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Can You Recognize these “Online” Selling Red Flags?

Most know what to watch out for when buying products online including the money exchange, quality and delivery of the product. But can you spot red flags when selling?

Let’s say you post an item using your favorite phone app and receive a message from someone very interested in purchasing your item. The first red flag appears when they ask you to email them directly because they are using a “friends” account. The desire to get rid of the product and make some money prompts you to go ahead and make contact. Red flag number 2 shows when they return with a full price offer. Anyone who has done any selling online will know that it is common for haggling to take place. It’s wise to build an uplift into your price for that reason.

Should the potential buyer offer more than the selling price to “hold the product”, take note, there is a better chance that something notorious is up. During the course of your email exchange you may also be requested to remove the item from the app as soon as possible – flag number four. Most apps give you the ability to temporarily take an item off the market. The final red flag is when the buyer asks for your name and address to send a certified check. They claim this is the only way they can pay and that exchange of goods can take place once the check clears.

Seems legitimate doesn’t it? The key is in the certified check. By law your bank must cash the check within a couple of days. However it can take up to two weeks for it to be found fraudulent. When you cash the check it may appear like a safe exchange. However a few weeks later you may receive notice that the check is no good and the bank wants their money back. The seller is nowhere to be found since no app is used and no paper trail created. The uplifted full price offer doesn’t matter since the check is fake. And I’m guessing that by removing the product the criminal has the ability to turn around and sell your item unnoticed at a bargain price picking up full profit. So, before you sell, read the security advice on your app to keep you from losing your money.

Written by Ted Saul, Sr. Staff Writer

Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Plans and Project Management. He holds a master certificate in project management and has earned his MBA from Regis University. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn, TedS787 on Twitter or emailing

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