RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Secondhand shopping online can lead to some great deals, but it can also lead to trouble.

That’s because scammers are lurking on secondhand shopping sites waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting customers.

Secondhand shopping is becoming more popular every day because of current inflationary times. People are looking to get the most for their money, and scammers go where the money is.

When it comes to scams it seems like there are as many variations as there are secondhand items to buy online.

“They’re increasing because the whole world has a cost-of-living crisis,” author and cybersecurity expert Chris Bluvshtein of VPNOverview said.

If you are selling an item on a marketplace site, one of the most common scams is to get you to talk to the potential buyer off-site.

“If they do that, you are moving to a place where the conversation isn’t tracked,” Bluvshtein said. “From that point, it’s much easier for them to have you do a different payment method, or make you do something you ordinarily wouldn’t have done.”

Regarding payments, don’t let someone convince you to use PayPal’s friends and family option because you can’t get your money back that way.

“Never buy or sell something with that method, it’s essentially a back transfer,” Bluvshtein said. “Use the goods and services PayPal offers.”

Paypal explains the differences between the two services here.

Additionally, another trick scammers like to use, is claiming you never shipped the goods and then asking your bank for a refund. Protect yourself.

“Take a picture of the item, the package and the box,” Bluvshtein said. “Take a picture of the receipt and send it by recorded post, something that will have to be signed for, so you have proof they signed and received it.”

Other precautions one can take:

Guard your personal information;
Don’t be pressured to make a fast transaction;
Understand marketplace policies.

When it comes to secondhand shopping online, most platforms bear no responsibility for fraud. The sites say it’s up to the user to take all the precautions necessary to safeguard themselves.