8 OfferUp Scams to Watch Out For





The OfferUp app is a great way to buy and sell items locally. Download the free app and start browsing nearby deals on everything from cars and electronics to furniture. Negotiate prices check out people’s profiles, and purchase locally but be aware scams are running in online marketplaces. Unfortunately, there are bad actors here too.



What Is OfferUp?

This app offers the chance to purchase items through in-person transactions. It stresses a mobile-friendly approach. OfferUp was released in 2011 and has 20 million active users.

offerup scams

Can You Get Scammed Through the OfferUp App?

Scammers have found the app too. Don’t risk your hard-earned cash, compromise sensitive info like a bank account number, or fall prey to a fake check.

Following is what you need to know to thwart OfferUp scammers.

Be Aware of These Most Common OfferUp Scams

The common scams include fake items and bad pay methods. Plus the following ones.

Remember OfferUp uses the online payment platform Stripe.



1. OfferUp Verification Codes Scam

Many scammers who try this one pose as a buyer. They ask for a phone number to text a verification code. OfferUp doesn’t use these. A scammer creates these to steal info. The real application provides a “TruYou’ feature. Watch out for these suspicious postings.

2. OfferUp Shipping Scams

The bad actor here can be either buying or selling. Here’s one way this works. The buyer says the package didn’t arrive. They demand you pay their money back.

Another scam has the seller asking you to cover shipping costs. They might even ask you to use a different carrier. Avoid scam shipping transactions by sticking with the application.

3. OfferUp Car Scams

There are several. A seller might have great reviews and all the right contact info. But you get a fake title. Scammers post pics on their accounts of cars they don’t own. Or buyers get scammed when sellers ask them to wire money through Western Union or an electronic gift card.



Knowing the market value helps. Don’t make a wire payment. Watch out for too-good-to-be-true prices.

4. OfferUp Email Scams

You get an email that claims it’s from the OfferUp website. If you click any email links, they take you to a fake site where there’s a checkout page. You can lose sensitive information. Look for bad grammar to spot fake sites.

5. Extra Shipping Fees OfferUp Scam

Selling items locally can mean shipping them. Some sellers insist there are extra charges. Even rushed shipping costs are calculated and displayed under the listed price. Anything added afterward like a fee for wire transfers you shouldn’t accept anyway. It is a scam.

A buyer should be suspicious of a seller wanting to add to the costs of shipping.



6. OfferUp Multiple Postings Scam

Watch out for the phishing link here. There are multiple listings with the same information on different platforms. Blurry images and the same email address and contact details with no reviews on the account should set off alarms. Check the seller’s profile to see if there’s a different address on new accounts.

7. OfferUp Overpayment Scam

The scammer may pay extra. Then they ask the seller to return all the money so they can issue a new payment. With these overpayment scams, the first payment hasn’t gone through. Never wire transfer money.

8. Fake Checks

If someone wants to pay with a check, politely decline. If it bounces, you’ll be on the hook for the bad check fee. Only talk to potential buyers inside the application. Even a cashier’s check or a certified check can be a problem.

How to Avoid OfferUp Scams

Buyers and sellers need to be aware of other users looking to scam them. Here’s how to avoid bad actors looking to commit identity theft.



  1. Watching out for fake accounts means researching a seller’s history. A buyer needs to be aware of no reviews and duplicate information.
  2. The Google Voice Verification Code Scam uses a cell number. The scammer asks for one. Only use the app’s messaging system.
  3. Watch out for an investment opportunity that requires you to send money.
  4. Don’t click on links that look like they come from the OfferUp website. Especially when they ask you to log in with your password and email.
  5. Make sure you have a strong password. Using a random password generator tool helps.

Is It Safe to Give Your Address or Phone Number on the OfferUp App’s Messaging System?

The messaging system is safe. However, they suggest you don’t give away personal information that includes your cell phone number, account info, password, and/or email address. That includes your snail mail address.

Stay within the application for all communications. Never send any info to verify posts outside of OfferUp.

Asking specific questions can help you to verify seller claims about products. It’s a good idea to read the item detail page before you start asking questions. That way you’ll be better prepared.

If you think you need to report someone, you can go to their profile and tap the appropriate spot in the upper right corner. There’s more to do. Read the instructions by following the link.



Offer up also suggests that you report any illegal activity to local police stations. Include the event ID when possible. They also suggest you get the attending police officer to give them certain details about your case.

Is OfferUp Safe and Legit?

Overall, OfferUp is legitimate and safe. However, you need to be aware you’re dealing with third-party providers. That means they aren’t responsible for anything that happens off the site after you’ve connected to their app.

There are red flags that you need to watch out for. For example, the app suggests that it’s best to use cash for in-person transactions. OfferUp has safety tips and policies. For example, these suggest that you pick a place to meet at a busy time of day. Like cafés or grocery stores that are well-lit and monitored.

If you need to report someone, here’s the link the company provides.



Image: Depositphotos


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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

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