Fraud is frustratingly common when selling goods online, and can cause major problems if you’re retailing high-value products such as vehicles. If you’re a courier driver looking to offload your van, play it safe and learn what suspicious behaviour looks like when it comes to online transactions. |
Dodgy Payment Services
Sneaky tricks have left many a courier driver out of pocket, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for they can be difficult to spot. ‘Overpayment’ schemes can often involve even the well-known, secure payment services such as PayPal.
The idea is that the buyer ‘accidentally’ overpays the seller and then asks for a refund of the overpayment. Once the seller has responded, the original payment disappears and the seller is left with significantly less money. Sometimes by this point, the goods have already been taken. Fraudsters can achieve this in numerous ways – faked receipts, stolen credit cards or just never transferring the money in the first place. However they’re doing it, it is vital that you know how to spot and avoid it.
For a courier driver to avoid a payment fraud the first tip is to be realistic; if an offer seems too good to be true, then there’s a likelihood that it isn’t a real offer and the buyer is not planning to actually pay you. If somebody is offering to pay your full asking price without any negotiation, you should definitely be suspicious.
A buyer refusing to speak to you over the phone is also something that should ring alarm bells. A common excuse is not being allowed to take calls at work. Just be wary that if somebody is communicating exclusively via email it may not be genuine. Sometimes, even the emails themselves can be a massive giveaway. If the tone seems surprisingly informal, or if there are several grammar and spelling mistakes in the text, you may be communicating with a fraudster.
Another thing to watch out for with emails is whether they are from the real site. For example, you can sometimes get an email from ‘PayPal’ which is actually from a fake PayPal account. If you’re unsure, login to the site (making sure you do not use the login link sent in the email) and check whether you have received any payments. Some fraudsters may ask for payments to cover additional fees or to cover potential ‘overpayments’. This is very unlikely to be legitimate, so make sure you avoid buyers entirely if they’re asking for this.
Sometimes it is difficult to recognise when a buyer is dishonest, but hopefully these tips will help you increase your awareness when you’re selling online – and consequently get you a better deal. Online cons are becoming increasingly common, so be sure to double-check payments for both your personal and business transactions.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day jobs for courier driver jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.
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