Someone just made an offer you can't refuse. Before closing the deal, consider if it is a buying and selling scam.
In this modern world of E-commerce, many sophisticated scams have evolved, costing consumers and legitimate businesses millions of dollars every year. The internet allows them to hide behind the impenetrable wall of anonymity, giving them the power to make the hit and dash from one sale to the next, all from the comfort of their keyboard. Though such classified sites such as eBay and CycleTrader are a great invention for the antique motorcycle consumer and vendor, they and many others are literally saturated with scam artists. While the items up for grabs may not seem like an outright scam, many of these people only have one goal in mind - robbing you for as much money as possible.
The scammy scenario
Many of the buying and selling scams are so comical that it's amazing that they are even attempted. Here is an example of one popular scheme that has been prevalent online for an extended period of time:
Someone contacts you with a strong interest in purchasing the motorcycle you listed on an auction-style website. Though he's located overseas, he's fortunate to have a friend in the states who can actually aid with shipment of the bike. To make matters more intriguing, this friend just happens to owe him a bit of money. By helping him to even the score, he's willing to sweeten the pot for your participation. Let's just say that your motorcycle was listed for $3000. The scam artist will claim that his friend owes him a total of $5000, all of which he will pay you with a genuine cashier's check. All he wants you to do is pay him the difference, take a little out for your troubles, then wait for his friend to pick up the order and ship it to the destination address.
After going against your better judgement, you go through with it and eventually realize that the cashier's check isn't worth the paper it's written on. Some banks take as long as a week up to a month to process such financial instruments. Even if the check appears legit and actually shows up in your account, it can still bounce, leaving you terribly frustrated and possibly out of your motorcycle.
While many of these tricks have become well known, scams keeping resurfacing, both old and new. This is because there are literally millions of probable marks lingering in cyberspace. Even though official internet trading facilitators have played a huge role in stopping scams as soon as they're detected, more advanced plots are still able to fool many of the inexperienced and unknowing. With crimes like identity theft on the rise, it has become much more difficult to blacklist a scam artist by email address or username.
Protecting yourself from buying and selling scams
Platforms for electronic sales have provided a significant amount of flexibility whether you're looking to buy or sell hard-to-find, low priced goods. The internet has made this as simple as browsing a few pages from that comfy chair in your office. Unfortunately, many of the rules you'll find in an antique bike shop do not apply here. It is important that not only protect your items and funds, but your identity as well. Remember not to use weak passwords and never respond to an email from a listing service that unexpectedly asks for your username and password. More than likely, this is simply a thief looking to make a bogus proposal or steal your identity. This is a serious crime. Why aid the cause?