January 1, 2020
Ugandan classifieds can be fun and rewarding to both their owners and the local communities at large. With them, you can get your unwanted items quickly sold to others who could be interested in them. You also make extra income from items that you would have ended up throwing away.
They also bring huge blessings to local job seekers as they can peruse through them from time to time for job openings right within their locality. For the owners, much as they make these platforms free, they can earn by renting out portions on these platforms to those who’re in need of gaining more business leads.
So clearly, classified ad sites arguably bring substantial benefits to the owners and the communities in which they operate.
However, they can also attract those with wrong motives. For example, if you’re someone who sometimes browses through social media feeds, you won’t fail seeing someone pouring out his or her frustrations to friends as to how he or she has been conned through a classified ad site.
So how can you skip the rampant scams and fraud that are common on local classified sites and make money from your unwanted items without being taken advantage of by the wrong fellows? Here’s a complete exposé of what a classified ad scam is, how to identify one together with common mistakes that users make, and how to avoid them.
What Are Classified ad Scams?
In general, a scam is a fraudulent or deceptive act. So applying this to online classified ads, a scam would be viewed from two different angles.
#1 A fake buyer posing as a genuine one. Where someone with the motive of conning the seller pretends to be a seriously interested buyer who would even want to meet the seller. Not knowing the intentions the seller ends up victimized by the fraudster.
#2 An illegitimate seller posing as the authorized owner of the item being sold. In this scenario, the advertiser poses as a genuine owner when actually he or she is not.
In both situations, the goal is one: Robbing the innocent victim his or her funds when actually there’s no deal. This is what amounts to a scam. How can you identify such scams?
How to Identify Classified Ad Scams
- Transacting over the phone. This is the no:1 technique for most classified ads scammers. They love pretending like they are very busy to meet you so they prefer closing deals over the phone. And when you stop and think about it, it’s logical for them; Why would they jeopardize their identity by meeting you anyway? So to avoid recognition, they rather finish everything on the phone.
- They never get their accounts verified. True because of some reasons some genuine users of a classified site might prefer not to verify their accounts but just think about it, you probably want to sell you piece of land and you want users to trust that you’re the legal owner; Why would you refrain from getting verified? Clearly this indicates something fishy. So that’s why most scammers are usually unverified subscribers.
- Too good to be true deals. No doubt you’ve heard of the saying “if the offer is too good to be true then it actually is.” Unrealistic low prices on a classified site might be a ringing bell that something isn’t right. Remember people usually resort to online classifieds sites after trying selling locally but in vain; Classifieds sites serve the last resort for purpose of broadening one’s potential leads. So if an item hasn’t been bought at such a cheap price to the point that it’s listed on a classified ads site, then something might be wrong.
- They act in a rush. Most scammers lure their potential victims by showing that many people are already interested in the item so they usually pressure their targets to rush things.
- Requesting your confidential information. If your lead quickly jumps into asking for scanned copies of your confidential information without even making direct contact with you, that’s the first smell of danger. Potential buyers would want to meet you in person and probably inspect the item and then, as for proof of ownership. So if anyone goes otherwise, then they might be simply interested in robbing you.
- They post unscrupulous listings. Most scammers simply search on google for captivating images of stuff they don’t actually own; When you get into their trap they would want you to send the money so they can send the item and when you make a mistake and send the money, you never hear from them again.
- They send unsolicited messages. Most scammers will simply join the platform with the aim of gathering some sort of directory that they will later use to send the owners’ messages even if the item was already taken. They do this in the hope that you may get their attention then they lay another trap.
- They take advantage of the loopholes in the platform’s terms of service. Most of classified ad sites usually operate under certain terms of service that bind you the platform user and administrators. Scammers know that a majority of users never read those terms so they take advantage of the fact that the administrators deny any loss that one incurs in the association of finding leads on the platform. They know that users are performing transactions at their own risk so they take advantage of that and create false accounts for defrauding others.
- They take offense when you ask many questions. Scammers know that with any questions you can easily get them in their own abundance of words so the quickly take offense if you seem to ask many questions about the item they are actually selling.
How to Avoid Scams on Classified Ad Sites
We’ve elaborated much on how to identify scams on classified ad sites but identifying is just the first step to becoming smart. Now let’s take a look at the corresponding things you can do to avoid scammers.
- Don’t close the deal on the phone. Classified ad sites are there to simply connect the buyer to the seller so much as they put precautionary measures into place, they won’t control what happens after the buyer and seller get in touch so, heed the advice and avoid finishing everything without getting in direct contact.
- Go with a friend to observe the item and meet in public places. Don’t take the word for word for someone whom you’ve met for the first time however sweet or caring he or she may be some con-men are good at it so always be cautious.
- Deal with verified users. Most platforms take some measure to gather the information that is used to verify their users so rather than dealing with someone who the platform only has his email and phone contact, why not deal with a verified user whom you know that if something went wrong, there’s somewhere to start?
- Use your inborn IQ. All of us have that some Intelligent Quotient that usually tells us that something might not be right. Why not use your inner prodding especially when you see that something is too good to be true?
- Carry out further research. Don’t act like the naive, take your time, and do thorough research about the item you want to buy. One way is opening another tab on your browser if you are using a laptop or desktop then drag the image their and Google will show whether it’s already on the internet
- Report unscrupulous listings. Don’t fear reporting listings that you feel fraudulent or breaking the platform rules. This way you work together as a community and the platform owner to rid-off scammers from the platform.
- Read the terms of service before agreeing to it. This will give you insight as to whether the classified ad site is secure and could help you in investigating a fraudulent act or not. If it doesn’t, then don’t agree to the terms; Why would you through a rope into your neck only to complain later.
- Don’t fear asking questions. No serious business-oriented person will feel offended when asked questions, in fact, he o she will try his or her level best to satisfy your doubts so, don’t fear to ask questions because this will help you trap the scammer before things go wrong.
Now that you have known how to be scam and fraud smart when using an online classified, what about if you actually fall victim to some form of fraud that isn’t listed above. What can you do?
What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed
Well much as we can try our best to avoid thieves and fraudsters in some way they can still outsmart us. For example, it’s most likely that even scammers will read this post so what can you do if you’re still scammed on a classified ads site? Here are the steps that you can take. Remember these steps might vary from platform to platform but since this platform is a user-safety oriented platform we’ll use our steps.
- Contact the site’s administrators. For our platform, you can reach us at Support so that we can take steps in investigating and collaborating with authorities in any way that is required by the law.
- Report the matter to the authorities. Don’t try to investigate matters on your own as this might even make matters worse. The authorities know how to best handle their part so don’t assume their role.
- Flag users with fraudulent behavior. We as ttunda administrators love it when our users are safe when using our platform in a way that benefits them because we know that it works for the good of the community. So, however small an act was, let us know so that we can keep such ill-intent from infesting the platform.
As Uganda embraces the online world, more and more helpful classified platforms like these will emerge and this creates more room for the fraudsters to target the naive but with such helpful articles that we regularly post in or Blog Area, we’re committed to protecting our own and that’s you our users.
Have you found this article helpful? Are there other techniques that we might have missed? Why not share them with us in the comment section. Let’s work together to spread the word by sharing this article with friends and family so that we can keep them safe and also keep local classified ad sites safe, fun, and indeed rewarding as they are meant to be. Until next time, stay blessed.