How to Recognize and Avoid E-mail Scams
There it was, sitting sweetly in my in-box: an e-mail inquiry about one of my items listed on Zibbet! With great anticipation I opened the message to read what sounded too good to be true. As I reread the message, I realized that it was just that–too good to be true. Excited anticipation turned into deflated disappointment. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, from time to time, accounts are opened on Zibbet expressly for the purpose of sending spam and/or scam e-mails to our members. While it’s impossible to prevent these accounts from being opened, be assured that we quickly close these accounts as soon as we’re aware that they exist. We appreciate the notifications that we receive from Zibbeters letting us know that they’ve found a new spam/scam message in their in-boxes.
Spam refers to unsolicited e-mail that’s usually promoting something. For example, we’ve had spammers promoting other online selling venues. Spam is annoying but not necessarily dangerous unless it’s being used as a vehicle for spreading computer viruses or contains a scam. A scam is a plan devised to deceive and lure you into a situation where the scammer convinces you to give him something but doesn’t follow through with payment. A scammer can be harvesting email addresses or trying to cheat you out of merchandise or cash.
So, how can you distinguish legitimate inquiries from bogus ones? Here are some clues…
If it sounds too good to be true, 99.99% of the time that’s exactly what it is–too good to be true!
If you’re asked to contact the message sender directly rather than through the Zibbet message system, beware. While certain legitimate sales situations may require you to exchange email directly with a buyer, this usually isn’t necessary. The same goes for requests for personal information such as address and phone number.
If the buyer asks for specific information that’s included in the item’s listing, such as price or availability, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.
If the buyer wants to send someone to pick up the item rather than having it delivered on your terms, a red flag should be raised in your mind.
If you’re being notified that you’re the last living heir to a huge estate, hit delete.
If the message is from a family stranded in a foreign place and they need you to send cash to help them get home, it’s a scam.
Broken English and spelling errors combined with other characteristics, are spam/scam indicators.
If you receive a message with one of more of these characteristics, contact Zibbet immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide the username of the individual sending the message. Do not respond to the message, either through your Zibbet account or directly. This will only encourage conversation that is pointless and may result in your direct e-mail account being compromised.
If you’re online at all, and as a Zibbet seller you have to be, it’s imperative that you educate yourself about both the positives and the negatives of this marvelous electronic jungle that we live and work in. Apply the same common sense that you use offline to online situations and keep yourself safe!
Best wishes for much success on Zibbet!
Also read Play it Safe!
Vicki is committed to assisting her fellow Zibbeters improve their shops for successful online selling. She is the owner of five Zibbet shops: LOC Design Studio, Denim and Pearls, A Stitch and a Prayer, Black Creek Crossing and Think Like a Fish. You can follow Vicki on Twitter and through her LOC Design Studio blog.