June 16, 2024


The shocking revelation of a survey by Which? is that in the last two years, a considerable one-third fraction of consumers have encountered scams on used-goods digital marketplaces, with Depop drawing the largest number of fraud-related complaints.

The research unveils that duped customers were delivered wrong items (15% of cases) or nothing at all (15% of cases). Some received empty parcels (11%) or counterfeit items (10%).

Reported scams on these purchases formed the majority (66%) of authorised push payment frauds as per latest data from UK finance. This added up to 76,946 reports and a substantial loss of £40.9m in the first half of 2023 alone.

A glaring 57% of Depop’s customers participating in the survey confessed experiencing a scam on the platform. Other platforms weren’t far behind; about half of consumers on Shpock (53%), Preloved (51%), and Nextdoor (51%) admitted the same. Survey results from Amazon Marketplace, Gumtree, and eBay highlighted that nearly one third of buyers experienced scams, while this number was one forth and one fifth for Facebook Marketplace and Vinted, respectively.

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The survey also touched upon prospective frauds faced by sellers. 39% of sellers on Nextdoor claimed having encountered scams in the past two years. This was followed by 26% of sellers admitting the same on Preloved and Shpock while 23% on Depop. Certain platforms like Amazon Marketplace, Facebook, and eBay had about 20% of sellers being scam victims. On other platforms like Gumtree and Vinted, the numbers were around 16% and 11% respectively.

The Director of Policy and Advocacy from Which?, Rocio Concha, voiced concerns over the alarming rate of scams in used-goods marketplaces. She advised buyers to thoroughly review profiles of sellers, especially when considering expensive purchases.

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Concha stressed that the obligation to ensure scam-free experiences wasn’t just for buyers. She urged these platforms to also take responsibility for implementing rigid checks against fraudulent activities and removing scam profiles timely.

This survey also found that numerous buyers and sellers raised complaints about their transactions with the marketplaces.

Watch: [Don’t Waste Your Money: Top online scams](https://studio.youtube.com/video/qPEQTE8H4G8/edit).

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an authorised push payment fraud?

Authorised push payment (APP) fraud is when a scammer convinces you to send money to a bank account controlled by them. As the payment is set up by yourself, these payments are not easy to refund.

What measures do online marketplaces take to control scams?

Most online marketplaces have safety measures in place to deter scams. They employ technology to monitor and detect suspicious activity, user guidelines, and report buttons to streamline user-reported issues. However, as scams get complex, these measures need constant enhancements.

How can buyers protect themselves from online scams?

Be cautious while buying from seller profiles without reviews or with negative reviews. For high-value purchases, ask for additional proof of ownership or authenticity. Never use payment methods that don’t offer buyer protection. Engage in purchases only through the marketplace’s platform and not externally.