Steps to take if you do unfortunately get scammed
1) Figure out if you were indeed scammed
It might be the case of a false alarm and you might have not actually got scammed. Don’t jump straight to conclusions but then again don’t avoid the obvious. There might be a reason why you haven’t received your item yet, such as the item being lost in the post (these things do happen), seller being unwell or just pure laziness.
You can find out if you were scammed by contacting the seller directly asking for an update on the transaction. If you get no reply you can look at the seller’s previous feedback to confirm the previous transactions were legit or not and just trying to contact the seller in various other ways. It would be good to have a contact number for the seller at this point. If you used eBay you are able to get the sellers contact number by requesting it on the eBay website!
2) Gathering evidence of payment and transaction communication details
It would be a good idea to keep payment details and communication between you and the seller in a safe place as you will need this information if things go totally wrong. This includes messages to the seller that were ignored as this proves you have been trying to contact the seller after the payment has been made.
3) Research the seller
You can do this using various ways:
Facebook: You can type in the seller’s name or an email address if you have one. If you do find them on Facebook this is a good sign, but try and sniff around without contacting the seller directly.
Other social websites: Myspace, hi5 etc. Use the same method as above.
search for people, business and places. You can type in the seller’s name to find any address details. Keep in mind though there might be a lot of people named john bob. So it might be hard to track down the correct person!
eBay: If you bought something from eBay and would like the contact number for the individual you can request this information straight from the website!
You can also use the website you found the seller on to sniff out any previous transactions. There might be a case where the seller has bought something, there isn’t any harm trying to ask that person to give you the seller’s address.
If you do find personal details about the seller
You can contact them and ask them regarding an update on the transaction. If the seller doesn’t decide to play nice you can let them know you will be going to the police and your solicitor in regards to the transaction. It would be a good idea to tell them that you have their address, contact details and other evidence (this might even work if you don’t it is worth a try). Also offer them the chance to refund you the payment if they can’t send the item.
If you don’t get a response from the seller, then go ahead and contact the police and seek advice from your solicitor. This might escalate the case further and help get your money back!
This might not work well if you don’t have concrete evidence such as the seller’s real name, address etc. As this would become a wild goose chase for the police and they wouldn’t really do much from my previous experiences anyway. But it is always worth a shot!
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