By Nawara Fattahova

Thieves are always coming up with new ways and tools to scam people through mobile phones, email, Internet and other technologies. When a particular scam becomes repeated and widespread, awareness becomes higher and fewer people fall victim to these scammers.

One of the newest trends is for scammers to target people selling used items on websites where people buy and sell stuff. Many users of a popular local website for buying and selling all kinds of goods and services reported scamming attempts by people calling them from international numbers, claiming they are interested in buying the items that are displayed online for sale.

When the seller wonders how the potential buyer – who is abroad – will pay them, the scammer will offer the following options: A shipping company courier will come to the seller to collect the item and pay cash, but the seller has to buy some kind of cards with credit for mobile phones or games. Or the buyer will claim they will pay online to the main website, and send a link to the seller to check the payment. After clicking on this link, it asks the seller to enter their bank account number and other personal data.

At this point, most users realize or suspect that the entire transaction is fishy and stop further communication with these scammers pretending to be serious buyers. But sometimes people are busy or get distracted and just follow the directions without realizing they might be uploading their credit card data to a fake payment site.

Sellers should never send copies of documents, personal data and most importantly financial information to any potential ‘buyer’ and should not upload their credit card or bank details to any links sent from buyers. If a buyer is avoiding personally collecting the item, this is a red flag. Sellers should always pay attention to where calls are coming from, especially those over apps like Whatsapp.

Anyone online should be aware that scammers scour social media and websites for personal information and will use a variety of stories to get personal details. Never upload bank information, pin codes, passwords or any other personal details online or to any link sent from an unknown or unverified source.