How do I know whether my buyer is genuine?
Please note we will never text sellers - if you receive a text saying it is from "SMWD" then please be suspicious and refer to our selling safely and FAQ pages for more info on scammers. The current scammer is called Susan Kelly.
Here are common examples of typical scam wording:
Scammer (often called Susan Kelly, Mary Watson, Emma Duff, Emma Baxter, or Anna, Melissa, Sarweth or Amanda): Hi, is this still available for sale please?? I need to buy it as soon as possible! I hope the condition is good?
Seller: yes the dress is still available, it's in good condition. Please let me know if you would like to view.
Scammer: Great! i am willing to pay your full asking price as i urgently need to buy it for my cousin but due to my health conditions (hearing loss and i'm presently in a wheelchair) i would not be able to come personally for pick up. I have read through the advert and i'm totally satisfied with it.
I have a mover that would help me to pick it up at your location after payment has been received.I'll be paying you via PayPal today.
If you could tell me your location, i'll contact the mover now.
Scammer: Thanks for the mail, I really appreciate your prompt reply and I'm glad you are selling to me... First,I'm okay with the selling cost, secondly i don't want you to bother about the shipping process,I have a shipping company that handles my shipments,All you need yo do is to keep the Wedding dress in a safe and good condition. I will instruct my staff associate to issue out a cheque for the payment and shipping to you, When you get the payment you are to deduct your £750 for the AD and send the remaining funds to my shipper via Western Union or Money Gram to enable him come down to your location for the pickup. I bought some other wedding materials too and my shipper will be picking them up also,so they will need the remaining funds to enable them come for the pickup. It takes 3-5 working days to clear a cheque, so cheque must clear before pickup. Notify me immediately when you get the funds so i will email you with my shipper's information who will be coming for the pickup at your location. "I HOPE I CAN TRUST YOU WITH MY FUNDS"?I'm sure you can await the payment in the mail, It will be sent to the Information as requested below you will provide for me:
Can you remove it from the posting and consider it sold to me? I will be happy if you can do that today ok..I will be looking forward to read from you.
If you are not sure whether the email you have is from a scammer...
Your first response should be to encourage anyone to view the dress so they can pay cash - you will find this deters any fake enquiries as they will not agree to it. If people offer to give you more money (or just automatically send a payment in excess of the item value) with the extra amount being given to you initially so you can pay the shipper/mover - this would be part of a scam. NEVER proceed with a transaction that offers more than the price of your item.
There are many scammers that target ebay, Amazon, Autotrader and other such sites that utilise online selling. It is unlikely a man will want to buy your dress and it is unlikely that anyone will buy on behalf of a client or relative without coming to try the dress on. Usually the email will contain bad grammar or just seem "odd". Frequently they mention a "client" or "shipping fees" or that they will pay by "check" and that they are satisfied with the price - another key tip off is that everything needs to be done "urgently". They often quickly mention that they will be sending someone to collect the item as they are not able to view or collect themselves and come up with a reason for paying more than the purchase price, asking you to wire back the difference after you have deposited the cheque/received the payment. You can sometimes get an email, apparently from Paypal, saying that the "buyer" has deposited funds into your Paypal account and that you can now proceed to send the shipping payment to them at Western Union Money Transfer - this is a FAKE email from Paypal and should be reported and forwarded firstname.lastname@example.org It is sometimes worthwhile googling the mobile number they mention as it can pop up on websites that monitor scammers.
If it sounds suspicious it probably is - why would anyone pay hundreds of pounds more than your dress is listed for? Why would anyone pay you hundreds of pounds to ship a dress and then ask you to send them that fee back by a different payment method? Don't let the excitement of a potential sale overcome your use of caution when making arrangements for someone to purchase your dress.
Please be aware that scammers will text as well as email sellers nowadays. Potential buyers will contact you via our form to maintain your privacy - please don't put your email address or phone number in your advert - potential buyers will be registered and can then contact you via the form on your ad.
Never post your dress to a buyer until you have confirmed with your bank or Paypal that the proceeds have cleared in your account and cannot be recalled. Bear in mind funds can appear in your account as received but can be recalled if there were no funds to make the transaction in the first place!
Our top tips to sell safely:
If someone is not willing to view the dress and just asks you to send it on to them regardless, alarm bells should sound and you should not proceed without doing further checks, such as checking the scam page to see if your email exchanges follow the usual scam patterns. Also try and speak with the potential buyer.
We recommend that the potential buyer visits you and carefully inspects the dress to ensure it is in good condition. It is wise for the seller to point out any marks or defects to avoid possible comebacks after purchase. You should both sign to say that the exchange has taken place and that the dress was "sold as seen". Discuss and detail in writing if necessary, what to do in the event of any dissatisfaction at a later point. Will the dress be able to be returned? If not, clearly point out in writing prior to purchase, the terms and condition at time of the purchase and any returns info.
A seller is advised to accept cash only, but...accept cheques at your own risk (we do not advise this) but if you do, never part with any item until a cheque has cleared and you have checked with your bank that the amount has been confirmed in your account and will not be recalled. Cheques should be issued for the correct amount - not an inflated amount - no matter what reason you are given for an increased amount. The most common scam is to offer you a larger sum of money than the goods are worth, sometimes using a cheque for a very large amount indeed. You may then be asked to refund the ‘difference’, because the buyer only has a cheque made out from a third party (usually a reputable company) that the buyer wants to pay with. These cheques are fraudulent in the extreme, and will either bounce the moment they hit your bank, or after the issuing company realises that they’ve been defrauded. The issuing institution then cancels the purchase, retakes the money and leaves you badly out of pocket and without your goods.
If you realise you have been the victim of an attempted scam and have received emails from a buyer which claim to be from "Paypal" please forward that to email@example.com and report the attempted crime to Action Fraud Online at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud
If you've received a scam email report it to the internet service provider (ISP) that was used to send you the email. If the scam email came from a Yahoo account send it to firstname.lastname@example.org Gmail has a "Report spam" button and Hotmail has a "Report phishing" button.
How to buy a wedding dress safely
Please ensure you get as much info as possible regarding the sizing of the dress (and the seller if possible) and the condition of the dress, put in writing. You should also find out if you can return the dress - ideally the seller would set out in writing their own terms of sale and terms of accepting a return, if applicable. We would recommend that you visit the seller to check the sizing and condition of the dress wherever possible and also pay cash on collection. If you are going to put down a deposit ensure that you are aware of any conditions affecting whether the deposit is refundable or not, ie what happens if you change your mind in a week’s time – ask the seller to put in writing their terms and conditions regarding accepting a deposit from you. Ensure that you both sign to agree on the condition and detail any damage or marks on the dress, if applicable.