The infamous scammer from one of the islands southeast of Florida surfaced again on the Show & Sell pages last week. He almost got away with his game. This person posts very desirable dolls and very fair prices which is, in itself, a giveaway. There are always those who will jump on great deals even when they scream "too good to be true." Luckily the gal who sent him money was warned - almost too late - and got a refund from Paypal. Whew! Close one. I'm sure he's not finished. Neither are the others. They're out there. They change names, lie about references and keep coming back!
If you are the buyer:
1. Ask for at least 3 recent, checkable references and then contact the references and ask them for information about the transaction to make sure that the seller isn't making it all up.
2. If the seller won't answer you or gets pissy, RUN and tell the rest of us what happened.
3. Ask the seller to take a picture (or pictures) of the item with a piece of paper that has his/her name printed clearly with the date. Scammers will not hesitate to sell stuff they don't have and will also steal pictures of merchandise that doesn't belong to them. (They do that even when they have the stuff to sell because they are too lazy to take their own photos.)
4. Do not pay with a money order, cash, personal check or non-credit Paypal unless you are absolutely positive you know with whom you are dealing. You have no recourse at all if the transaction goes wrong when paying thus.
5. Post questions asking for references on the doll boards. Contact those who respond.
6. If the seller balks at any question, that is your red flag. If the transaction makes you uncomfortable, you can live without the doll and you can certainly live without losing your money.
If you are the seller you can be scammed, too, if you're not careful.
1. Insure everything you ship if you don't know the buyer well.
2. It's not a bad idea to get eBay references for buyers. Look at the feedback they leave. Some are never happy with anything.
3. Don't ship overseas without tracking and insurance unless you know the buyer and they are willing to pay you via the Personal tab on Paypal. (I do not endorse this method as it is illegal to circumvent Paypal fees. That's my public opinion.)
4. Do not accept any type of payment that makes you uncomfortable.
5. If you list Buy it Now items, make sure you require immediate payment. Otherwise, those without money to pay will just be stopping your auction by bidding.
6. NEVER ship before you have cash in hand.
7. If you are asked to ship to an address other than that of the person paying, you may be scammed. They finagle getting dolls by having sellers send a doll to someone who sends them money and then they claim they didn't get the doll and on and on. An exception to this is if you won't ship overseas and the buyer asks you to ship to their shipping buddy. Get that person's email address and confirm in writing who they are and what they intend to do. You have to hope they are not in cahoots. You can avoid this by learning how to ship overseas.
If you can think of anything to add to this list, feel free to post it in the comments section. I will put this post in the sidebar in a few days for reference in the future.