be highly suspicious of cell numbers that start with 06…… as these sims are bought daily and quickly disposed of after the crime. One wonders what the point of RICA was?
Do not meet alone. Scammers work in groups and it helps to have someone nearby that can assist you. The person accompanying you can also just observe transaction from a distance without actually mentioning they are with you.
Do not be rushed into selling or buying. Scammers are always in a hurry and want to buy today and are ‘willing’ to pay the full price. Honest people that really want to sell/buy are going to take their time even if it means a bit of time adjustment.
If you are buying an expensive smartphone, be aware of fakes. Do some research online and on YouTube there are many videos showing how to spot a fake or clone. If you are buying a Samsung Galaxy install an app called ‘genuine galaxy’ which will tell you if the phone is genuine or not. Also be aware of stolen phones. Stolen phones cannot make calls except the emergency calls. If it’s a contract phone there’s always the risk that the seller might default on their monthly payments resulting in the network blacklisting the phone.
If you are selling a smartphone, do not let it out of your sight as the scammer will swop it for a dummy in the blink of an eye. When he runs off with your smartphone and you are fortunate enough to get hold of him, by the time you’ve caught him he’s already passed it onto his accomplices who are long gone. Good luck explaining to the cops that someone stole your phone after you’ve placed it in his hand, they’ll be the first to taunt you.
Remember that by using this site, you are placing yourself in a very dangerous spot. You have either basically advertised the fact that you own a valuable item to the whole world including the host of Criminals hovering around this site or you’ve alerted a career scammer to the fact that you have money by showing interest in his ad.
DO not pay for goods via EFT, deposit or Shoprite before delivery. They do not exist. If you’ve been conned into doing this, do not pay any more money on “shipping costs, insurance, delivery fees etc”. Get a grip and well, MOVE ON.
If your item has been stolen, don’t pay the thieves any ‘return fees’ via EFT, deposit or Shoprite. It’s never coming back.
Anti-theft apps on your phone is designed to remove sensitive data from your smartphone, it will not help you retrieve your actual phone inspite of all the claims of the developers. A simple hard reset of your android device removes all apps and passwords so you will never see your smartphone again.( I think Apple sorted that out with the IOs8 kill switch.)Trust me, I had my phone swopped right inside a Standard Bank inside a mall where the guy needed to take out the money because of ‘daily limits’. After moving towards the counter, he simply vanished.
Regarding the SAPS, they are really the force that enables crime as their lack of interest just makes the criminals bolder. After stealing my phone, the criminal still answers his phone, his picture is available on the video footage of the bank and mall and his fingerprints are on the dummy he swopped. Think the police have even requested to see the evidence of the crime? They were too busy deciding what takeout to buy and deriding another victim of domestic violence (poor woman was bleeding all over her face) for coming to the police station to report the crime instead of going to the hospital. What really made me become despondent was the total absence of empathy (even by the female captain) and the jeering and laughter of her male colleagues at this woman who was too ‘stupid’ to leave the only breadwinner in her family. Sorry for the rant, just need to get that off my chest.
Lastly, this list is based on my limited experiences as I recently started buying and selling to supplement my relatively low income. As such, there are many more points that can be added and a lot of room for improvement. I welcome any criticism, suggestions or tales of your experiences.
Read: Top 10 Free Classifieds Sites in South Africa
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