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 support@zibbet.com. 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.

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12 Responses to “How to Recognize and Avoid E-mail Scams”

  1. NiftyKnits

    The key phrase in your article is “If it sounds too good to be true, 99.99% of the time that’s exactly what it is–too good to be true!”

    Other keys to look out for are “what is your final price?” - this is because so many online scams start on ebay, I think. Obviously on zibbet our final price is the price we’ve listed the item for. Offering payment by Western Union is another, and offering to pay way over the odds with the condition that the seller pays the excess to somebody else. I’ve had all these and more - but no, I don’t click!

  2. ThatsJazzyStamps

    Thanks Vicki! I haven’t had one through Zibbet but many through my regular email. Stay safe everyone! Maybe they’ll get bored and go home when noone responds!!!

  3. hilobeads

    Another good indication is if the address email sent to is “undisclosed recipients” - and I haven’t had one in my Zibbet messages either yet.

  4. woodenknotart

    “If you’re asked to contact the message sender directly”

    This is the case on all 4 try’s to scam my site. Zibbet is pretty quick at removing the sender, I just look to the senders listing, they are usually already taken off the site. The one that was still on had just signed up that day.

  5. acraftyarab

    I get a lot of these emails in my box, I think because my shop is so active. I wish there was a way to delete the emails from our site email boxe. I hate seeing them again when I’m looking for real customer’s emails.

  6. cosmichippodesigns

    Thank you. This has happened to me 3 times on my other sites and each time the scammer chose my most expensive handbag. I’ve never fallen for it because of all the tip-offs this article has provided.

  7. meadowmuffin2010

    I wish I had this information a year ago when I first started out. I wasted time with contact and finally it sunk in that this guy was suspicious. You listed all the things he did. He wanted a bulk of items, he wanted to pay outside of my shop’s policies, he wanted to have someone come to my location to pick up. I was naive and excited that I could have such a sale that I was far too trusting. Luckily I got wise..finally. He found my website, not the Zibbet shop

  8. bentrealm

    I had received one of these recently. Of course I had already replied before reading this article that confirmed my suspicions of it’s fishiness. I had politely declined to sell the item in that manner, and declined to give that additional information. If had seen this before the replying, I definitely would not have bothered to reply. Of course it wasn’t until after my 1st reply that they mentioned wanting my phone number, address & to have someone come pick it up, etc.

    Just went and reported it.

    I wish people wouldn’t do this sort of thing, it really gives me this icky feeling that is hard to get rid of without copious application of yummy food, that I never have at home when it’s needed. Not that I mean over eating said yummy food, but rather gratuitously enjoying it by paying more attention to it’s yumminess than usual….

  9. DancingRainbows

    Thanks Vicki for all the good reminders. I get ‘em and just send ‘em on to you. Thanks for always taking care of the scammers :)

  10. BeadCactus

    Well said. New sellers are targets to scams. That exciting potential for a new sale, and the blinders come off. Scammers are counting on naivete. Welcome to the real world.

  11. cybelula

    Be careful with a man named Harris whose email is: harriswhite719@yahoo.com

    He sent me an identical email on other art site. He first asks about the item and after our reply he writes as follows:

    Thanks for the respond,i am an oceanographer and am currently on the sea at the moment, i am buying the item as a gift for my mother,i want to make it a surprise gift for her,she won’t know anything about the gift until they get delivered to her, so i want you to reassure me that the item is in good condition as you have described.i can only pay through PayPal.So please kindly get back to me immediately so i can proceed with the payment and after the payment has been done,i have a pick up agent that will come around to pick the Item up immediately after payment.

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Meet Our Columnists

Judy Youngquest
Judy runs the 'Fantastic Five' column where she features her favorite 5 Zibbet items every week. It's a must read!

Vicki Schofield
Vicki runs the 'Success On Zibbet' column where she covers all aspects of selling on Zibbet and having the most successful shop you can.

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