When it comes to watch trading, you’re dealing with assets that are in the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars range.
The industry is polluted with scammers, robbers, cheats, liars, embellishers, and even murderers.
The point of sharing this info with you isn’t to discourage you from watch trading. It’s to tell you the truth. That if you don’t perform the proper due diligence on the person you’re buying/selling watches to, you could end up – best case scenario losing a lot of money and worst case scenario your life.
The point of the article is to ensure you never have to deal with any level of threat like this. So I want to share a few best practices to ensure you always feel comfortable doing a watch deal in person.
In person deals can happen frequently in the watch trading game. Cash is a great alternative to doing bank wires and can save people fees. That said, in-person deals can also be the most risky if not addressed correctly.
Before you ever meet anyone to do a watch deal whether you’re buying or selling or trading, you need to take the proper precautions to protect yourself so you don’t get robbed or scammed.
Always make sure you have a strong sense of who the person you’re dealing with is. The age of the internet has made it easy for people to cover up their actual self.
Rule of thumb is, people who are legit and want to do good business with you will:
1.) Make themselves available to provide you with whatever you need to be comfortable with the deal beforehand (within reason). Some ideas as to how to get comfortable with your counterparty include
a.) Do a FaceTime call with them to see them and the watch in their possession.
b.) Connect with them on any social media platform. Most people who have nothing to hide are okay with connecting on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN, and have some sort of presence online. Their names and contact info you have should all match up too
c.) Exchange license images and make sure everything makes sense. Offer yours up too to make them feel like you’re not requesting to much extreme info. This is more of a last layer of resort but is worth it if the others fall through
2.) They should be cool with meeting you somewhere public where YOU feel comfortable doing the deal. Whether that’s in a bank, a police station, or my personal favorite, at my watch dealers place.
All three of these public locations have their advantages.
The things they have in common, they usually all have security cameras, well-lit areas, some level of armed personnel, and even people who will escort you throughout the deal.
Always have an exit plan as well. Often times when these criminals work, they work in numbers so the person doing the deal with you may be in on it but you may not even know because they have people waiting to jump you. If you do the deals in a familiar place where it’s your territory and you can have a driver waiting right outside for you (like an Uber) you can get in and out quickly and minimize your risk exposure to being attached.
Also make sure no one follows your car or driver or you home.
The reason I prefer doing the business at my watch dealer is not only is he located in a building with other high-security dealers (power in numbers) but there’s armed guards and cameras everywhere. The Bonus… he can authenticate and check the watches for me on site, and can even help my new customer adjust the bracelet of their watches and offer other services as an extension of my business.
3.) Not make excuses or stories up that seem off. Using your intuition is a huge part of safety. Often times people get desperate to buy a watch they think is a great deal or move on selling their watches because they think they hit the lottery with a local seller, just to find out it’s a scam. The number one indicators of scammers and criminals are they make up stories, make you jump through a million hoops, and try to reroute you to work in a scenario that’s to their advantage. Remember if you’re buying/selling to someone, you are the one who should be in the power position. Don’t get desperate to sell. Make sure everything checks out.
For example, if the person says they will buy $30K worth of watches from you but won’t share their info with you, or wants you to ship to their cousin’s uncles, friend in a different country, or you look at their profile and it doesn’t look like they’ve ever even owned an Invicta $100 watch, there’s probably a reason for it. It’s a scam.
When people have nothing to hide, and everything they’re telling you matches up and makes sense, and they’re willing to provide you extra comfort to make sure you’re comfortable with the deal, you should be good to go.
So to review:
Let’s look at DOs and DONTs of in-person deal safety.
- USE YOUR GUT FEELING (intuition). If it feels off or anything feels weird don’t do it. 95% of the time that feeling is right.
- Take extra time to make sure you understand who you’re dealing with. Don’t skip out on steps to protect yourself. It could cost you your life. It’s far more important to be 100% comfortable with a deal then have a feeling you’re missing out on one.
- Find and research public areas you really are comfortable with to do the deals
- Arrive earlier than your counterparty so you have the upper hand
- Bring someone else with you if it’s convenient for protection
- Carry a defense mechanism if you’re responsible, it’s legal, and to protect yourself (Knife, Firearm, mace, your black belt Karate skills etc.)
- Have an exit plan once you are done the deal that keeps you out of harm’s way out in the open
- Consider having a bank or place to deposit the cash immediately so you can’t be robbed
- Carry a currency indication pen or other tool to check for fake currency
- Skip out on confirming who the person is and performing your due diligence on them because you want to make money more
- Get lazy, and think because the person seems friendly or is paying for some of the arrangements (travel etc) that that means they’re legit and won’t hurt or scam you
- Meet in person unless it’s 100% on your turf, on your terms, and you are comfortable with the person you’ve been taking with
- Do business on platforms like Offer Up, Let Go, Craigslist, or chef scammer local websites. These sites and platforms were made to sell cheap shit with little to no protection and no work. Remember people who are buying tens of thousands of dollars worth of watches aren’t looking to save a few bucks and cheap out on these places. They will pay a premium to know the goods are real and they’re working with someone legit.
- Make excuses for your counterparty (buyer/seller) in order to justify why this deal makes sense if there are red flags.
The most common thing I see is people trying to justify why this deal makes sense and right off the bat, you can tell the person they’re working with is showing signs it’s a scam. This mentality comes out of desperation to make money. Don’t do it! Your safety is ALWAYS PRIORITY #1.
Please stay safe out their folks, and add any additional suggestions RE: safety tips below in the comments.