PSA: Be careful when buying or selling online! These tips may help you avoid potential scams.

mdbannister

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Most of this post is being copied directly from a warning posted previously by @SeahorseKeeper, but I feel that it's important that we remind all of our members of this again and that it be posted in the general forum in hopes that more of you will see it. This is IMPORTANT so please read this and point others to it regularly.

Also, please be sure you have read our selling forum rules thoroughly BEFORE you buy or sell anything at Reef2Reef. You should also be sure you are familiar with our site terms and rules.

*Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that all staff members are volunteers and try to do our best to do what is in the best interest of R2R. Typically, we do not get involved in member disputes. Most often there is more than one side of the story. Each side has their own and sometimes the truth is somewhere in the middle. The staff respects that each member can voice their side of the transaction within the feedback forums. Ultimately, the members can choose how to interpret the information. The staff does take action when there is blatant scamming. However, the only action that we can take is to remove the member from the community. We will also monitor to ensure the member is not creating a new name to scam again.*

There are some simple things that members can do to protect themselves when using the selling forums. The following are just a few things that I think people can do to protect themselves:
  • Be wary of members that have joined recently or have low post counts. Sometimes the members that are here to scam other members will typically PM members with items to sell, especially in response to a Want to Buy thread. Ask lots of questions and don't be afraid to ask for proof of ownership pics. Ask the member to show you a pic with a code word, that day's date and the item. If the seller does not want to do this, then run away.
  • Look at the post history. Does the member just have posts that are simple, like "nice tank"? These members aren't adding value to the community and might just be here to make a quick buck and move on.
  • DO NOT EVER send money as a gift (PayPal's Friends and Family option)!!!! R2R has updated the selling forum rules where members must not ask for the items to be sent as a gift. If you send the money as a gift, you will lose any chance of protection with paypal. Also, try to use a credit card as your payment with paypal. If for some reason the transaction goes south and paypal does not side with you, you may have protection from the credit card issuer and you can open a dispute with them. If a seller ever asks you to send money using the Friends and Family option, please report that message or post immediately! It is a violation of R2R rules!
  • Check the feedback forums first before doing business with anyone. The feedback forums are not used as much as they should be. They can be a valuable resource to determine whether someone deserves to get your business. If you do business with a member or vendor (sponsor or not), post up a feedback thread. Let the community know how the transaction went. The links to our feedback forums are here: (Vendor Feedback Forum and Regular Member Feedback Forum)
  • Check the feedback score. This can give you a snapshot of how the person does business.
  • Make sure to keep a copy of all correspondence. You can save a copy of the PM's to your computer.
If you feel that you had a transaction that went south, it is important to start a feedback thread (see above). This way other members can know to stay away from that person.

If you feel that you (or someone else) may have been scammed, follow these steps:
  • Report the scammer immediately to R2R moderators (using the report feature of the post is the best way to do this). Please report any PM's, posts, or visitor messages where you suspect the member is scamming other members. The staff looks at each and every reported post. We keep everything anonymous so you do not have to worry about being a snitch.
  • Contact paypal immediately.
  • It may also help to contact your bank or credit card company as well.
  • Reach out to your local authorities. Fraud via the internet is something that is not taken lightly. Actually, interstate commerce fraud can be considered a felony and bring stiff penalties. Do not be hesitant to contact them.
 
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Cjud7982

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can you explain the difference with the "friends and family" option and the other option? I have always used the friends and family option because that is exactly what I usually am doing. I just made a purchase from someone on the forum and used the friends and family option and am now worried that I made a mistake. I dont want to be in violation of the rules on r2r or get into trouble. The person I bought the stuff from is a "valuable member" on here and everything seemed to check out, he has responded well and provided me with tracking info as soon as payment was sent. I guess I just researched it, and apparently the goods and services choice has the fees sent to the seller and offers a protection plan? wheres the friends and family charges me the fee and limited to no protection?
 
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Dsnakes

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can you explain the difference with the "friends and family" option and the other option? I have always used the friends and family option because that is exactly what I usually am doing. I just made a purchase from someone on the forum and used the friends and family option and am now worried that I made a mistake. I dont want to be in violation of the rules on r2r or get into trouble. The person I bought the stuff from is a "valuable member" on here and everything seemed to check out, he has responded well and provided me with tracking info as soon as payment was sent.
Friends and family means the seller will not be charged the 3% PayPal fee. It also means you would not be covered by the PayPal protection. Just be careful. I believe most people are good (new favorite country song ;)) but unfortunately, some are not...

Edit - (You are not charged the fee for friends and family)
 
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mdbannister

mdbannister

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Friends and family means the seller will not be charged the 3% PayPal fee. It also means you would not be covered by the PayPal protection. Just be careful. I believe most people are good (new favorite country song ;)) but unfortunately, some are not...

Edit - (You are not charged the fee for friends and family)
This is correct.

Goods and Services = seller pays 3% fee and transaction is covered under PayPal protection

Friends and Family = no fee and no protection (similar to sending money through Western Union)

Btw, per our selling forum rules, the fees are to be included in the asking price. Sellers are not allowed to ask buyers to pay the fee as a separate charge.
 

AquaART

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Question. What if I trust a seller, or vice versa—a buyer mentions to me, and they ask if they can send the money via the Friends & Family method? Is that a violation of the forums' rules?
 

Cjud7982

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From what I can understand, it is a violation for the seller to ask the buyer to pay with friends and family. However, if the buyer if so chooses to pay friends and family then they are sacrificing their protection from paypal. I do not think it is against the rules to pay with friends and family voluntarily, just highly discouraged and offers no benefit to the buyer. in fact adds a level of risk. The best practice in this scenario, I would think, is if the buyer asks to pay via friends and family to discourage it and have them pay with products and services regardless of the "trust" level.
 

tangtime

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Question. What if I trust a seller, or vice versa—a buyer mentions to me, and they ask if they can send the money via the Friends & Family method? Is that a violation of the forums' rules?
Ultimately it is up to you as the buyer. Only the seller cannot ask someone to pay via f&f when advertised on this forum and bought by someone on this forum.
 
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mdbannister

mdbannister

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Question. What if I trust a seller, or vice versa—a buyer mentions to me, and they ask if they can send the money via the Friends & Family method? Is that a violation of the forums' rules?
^^what they said. However, it's also worth noting that doing so is a violation of PayPal's rules, and if they catch you sending payment for goods and services under the guise of friends and family in order to bypass their fees, it could hurt both of your ability to use PayPal moving forward.
 

AquaART

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^^what they said. However, it's also worth noting that doing so is a violation of PayPal's rules, and if they catch you sending payment for goods and services under the guise of friends and family in order to bypass their fees, it could hurt both of your ability to use PayPal moving forward.
Bingo, thanks everyone!
 

Jeepguy242

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if a seller uses a service to sell, then they should pay for that service....

if i use paypal to sell, i should pay the fee.....

bottom line, selling and using a service to help you sell then you are basically stealing if you are not paying the fee to use the service....


if you want to sell, add the fee to the asking price....
 

doughboy

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Its sad that scams happen.
I think despite all the warning signs, it will continue to happen.
scams are all based on greed (you think you are getting the deal of the century or you are getting a large sum of money from a nigerian prince. etc), and FOMO (fear of missing out)
unless you can afford to take the risk to lose the money, its never worth it.
scammers are psychopaths and have no conscience. From their point of view, the victims deserve to be scammed because they don't know any better.
 

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