How to Spot an Online Scammer: Red Flags to Watch Out For

How to Spot an Online Scammer: Red Flags to Watch Out For

We know that falling prey to an online scammer is disheartening. The good news is that these could be avoidable, as long as you watch out for the signs. More often than not, the online scammers are predictable in their tricks and schemes. So here are some surefire ways to spot an online scammer and avoid a bogus transaction!


How to Spot a Thief

Thieves only want you for your money, without the intent of giving anything back. Ouch! They often try to build trust by sounding like a credible seller, later asking you to send money over through bank transfer, wire transfer, and the like. Thieves usually give a lot of excuses not to meet up because, of course, they don’t have the actual item!

Here are ways to spot them:

  • When you ask for additional pictures of the items, they can’t provide any.
  • When you ask for details about the item, they either don’t know or they give a lot of inconsistent answers.
  • When you ask them to meet up with you, they give one too many excuses.
  • They insist on wire transferring your money… fast!


How to Spot a Scammer

(Sellers of Fakes)

Scammers are one of the biggest liars, making you believe that they have the legitimate thing when all they have is a fake. You can usually spot a scammer quickly when they offer the product at a price that’s just too good to be true.

How to avoid them:

  • Suggest meeting up and insist that you want to inspect the item.
  • Research on the original item – year manufactured, where it’s made, and if you especially need to watch out for certain indicators that tells that the item is fake.
  • If you’re still skeptical after inspection, ask them to visit a trusted expert with you during your meet-up. That should clear it up.


How to Spot a Phisher

Phishers will try to get personal information from you by sending you anonymous links that require too many details. Try not to fall for phishers, no matter how convincing they sound. You’ll never know what they’ll do with your personal information.

You can spot them when:

  • They ask you personal information such as your full name, account numbers, birthdays, clues to your security question & answer, and others.
  • They send you links to websites that you’ve never heard of, or websites that are made to look like trusted websites.
  • They refuse to meet up or give additional information about the items they’re selling.


How to Spot a Swindler

Swindlers are persistent liars, and they’ll say anything to convince you that their product is worth it. Later, you’ll realize that the product is not as advertised when it’s too late!

You can spot a swindler by:

  • Asking for additional photos of the item. Better yet — ask for additional photos from different angles!
  • Asking them for the receipt or proof or purchase, and they can’t give you any!
  • Asking them if you can inspect the item, and they refuse.
  • Asking them the same questions over and over again about the specifics of the product. You’ll spot some inconsistencies along the way!

So remember: always be vigilant! Stay alert! Being aware of these things will help you create more win-win exchanges and keep the community a healthy and vibrant one.

Related Cybersecurity Articles:

You may also check the following sections: Cybercrimes 101 | Cybersecurity Tips | Take Action vs Cybercrimes.