Top Awful OfferUp Scams: Avoid Fake Buyers & Sellers

When it comes to finding offers on OfferUp, it is impossible to be too cautious. That’s because unfortunately, many phony merchants are out there, eager to steal your money and leave you with nothing in exchange. In this article, we will address how to spot common scams. and how to know if you are dealing with a real person and not bad actors.

The ability to recognize these scammers is critical if you wish to avoid being their next victim. After all, if something appears to be too good to be true it almost always is, as we all know. For example, many bogus vendors may post things at incredibly low costs to entice shoppers to their websites. This should be your first sign that things may not be as they seem, because these posts are almost always fake.

What are some other red flags to watch for when it comes to scams on OfferUp? If you want to keep yourself safe from scammers and ensure that you are always getting the greatest discounts available when shopping on Offerup, you should continue reading.

In this article, we will expose the fakes, and help you learn how to identify fraudulent merchants before they steal your hard-earned money, as well as some helpful hints for avoiding them in the first place. We will also look at how to find trustworthy buyers and sellers, instead of those who are only offering fake items.

How to Recognize and Avoid Fake Sellers on Offerup: A Guide to Staying Safe

The following is a guide for how to stay safe from fake sellers and scammers on OfferUp. We will show you the questions that you should be asking, and point you to the answers that will expose the red flags you might otherwise miss.

1: Is the seller verified on OfferUp?

If a vendor has not been verified, it is recommended to avoid doing business with them. It really is that simple. Sellers that have not been verified are more likely to be scammers attempting to take advantage of you, and the best way to avoid that is by not interacting with them at all. 

It is important to note that you should never open links from someone that you do not know or have not interacted with. Unless you have verified that the person who sent them is legitimate, these could be phishing links, and therefore dangerous for you.

Before making a purchase, double-check that the seller has been verified on Offerup. You may rest assured that you are dealing with a reliable supplier in this manner. However, even if the vendor has been verified, there is still a possibility that they are a fraudster.

If you think that this may be the case with a verified seller that you’re considering, there are a few steps that you can take to be cautious. Before engaging in any business with them, thoroughly study their profile and customer interactions. Then, if something doesn’t seem right, don’t hesitate to contact OfferUp Customer Support for assistance.

2: Does the user have detailed descriptions and photos of their items?

If you are looking to buy something, always inspect the photos closely. If they look like stock photos, like they have been Photoshopped, or there are too many of them, the seller is likely trying to hide something. All of these are indicative of fake sites. Images should also show normal wear on used items. 

Also, take note of how detailed the descriptions are for the products of these online sellers on seller accounts.

If the product descriptions seem rushed or incomplete, it is possible that the seller is not being truthful about what they are selling. Of course, this is not always the case, but it is something to consider.

Make sure to ask the seller any questions you have about the item before purchasing. If they seem tense about having to answer questions, beware.

Also, if they are not willing to let you inspect the items in person before buying, that should be a red flag as well. It is best not to send money or have any exchange of money for an item that you have not seen in person, nor should you allow anyone into pressuring you to buy something that they won’t allow you to check out.

So remember, always look at photos closely and ask questions about any items for sale before purchasing them. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!

3: Do they answer all your questions quickly and politely?

Many scammers on OfferUp will not answer any of your questions, or they will be very vague. If the seller can’t answer simple questions about the product, it’s likely a scam. Also, if the seller is rude to you when asking questions, it’s another red flag.

Be especially careful of sellers who ask for payment before sending the product. This is a common scam tactic. Legitimate sellers will always send the product before asking for payment, while some may ask for a shipping fee. Always get the verification code.

If a seller asks for payment without sending the product, it’s probably a scam.

4: Are there any spelling errors or grammatical mistakes?

There are a few red flags in the profile of an OfferUp fake seller that you can watch out for. For example, suppose there are numerous grammatical or spelling errors on their listing. 

In that case, that is a big red flag because it shows that they are uninterested in making sure their writing has no mistakes and could mean that there may be something fishy going on with them.

On the other hand, if you see plenty of personal details and photos on their profile, this gives off a good sign because it shows dedication to being honest rather than hiding behind an anonymous profile, which is what scammers would do.

So always be vigilant when looking at profiles, and if anything seems suspicious, it’s best to move on.

5: Is it too good to be true?

Also, be suspicious of too-good-to-be-true deals. If you find an item that should be extremely expensive being sold for very cheap, watch out, as someone will rarely sell an expensive item for such a price.

If you’re still not sure if a seller is legitimate, ask for referrals from friends or family members who have used the seller’s services in the past. If these signs point to a scam, report the seller to OfferUp.

Unfortunately, several scammers are out there who take advantage of people looking to sell items online. These scammers will list fake or counterfeit items at ridiculously low prices to lure buyers in and then disappear with their money.

To avoid being scammed by these fake sellers, it’s essential to be vigilant and know what to look for. Be especially wary of listings that seem too cheap compared to similar items on other websites. Big ticket items being sold for extremely low prices are probably from fake accounts.

6: What else should you look for?

Check the seller’s feedback rating and whether they have negative or positive reviews. If they have a lot of negative ratings, or if any of their reviews mention suspicious behavior, steer clear!

Look for spelling errors and poor grammar in the listing. Scammers often make mistakes when creating a convincing fake listing if the seller asks for payment via wire transfer or gift card. This can be a sign of fake accounts looking to deal in fake payments, fake cash, a fake wire transfer money or fraudulent payment, or even a scam artist looking to perform identity theft.

Additionally, it could be a red sign if the seller has been confirmed but is still attempting to pressure you into making a transaction before meeting with them in person. Never send money via wire payment, or any other way, to someone if you don’t feel comfortable doing so no matter how much they pressure you.

That includes sending money via check, giving credit card details, or any untraceable payment methods. These are common red flags of online marketplace scams, such as app scams, shipping scams, fake check scams, code verification scams, and other online scams.

Of course, it is imperative to be careful when meeting in person or even exchanging contact details or contact info. And never send a personal check. Take care if using an app such as Cash App. Only use apps that offer buyer protection.

Let’s Look at the Top Online Scams

1 – App Scams – According to Payment Systems Regulator, an app scam, or authorized push payment scam,  is performed when a business or person is fooled into sending money to one of these fake sellers.

There are malicious payee scams in which a person is tricked into sending money for items that do not exist, and malicious redirection scams in which the fake seller pretends to be a bank and coerces the victim into moving money out of their account and into the fraudster’s account.

2 – Shipping Scams – Shipping scams, or Package Delivery Scams usually begin with a message via text or email that invites you to click a link to update your address or the preferred payment method. These messages may look authentic and can easily trick people into clicking out of fear that their packages may go to the wrong place or not be delivered at all. 

You should never click such links, or call any phone numbers that may be included with the message. Instead, check your account for the business in question. For example, if you receive an email or text that seems to be from Amazon, sign directly into your Amazon account as you usually do and see if you have any notifications there. 

3 – Fake Check Scams – There are several different types of fake check scams, according to the US Federal Trade Commission. In a Mystery Shopping Scam, the fraudster will inform you that you have been hired as a mystery shopper. Your first assignment will be to evaluate a business that sells money orders, gift cards, or wire transfers like MoneyGram or Western Union. 

Although the businesses you are evaluating may be legit, the one you are working for is not. They will send you a check and tell you to cash it and wire the money to someone else. The recipient will be long gone before your bank realizes that the check was fake, and you will be on the hook for paying that money back…if you aren’t arrested.

4 – Personal Assistant Scams – In a Personal Assistant Scam, the fraudster will inform you that you have been hired as a personal assistant. You will be sent a check which is to be cashed into your bank. You are instructed to take the money and buy several gift cards and then told to send the pin numbers to your “boss,” who, again, will be long gone before you realize you’ve been scammed.

Car Wrap Deals, Prize Offers, and Overpayment scams all work similarly. They all send you a check which you cash in your bank, and then they “take the money and run” while you’re trying to explain why you cashed a fake check.

Some Common Questions

What are the best times to shop on Offerup to avoid fake sellers?

It is best to shop on Offerup during the day. Most fake sellers will post their items at night because they know fewer people are on Offerup; therefore, less likely to get caught. Plus, it is much safer to meet someone during the day than at night.

So always meet the seller at a safe location with plenty of people around, and always carry your cell phones with you. Be wary of sellers who keep their location private or charge outrageous shipping costs.

What deceptive practices do fake sellers typically employ to scam people?

Common OfferUp Scams include, but are not limited to, the following: requesting money over Western Union, only accepting cash, fake checks or credit cards, overpayment scams, meeting at an inconvenient location, check scams, other types of scams, or anything similar.

All of these signals should raise warning flags in your mind since they indicate a desire to defraud you as a prospective customer. You should also beware of any malicious links in questionable posts on online marketplaces.

What should I do if the seller has negative feedback?

If you see that a seller has bad reviews, it is probably better not to use this person as your potential buyer/seller. This does not mean that all Sellers with negative reviews are trying to scam you, but most of these individuals have had plenty of experience scaring off buyers before, so proceed with caution!


There are various warning signs of a scammer’s listing. It is vital to be diligent when working, buying, selling, or even playing online. Never give out personal information such as checking info or credit card info to someone who shows any signs of the scams that this article has discussed. It is always best to deal with well-known sites and businesses and to do so directly from their website and not from a link, app, email, or text message.

bryan rucker writer for romancescams
Written by Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker writes about all things related to online dating and lifestyle. He has written hundreds of articles, specializing in online dating scams, and has written other fun and exciting topics in the online dating space. Read more of Bryan's articles.

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