The decision to use an online service to buy and sell peer-to-peer has become a tricky matter. The reasons for selling vary from moving, a need to reduce some clutter or a the need for cash. At first thought many choose Craigslist, the most familiar option that has been around for years. But while it may be the old standard, it isn’t necessarily a simple solution. The following case offers some insight on the many hurdles you may encounter when seeking to engage in a sales transaction with anonymous buyers.
Those who have used craigslist’s classifieds website are familiar with the unconventional ‘welcome message’ that arrives in your inbox confirming a new listing is ready to be activated, and also the warnings due to the many scammers who use the service as a host.
The following emails are from a recent experience using craigslist’s peer-to-peer online classifieds. After listing an item for sale, some unexpected email exchanges followed that included a prompt request from an interested buyer, two phone numbers and a story by a wife seeking to purchase a gift for her spouse.
The less experienced online shopper may think this is a normal message, when it is actually a phishing scam. Initially, the first response did not suggest fraud, but after three more emails were conveyed, and the presumed buyer requested the link to the seller’s PayPal account to be emailed asap, it became clear. Did this buyer truly intend to send $1,000 and a delivery truck without even speaking to the seller, seeing the items or asking the location of the items? To confirm my suspicions, I googled the phone number to see what came up and it was confirmed to be a phishing scam. Surprisingly a second phishing email was received two days later under the guise of a member of the military with a similar message. This version was from a so-called marine engineer:
Intending to reach holiday bargain hunters, this item was added to craigslist the week leading up to Thanksgiving. But in response, all but one of the lengthy dialogues received have been a version of the same scam, each stating a variant of these questions; Are you the first owner of it? Why are you selling it? When have you been using it?. Additionally, each email stated the lack of availability to speak or meet, but they would send a ‘pick-up agent’ once I provide my PayPal link. That week, the number of buyers who sent a phishing request in this format reached double digits. The only true buyers were very few and were requesting a bigger discount. Earlier this year Huffington Post offered some tips for shoppers in the following post, Craigslist Scams: Tips To Avoid Losing Money. The list of tips may cause you to rethink your decision to use the craigslist website altogether.
It is common nowadays for websites to use Facebook integration as a fast and secure way for users to sign in. This integration lowers the barrier to creating an account by enabling a 1-click process for new users, seamless logins for existing users while enabling users to quickly share updates to their profile from other sites. Popular media website CNN uses the service to enable users to sign up with a profile, and the soon-to-launch social entertainment platform Myspace is using Facebook’s sign-in to help users join the relaunch. Some well-known websites that also use Facebook identities include Spotify, Vimeo, Airbnb and Pinterest.
Tradepal, a trusted online marketplace, connects users through Facebook authentication while providing each user with total control of their connections and permissions. Tradepal’s trusted website integrates real identities upon sign-up, and makes it social by allowing users to recommend their listings, invite friends to be part of their network and also block unwelcome users. Real profiles allow users to provide information that enhances the user experience.
Users simply login using their Facebook credentials to save time and add safety. In one-click a Tradepal profile is created and the user can begin listing items, discovering others’ items and begin finding deals. While users can buy, sell and giveaway, they can also barter item for item. Tradepal’s mission is to create a safer experience that inspires consumers to reuse and recommerce with friends and network connections, rather than storing items they no longer need. By leveraging its’ trusted marketplace and integrating user identities, both buyers and sellers can determine who they are potentially trading with, and also identify mutual friends on the website prior to transacting. The use of the chat and messaging features enables users to safely communicate within the website when negotiating transactions. This safeguards the exchange of private information until a deal is struck.
Tradepal encourages formerly frustrated users to return to the online marketplace and to remove their unused items from storage facilities and to come back to the fun of peer-to-peer commerce. While free listing is one of the perks of online classifieds, personal safety is a must. Tradepal understands that scams and fraud can cause consumers to abandon peer-to-peer marketplaces, but by added real identities a layer of safety can be added. Tradepal attributes real identities as the primary deterrant of fraud as users take additional care when trading with others. With the additional safety features, trusted marketplaces like Tradepal have been embraced by users.