Common Scams

Popular scams

Although rare, scams occur in every category. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Vehicle scams (cars, motorcycles, boats, powersports vehicles, etc.)

How to avoid them:
Staying safe is simple - see it before you buy it. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it is, and if the person refuses to let you see the item in person, don't trust them.

More details:

  • It could affect any category from cars, motorcycles, through boats and powersports vehicles, to RVs or tractors.
  • Usually, the scammers copy real ads for real vehicles and decrease the price.
  • The seller will claim he or she had to move or gives another excuse for why you can't see the vehicle in person (examples: they moved overseas and can't register the vehicle, they moved for a job, they are in the army or on the "high seas", etc.)
  • They will create a sense of urgency and pressure you to decide fast.
  • They will ask for money for the vehicle, but will never ship it.
  • Sometimes, they might pretend to use a protection program, but they are faking the email addresses and logos of other companies (examples: Oodle "Bill of Sale", Paypal confirmation program, eBay vehicle protection).

Pet scams (puppies, horses, birds, monkeys, etc.)

How to avoid them:
Staying safe is simple - see it before you buy it. Beware of pets that are otherwise expensive or rare being offered for adoption or for very cheap.

More details:

  • It could affect any category such as dogs, cats, horses, birds, monkeys -- anything that tends to be expensive where they can trick you with a really good price.
  • The seller will claim they had to move or give another excuse for why you can't see the animal in person (examples: moved to Africa for missionary or development work, sold the pet but know someone else who might be selling one somewhere else, sold the pet to someone who moved overseas and now they want to sell it back, etc.).
  • They will ask for shipping money even if the animal was initially listed as free. The animal will never arrive.

Job scams

How to avoid them:
If someone offers you a work from home opportunity that involves cashing a check (except for your paycheck after you started working), don't trust them, it might be a scam.

More details:

  • The scammers will give you a "work-from-home" job.
  • They will send you a (fake) check so you can furnish your home office and ask you to send money to various providers for equipment.
  • The equipment will never arrive and your bank will bounce the check after a few weeks. Some people have lost $1000s this way
  • Another danger of "work-from-home" offers is that you might be tricked to invest money in a pyramid scheme and loose it, or end up aiding illegal activities.

Electronics scams

How to avoid them:
Don't buy expensive "brand new" or "unlocked" electronics such as phones or computers from sellers who don't have websites and want to do business through email or chat. You have no guarantee they will send you the item back. Only buy items like this in person or on reputable retail websites.

More details:

  • Ads for unlocked expensive phones, brand-new brand-name electronics.
  • Usually, the scammers will simply take your money and never send the goods.
  • This one is harder to tell, but we advise that you only buy electronics in person, or from someone you know. Don't buy from someone who seems to have a lot of different items and is dealing through an email address or chat and doesn't have a professional-looking website. If they have a website, they might be a legitimate seller, but it is not guaranteed.

Fake rentals

How to avoid them:
Don't rent a place unless you were able to see it in person. If you are moving to a different place or renting a vacation rental, don't pay the deposit until you have talked to the person on the phone and established that they are trustworthy.

More details:

  • The scammers will post an ad for an apartment for rent that is very cheap.
  • Usually, they copy legitimate ads for real apartments and decrease the price.
  • They will ask you to send them money for deposit and shipment of the keys, but the rental is not real.

Fraudulent renters

How to avoid them:
Don't accept any reason for why you should send the renter money before they sign a lease.

More details:

  • They will tell you they really want to rent your apartment, but are overseas or somewhere far. (Examples: models from London, professors from overseas, etc.).
  • They will offer to send you a check for rent and deposit as soon as possible, but then make up an excuse and ask you to send them all or some of the money back. (Examples: they changed their mind, they sent too much by mistake, the check was too large because it was from their agency, etc.)
  • The check is fake and your bank will bounce it in a few weeks.

Fraudulent buyers

How to avoid them:
We do all we can to stop scammers from contacting you, but if you get a message from a buyer offering to pay more than you are asking or asking you to ship to a foreign country, don't reply to them. Never cash a check from someone you haven't met in person, it might be fake. If you forward the suspicious message you received to, our Trust & Safety mechanisms will analyze the message and possibly stop the user from contacting other people.

More details:

  • They will ask if you would be willing to ship your item, often to overseas. (Examples: it's a gift for someone who is studying or working in Africa, it's for their client, etc.)
  • At best, you will ship your item and not receive any money.
  • They might send you a check for more money than you asked for and ask you to send some amount back under a complicated excuse. (Examples: send money to their "shipping agent", the check was from their "client" and they ask you to send them their cut, they made a mistake, etc.).
  • The check is fake and your bank will bounce it in a few weeks.

Fraudsters posing as Oodle or other known sites

How to avoid them:
Oodle does not handle any aspect of the financial transaction, does not provide "Bills of Sale", or any escrow services. If you are not sure if an email is from us, contact us here.

How to tell a scammer.

The best way to tell a scam is to be familiar with popular scams that occur these days. However, in addition to that, scammers often share some of these other characteristics:

  • The grammar and spelling in the listing or the messages is poor.
  • They don't answer your questions.
  • They don't send you the additional pictures you asked for.
  • They make up elaborate excuses for why they can't meet in person.
  • They create a sense of urgency, pressuring you to finish the transaction fast.
  • They avoid talking on the phone (for example, they are never home when you call).