Too often I see people who want to trade watches fall victim to scams that are easy to avoid once you know what to look for.
There are all types of scams in the watch Trading game. But generally speaking, you tend to run into the below 5 the most. Some of these are very easy to identify, and some of these are not so much.
The point of this content is to help you become aware of them now, so you never get burned or taken advantage of. Please feel free to bookmark this article, and/or share it as many places and with as many people as you wish, because these should never happen to you if you take the proper precautions.
- PayPal Scams – There are a few variations of the scam that involves PayPal. Typically, you get approached by someone who is seemingly a potential buyer of your watch and they want to pay you your exact asking price of your watch, or even offer to pay you more than your asking price if you can do payment through PayPal. This should be an immediate warning flag. 98% of serious buyers are either going to reach out to you first to learn more about the watch before making an offer, or make an offer that is more aligned in their favor that’s lower than your asking price. So be extra careful when getting at the asking price. It does happen so I’m not saying it can’t, but I always shoot the buyer a message first to confirm they’re legitimate and really made that offer. The other piece of the PayPal scam is you will have someone tell you to send them an email, a message, or note with your PP address. They will then use a PP email that isn’t there and send you funds that later get flagged as fraudulent (meaning they hack someone else’s PP to send you funds that aren’t theirs), or they use your address to hack it. Always go through the platform you’re on like eBay when completing these types of transactions, or stick to bank wires in order to avoid these scams. No one should need to get your info outside of a safe portal.
- E-Mail Phishing Scams – This type of scam can be a bit tricky. But if you pay attention and look for the warning signs, you’ll be able to avoid this one no problem. Usually, the way this plays out is someone will get your email address from a watch forum, one of your listings, or a compromised email list. They will pose as either a well known dealer on the forums, someone who is interested in buying your watches, and/or someone you even know who you’ve done business with. Where it gets tricky is the email address these scammers use can actually look really close to the email of someone you recognize. So if you don’t pay attention, you can miss the signal. The body of the email will usually instigate you to buy a set of watches from them that are well known and popular models that people want at a price that is low enough to grab your attention and distract you from the fact the email is not the person you know/trust. They’ll say something like “Hey I have a Rolex Daytona, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak for $XX,XXX.” They may even offer you watches you’ve bought before to really trick you. The point here is the prices they’re asking are usually too good to be true. So that’s the flag. The second step for you is to reach out to that person directly and confirm it’s really them sending that email, and/or you can just double check the email letter for letter to see if it matches the actual email they’ve sent you before. There is also a variation of this scam where someone will send you an email that looks like it’s from a forum admin, and they want you to click a link or change your password. These get sent from fake PayPal admin emails too. Don’t click the links in these emails unless you’re certain it’s official, and never give out your password.
- Bait & Switch– The Bait & Switch can be done by either showing you real pictures of a watch, real pictures of someone else’s ID, fake pictures of a watch, or a fake ID. Scammers have used all of the above to get people to think they are a legitimate person with a real watch for sale. The really good scammers will use someone else’s real watch pictures, real ID, and a valid address to get you convinced you’re dealing with someone real. The not so smart scammers will use shitty fake pics, and a non-valid ID to try to scam you. The best way to avoid getting burned here is to connect with them on a few platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and to FaceTime call them. Remember VIP**** people who have nothing to hide don’t hide things to sell a multi-thousand dollar watch. Scammers are cowards and will always deflect your request to avoid being seen. So take a few extra steps and you’ll be fine. Also, it always helps to Google the address you’re shipping to and of who you’re dealing with to make sure it seems legitimate.
- The Story – Spotting a scammer is easier than you think once you read through their bullshit. Most people who scam others always have a story to complicate logistics or how they got the watch they’re selling. Whether it’s that their great grandpa handed it down to them with no boxes and papers and that’s why they’re selling a new Rolex for $500 or that they have a cousin in New York who is in the military and that’s why they need the watch shipped there even though they live in Serbia and they will pay you by Western Union, or they’re a Nigerian prince who wants you to send PayPal to an address with no real letters in it. If there’s a story that doesn’t add up or seems to off chances are it probably is. Don’t get caught up in the emotional anticipation of a sale that you blind yourself from the obvious that this is probably not legit. Use your intuition.
- Robbery – The final scam is the most dangerous and also one of the most easy to avoid. This occurs with in-person deals. Whenever you go to meet up with someone to either buy a watch or sell one, meet at a safe place in public where you can do things like inspect the watch, count money, identify fake bills, and deposit cash all in one place. Take someone else along with you for extra security, or if you can’t have a predetermined quick and easy exit so once the deal is done you can leave unfollowed or approached. The best spots I like to meet people to do these deals depending on the size of the transaction and what’s open are – Police Station, Bank, Coffee Shop, Watch Dealer or Repair Shop. If you take these precautions and plan out your meeting on mutual ground, and vet the person beforehand you should be good to go.
I hope this helps you guys not get burned in this trade. If you just use your logic, intuition, take proper steps to protect yourself, and vet the person you’re talking to, you’ll be fine and confident in your trades no matter what comes your way.