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

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by mdbannister, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. shred5

    shred5 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    It does happen.. I know it has happened more than a few times on the reef forums. I believe it is actually a big crime too because I think it is considered mail fraud.

    Anyone who has done it should be hung to dry and we should be told so this person does not do it to others.. I know it happened on the forums several years ago and the community worked together to catch the guy and the police knocked on his door.

    Forums record IP addresses and through this you can track most people down. All ip addresses are registered and all isp keep logs now. I know there are ways around it but most reef forum crooks do not do this.

    Also what I can tell from all my years on forums it happens more with livestock than dry goods. with the hobby prices rising we will start to see more of it too..

    Someone puts up a expensive coral like the Walt Disney and it never shows up..

    Our LFS just got ripped off, the guy walked out with some product and the store posted the video on facebook and sure enough they figured out who it was and the guy returned it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
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  2. S-t-r-e-t-c-h

    S-t-r-e-t-c-h Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Ocala Reef Club Member

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    There's a guy who stalks the car forums and scams people there all the time, taking hundreds - thousands of dollars at a time. He's done it for years, using various strategies already mentioned, but also:

    - Asking people to pay by Western Union. Literally no support.
    - He surfs the WTB forum and replies by PM to people looking for things. That way, he gets around having to post a FS thread or any of the rules surrounding them. People there also usually have a different level of urgency because they are looking for something specific or harder to find.
    - Photos are just grabbed off the internet. This got me into the habit of using GIS images anytime I'm buying something on the forums. Here's a primer on how that works:


    All that said, I've bought thousands and thousands of dollars worth of items off of forums and have found most sellers are stand up people. I think the best tip for anyone though: don't be afraid to walk away from a transaction. If anything seems off or a deal seems too good or someone is asking you to do something questionable, just walk away. Another one of whatever you're shopping for will inevitably come around. Also, don't be afraid to ask forum staff if anything seems fishy. They generally prefer to help on the front end, rather than dealing with issues after the fact...

    My $0.02...
     
  3. shred5

    shred5 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    It can happen trading too, even though it is easier to get the person. This happened to a friend of mine. He set up a trade with someone and this person at the time was a forum regular too so he was not a stranger.
    What he was doing is offering trades with people but never shipped back. He would claim his tank crashed but he was still trading same corals with people after this happened.


    I agree with above there are allot of honest people on the forums and so far mostly good transactions and I have had hundreds. Over the last few years have had seen people scammed. Matter of fact my only scam was from a vendor here. I have walked away several times and once was warned about a seller. I walked away from one just recently too that I would bet was a scam. The issue mainly I have had is people lieing about the condition, i have got several items not as good as the user described and clearly allot older.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  4. BoomCorals

    BoomCorals www.boomcorals.com R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    True story, the very first thing that turned me on to coming here was that R2R had a rule that sellers could not ask for payments to be made as friends and family. I HATE going through buying something and then at the last minute the seller says "oh you have to cover fees or send as friends/family". And it's like it's completely expected. As a buyer fronting money to a stranger on the internet you should never have to completely forego protection or pay their fees. When I was a private seller, I always assumed I would pay fees as part of me selling it and that was that.

    Thank you R2R for having that rule!
     
  5. pelphrey

    pelphrey Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Showcase Editor Build Thread Contributor

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    Went through this last week with an online purchase. Was texting the seller and he said send as friends and family, I replied with "No sir!"... Fee's were $7.50 so I told them I would give them $3 over the asking price and they cover the $4.50 in fee's. They quickly replied and went for it. I didn't offer any less money than the price they had on the item (which was beyond fair for a brand new piece of equipment).

    In life there are easy people to deal with and difficult. As long as the item arrives exactly as described I'll never have to talk to the seller again. As a seller sometimes you need to remember that it isn't worth losing a sale over a few dollars!
     
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  6. AquaART

    AquaART Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Very true, that said there are a few virtual payment methods that are free/trivial fee, but include no protection from fraudulent transactions. I assume the whole shtick with PayPal is the fee is your purchase insurance—ofcrouse along with using the service— in which case I can confirm that said service is a huge benefit.
     
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  7. this is me

    this is me Active Member Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Sad to really even see this posted.
     
  8. Cthehentz

    Cthehentz Member R2R Supporter

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    This has been eye opening, thanks for the posts.
     
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  9. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Bumping this up again just to be sure everyone is aware.
     
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  10. larryandlaura

    larryandlaura New Member

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    If it is too good to be true, 9 tines or of 10 it is. I am recently getting back into the hobby, and am glad R2R protects its members.
     
  11. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Bumping this again. Please be aware.
     
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  12. newreefer2

    newreefer2 Active Member

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    One of the problems with Paypal friends and family option is that the person sending can rescind the transfer. We had a couple of people to make their none refundable deposit for a table at our fragfest. We had two who could not make it rescind the transfer which left us in a tough place when trying to pay for the hall. We also got some complaints because we had empty tables and they we turned down other vendors thinking we were sold out.
     
  13. Rakie

    Rakie Federal Coral Reserve R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    @mdbannister in conjunction with R2R will also officially stand by you in reef court.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Buddy1234

    Buddy1234 Member

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    Helpful info
     
  15. cromag27

    cromag27 octoaquatics.com - acrylic & anemone god R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Toys For Kids Sponsor 2018 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    unfortunately, i still have some customers ask me how to send their payment to me. i take the time to explain the difference between “goods and services” and “friends and family” and what protections come with (or without) each option.
     
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  16. kireek

    kireek PLANESWALKER R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Build Thread Contributor

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    A couple of years ago it would have been me asking that question.I prefer to use PayPal over my credit card now and am happy to pay for the service.
     
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