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Lousy mesh: detect fraud in online classified ads


ZEIT ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates

Hamburg (dpa / tmn) - In the past you used the supermarket pin board, today there are online classified ads. Whether unused building material or a used television: almost everything can be found there. But fraudsters have long since discovered the classified ads and are robbing buyers and sellers of their money.

"These are larger criminal organizations that are ripping off en masse," says Declan Hiscox of the Austrian information platform Watchlist Internet. Even the police warn of a special scam: the trick with Paypal “Family & Friends”.

With this PayPal option, sending money is free of charge, and an e-mail address to which the money is to be sent is sufficient. There is no protection. If the buyer notices that the goods are not arriving, the account of the fraudsters has long since been closed.

As a matter of principle, buyers should always be careful if a purchase should or can only be made in advance or absolutely, advises Julia Rehberg from the Hamburg consumer advice center. «You also have legal rights when buying via online classified ads if the goods do not match the description or were not shipped at all. But it is often difficult to enforce it. ”It is often particularly dubious when payments are supposed to go abroad.

Triangle trick deceives seller

"Some fraudsters ask you to transfer the purchase amount in advance using a payment transfer service," warns Declan Hiscox. Sometimes the fraudsters even used shipping companies as supposedly independent trustees, but the company was usually invented.

You should also be careful who appears as a seller in online classifieds markets. The so-called triangular trick is particularly difficult to see through.

With this stitch, as a seller you put something online, for example a smartphone. The fraudster signals interest. At the same time, he himself also puts the identical smartphone on sale. If a buyer reports to the fraudster, he gives the account details of the original seller. As soon as the money has been received by the seller, the seller sends the goods - but to the fraudster.

Here too, PayPal is often used as a means of payment. Then the seller remains on the damage when buyer protection takes effect. If the buyer paid by bank transfer, however, he will not get his money back, provided the seller can prove the shipment.

Personal sales are still best

Hiscox also knows of cases where fraudsters have sent fake payment confirmations to get the seller to ship the goods. «Sellers should always check whether the money has actually been credited to their account before sending something. And don't be intimidated by threats! »

"The safest thing is to always do business online and in cash in person," advises consumer advocate Rehberg. So you can avoid all the scams. Buyers should especially collect more valuable goods personally, preferably together with a witness. And anyone who sells something should only ever hand the goods over to the actual buyer. The seller should show the ID and have receipt of the goods confirmed by a representative sent by this.

Source: zeit

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