Identify common buying and selling scams

Your safety and security are our top priority. You can protect yourself by learning how to spot scams and avoid being taken advantage of. While we can’t list every potential scam, here are some of the most common scenarios to look out for.

Send me a verification code

It’s likely a scam if a buyer asks you for a verification code and says it’s so they can verify your listing. This typically means that they’re trying to log into your account and need the code to get past the two-step verification feature.

Safety tip: Never share verifications codes or one-time passwords with anyone. OfferUp does not send verification codes to verify listings. If anyone asks you for a verification code, it’s a scam. Sharing codes can lead to account takeovers and compromise your sensitive information.

Send me money outside the app

It may be a scam when a seller asks you to pay for a shipped item outside of OfferUp. For example, the seller might request a certified check, electronic gift card, or a wire payment through a service like Western Union or MoneyGram. Or, they may ask you to pay through a service like CashApp, Venmo, Zelle, or Paypal. These types of requests are all red flags and common ways that scammers get you to pay for an item you’ll never receive.

Safety tip: Sending money outside the OfferUp app is risky. We recommend that you do not respond to these kinds of requests. If you’re buying an item that will be shipped to you, you'll pay through the OfferUp payment system. This ensures you’re protected by our 2-Day Purchase Protection and gives us a record of your payment in case we need to investigate.

Send me a deposit

It may be a scam if a local seller posts a large or heavy item, like a sofa, and offers to deliver the item to you as a perk. But, they won’t let you inspect the item in person before you buy it. And, they won’t deliver the item until you send them a small deposit outside of the OfferUp payment system. Once they get your deposit money, they never deliver the item.

Safety tip: Never pay a deposit for any item. If a local seller won’t let you inspect an item in person before buying it, avoid them. If they ask for an upfront deposit or for you to send money outside of OfferUp, ditch them and find a new seller to work with.

Price is too good to be true

It’s likely a scam when a seller posts a brand name item at an unreal price. Scammers use low prices to lure in potential victims. For example, they may post a new iPhone 15 Pro for $50. But, the phone sells for $1,000 brand new. It’s doubtful that an iPhone 15 (new or used) would be priced so low. Plus, they only use stock images on their listing because they don’t actually have the phone. If the price is too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. 

Safety tip: Do your research. Check the seller’s OfferUp profile to see if they have a good reputation. Check their item listing. Do they provide enough detail about the item? Do they use real photos or stock photos? Look up the item’s retail price. Is the seller’s price realistic? If you’re suspicious, it’s best to avoid them and find a new seller.

Click this link or log in to this website

It may be a scam when a buyer or seller sends you a link to check out an item on another website. When you visit the website, it asks you to log in or to provide some personal information. If you do, scammers are able to steal the information you provide.

Safety tip: Never click on suspicious links that may take you off of the OfferUp platform. Additionally, do not log in to potentially unsecured or malicious websites. To learn more about keeping your account safe, see Tips to maintain a secure account.

Investment opportunity

It’s likely a scam if a seller posts a listing about an “investment opportunity” or an "easy way to make money.” But to take advantage of the opportunity, they ask you to send them money first.

Safety tip: Avoid any listings or sellers that talk about investment opportunities, money-making schemes, or pyramid schemes. These types of listings are not allowed on OfferUp. If you come across one, please report it to OfferUp so we can remove it from our platform.

Can’t ship through OfferUp

It’s likely a scam if a seller tells you they can’t use OfferUp’s platform to ship or accept payments because of some excuse. Here are some common examples:

  • “It’s easier for me to ship through eBay, so I’m going to send you a link to buy my item on their website.”
  • “I can’t access my OfferUp shipping label, so I’m not going to use it to ship my item.”
  • “I always have problems getting paid through OfferUp, so can you just Zelle me the money?”

Safety tip: Any attempt to lure you off of our platform is likely a scam. For shipped items, you should always buy, pay, and ship through OfferUp’s services to ensure you’re covered by our 2-Day Purchase Protection.

Pay more than the asking price

It’s likely a scam when a buyer offers to pay more than the listed price for your item. They usually follow up by asking you to ship the item to a different address than the one they originally provided, or to use a shipping carrier other than USPS. They may even ask if they can pay you through a third-party cash app instead of through the OfferUp app.

Safety tip: Avoid these types of transactions as they are very likely scams. Scammers may entice you with an overpayment, but what they’re trying to do is get your item without paying you at all.

Send me a gift card

It’s likely a scam when a buyer asks if they can pay you in gift cards for your item, rather than in cash or through OfferUp. This means they may be trying to give you fake or worthless gift cards in exchange for your item. Additionally, beware if a buyer asks for any type of refund in the form of gift cards. They use this tactic to get you to send them free money.

Safety tip: If you’re selling an item in person, only accept cash. If you’re shipping an item, always have buyers pay you through OfferUp as it's the most secure option. Additionally, beware of buyers or sellers who ask you to send them gift cards (electronic or physical) for any reason.

Report scams to OfferUp

If you experience any of the above scams or potential new ones, please report them to OfferUp so we can take action to protect the community. If you’ve encountered illegal activity, we recommend you also contact your local authorities. To learn more see, Reporting a serious issue to OfferUp.

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