"This was the tenth time that I had sold for Wallapop, I was not a first time either. All good experiences. That day I met the buyer in a park in my neighborhood after lunch and as the time of the appointment approached I got down loaded with the PlayStation 5. No I had no idea what was going to happen. I waited sitting for about ten minutes or so, through the application the boy told me that he would be delayed and when he arrived everything went as usual. He gave me the money and I the console, then As we entertained ourselves by chatting about videogames, five more boys approached. They were in cahoots and I was alone. That afternoon I lost my PS5 and my money, "said Kevin Rodríguez, from Madrid, ensuring that he has not used the application since.
This is one of the many horror stories that both sellers and second-hand buyers live in Spain.
Since 2013, Wallapop acts as a bridge between them, some advertise their products and others get in touch to determine the price, the payment method and the place of exchange, if they choose not to send by mail.
Like all bartering and more if it is between strangers, prevention is the best weapon against scams.
Next, from PIXEL we gather the main recommendations to avoid scams in Wallapop based on bad experiences and fraud that affect more than 800 people.
1. Use Wallapop shipments
In the first place, if we talk about guarantees, we must take into account the terms and conditions of Wallapop: "Any claim or controversy that may arise between the Users of the Service must be resolved between them, forcing themselves to keep Wallapop totally undamaged, without prejudice from which Wallapop will make its best efforts to provide Users with a prompt and satisfactory solution through its Customer Service ".
However, the application has a service that offers some protection, although this will have a cost for the seller that will depend on the weight of the product.
Through Wallapop Envíos, the seller sends the product through the Post Office or a courier who comes to his home and the buyer finalizes the payment when the product arrives and is satisfied with it (within 48 hours).
Both parties may follow the course of the shipment at any time.
Through this method, as a buyer, you can open a dispute if the product has a problem.
It should be noted that if the return is not accepted by the seller, Wallapop will evaluate the case and make a decision, while if it is accepted, the shipping will be free for both parties.
This form of exchange would prevent a large number of scams and thefts in person.
2. Better Bizum than cash
To avoid disappointment when buying a product face to face with the seller, it is best to give him a Bizum once the object has been checked.
This way you avoid carrying cash that could be stolen from you and it is also a good method to minimize contact while the Covid-19 health crisis continues.
3. A video of the appliance in operation
"I am a big collector of retro video games and my hunting ground is Wallapop. Sometimes the game has turned out well and I have bought real gems like Terranigma for the SNES or the Rule of Rose for PlayStation 2 for little. Although I have to confess that I've played it on other occasions, that's why now I always ask the seller to send me a video of the game running on a console, "explains Berta Pérez, recalling that Metal Gear Solid video game that never worked due to the state of the disc.
Taking into account that there are products such as games, components or even large devices that require power, which are impossible to test in the middle of the street before giving the money to the seller, it is best to ask him for video evidence of their good operation.
4. Stay in a public place
To avoid running out of money and product, it is best to meet the other party in a public place and if it is with security cameras, even better.
In this way, even if they are accompanied to try to intimidate you, if being in a visible place does not intimidate them, there will be enough evidence to file a complaint.
5. Look at the seller's profile
Just as it is convenient to take a look at the reviews of the products you buy online, having a profile with five stars and a multitude of positive opinions is a sign of tranquility.
Having such a good reputation ensures that a user will get many sales, due to the trust they give off, so it will hardly put them at risk by scamming you.
On the contrary, if the seller's profile has neither sales nor purchases, nor opinions and even lacks a photo, be careful.
"I bought two fairly cheap pre-owned RAM cards, it was the first sale according to his account, but the good price of the product made me take a risk. They never worked and after a few minutes of writing to the seller, his account disappeared", says Miguel Pereira.
"When buying electronic components you play it," adds the user.
6. Detect counterfeit bills
It is not disrespectful to check in front of the buyer if the banknotes he is giving you are false, it is actually a totally recommended practice.
There are electronic machines that detect different points and even the ultraviolet ink that is used in printing money, but in the face to face it is complicated.
There are markers that only paint if the bill is fake, which would be the fastest way.
Also mobile applications that work by entering the serial number.
Although if you are not wearing any of this, there is a traditional way that consists of three steps.
First touch the banknote and check its texture and firmness, then look at it against the light and see the watermark and the security thread.
Finally, turn the banknote to see a silver band on which different holographic motifs are revealed.
7. PayPal between individuals
To send or receive money through PayPal there are two ways, send to a friend (which would be between individuals) or pay for products and services.
The latter has a cost that depends on the currency conversion and commissions.
All rates can be consulted on the platform's own website.
The positive part of using payment for products and services is that it offers greater coverage for any incident.
Caution when the seller offers to save you the PayPal commission, it may happen that after sending the payment they never send you the product and their account disappears.
"As an anniversary, I thought I would surprise my partner by commissioning a portrait, on wood, of a girl who was advertised on Wallapop. She claimed to charge in advance since she had been scammed before. After paying her and not receiving a tracking number nor the portrait, I contacted her and her account had disappeared, "says Javier Collado, who in the end resorted to the typical perfume as a gift, at the last minute and in a hurry.
8. Beware of transfers
As with PayPal, be very careful about prepaying products.
This method does not offer any guarantee when buying from an individual, in addition, as a seller, since it can be canceled within a maximum period of two days, scammers can cancel the transfer after verifying that you made the shipment.
9. Cash on delivery is not always a guarantee
It is normal to believe that cash on delivery is a guarantee, but all that glitters is not gold.
This method ensures you receive the package, but not that the product is in good condition, works or is the one we asked for.
You may have ordered a camera and found a brick.
Before signing and paying, please open the package to see its contents.
If the dealer refuses, request a refund.
Remember that this can happen to you as a seller, that they request a return and when the product arrives it is a pile of dirt and stones instead of what you sent.
Use the same method and check the contents of the package before signing the receipt for compliance.
10. Nigerian scam
This is one of the most common scam on the app despite its exotic name.
The malicious user contacts the victim interested in a product, usually electronic devices or objects of high value.
Usually, this will ask you to keep in touch through another way, probably WhatsApp, this is the first sign to distrust.
In addition, the buyer will say that he resides in a distant country, usually Nigeria, although they may be countries of the European Union, but always outside of Spain.
He will claim to bear the costs if there are any problems with the shipment and will offer two methods of payment, bank transfer or PayPal.
The scammer will mount a whole theater around the scam, sending screenshots of the transaction.
If they know your email (for example, asking you to speak by that method first), they can send an email posing as your bank or PayPal assuring that the transfer is made but that the money is withheld until you attach proof of having shipped.
Obviously, the money will not even be in your account and if you send the package over, say goodbye to the product as well.
Although scammers do not stop here, with phishing techniques they can impersonate your bank and ask for your credentials and even send you a link to a fraudulent website with the appearance of your bank.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project
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