Depop is one of the biggest online marketplaces as of 2022, with 30 million users worldwide. It’s most widely known for being an online thrift shop where buyers can find second-hand fashion at an affordable price. With the rise of sustainable fashion, there’s no wonder why this platform is gaining such exponential traction.
Although Depop is a relatively safe place for buyers and sellers to connect. Its rise in popularity has unfortunately brought an increase in depop scams. As the platform has pretty relaxed requirements and a hands-off approach when dealing with the actual sale of items, Depop scams have been prevalent. However, they can be avoidable if the right tactics are implemented.
Below we have listed scams that sellers should be aware of and what to do to prevent being scammed.
There have been instances where a buyer will request a return for various legitimate reasons, i.e.) not satisfied, didnt fit, did not meet expectations, etc. Overall, the entire return process looks legitimate until the end because the buyer never intends to send the item back. The scam is that the buyer will go through the return process and sends an empty box back. If the seller cannot prove that the item was not in the package, they could be out of the item and money.
To help prevent this situation, videotape yourself opening the returned package. So, if you ever end up in a situation like this, the video could be used as proof that the item was not sent back.
Drop Shipping Scams
Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method where a seller doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, they use a third-party fulfillment method to keep inventory and send out the package once an order is placed. Most of the time, sellers buy from low-cost fulfillment centers like Aliexpress and pocket the price difference without ever touching the product. The issue with dropshipping is the increased wait times and a lack of quality control on the seller’s end.
Despite drop-shipping being banned on depop, it is still very common on the platform! and you need to keep an eye out. It is hard to tell which listings are being drop shipped; however, most of the time the more “robotic” (using stock photos, basic description) and generic the listing is, the more likely it is to be a drop shipping account.
The scams these dropshipping sellers affect sellers by stealing their listing photos. Often, drop shippers will take pictures from legitimate sellers and use them on their dropshipping listings. They do this to make their listings more realistic and make consumers more trustworthy of their storefront. However, it increases the original seller’s competition and could decrease their credibility.
It is hard to prevent Drop Shipping scam artists from stealing your photos. We suggest putting a watermark across your listing photos with your brand’s name, so it will be hard for the scammers to use your images. In addition, if you do recognize that your photos are being used, report their account immediately.
As a seller you should always try your best to make sure your account looks like it is run by a human not by some aliexpress web scraper, you can start by avoiding the use of stock photos on your listings. Stock photos can get your listings removed by depop.
Depop’s open communication between buyer and seller is an excellent feature. However, there are some red flags you should be aware of when receiving a private message. The most apparent scam is when weird messaging provides an alternative way of contact. For example, they could ask you to contact their email or phone numbers. Essentially they want to take the discussion off of Depop, so it is easier to scam you without accountability.
When you receive these messages, just block and report the seller. If you do end up taking your business off of Depop and get scammed, you will not receive any help from sellers protective from the platform. So, you must never take the transaction off of Depop because there will be no support if you get scammed.
Other shipping address requests
When you sell on Depop, you can use Paypal or Depop Payments as the payment method. Either option you choose will make you eligible for Depop Seller Protection. However, the protection comes with stipulations you must follow to receive support if something goes wrong with the order.
One of these stipulations requires the seller to send the package to the buyer’s address uploaded on the platform. This requirement is where you would see the buyer try to scam the seller by requesting a change in the shipping address.
This specific scam preys on the goodwill of many depop sellers, haven’t you ever put in the wrong address when buying an item? perhaps your old home you’ve moved out of? Of course you have! so it does not usually ring alarms in the minds of a depop seller that they are being scammed.
No matter the reasoning, if you send your package to an address not outlined on order, you will not be covered in the case of a scam.
If the seller ships to a separate address, the scammer will claim that the item was never received. Then the claim will be in the buyer’s favour as there will not have proof of sending the item to the correct address. Which ends up leaving you without the item or payment.
To prevent this scam, never send a package to an address different from the order. Instead, ask the buyer to cancel the order, update their address and repurchase. If they have problems with doing this, it is likely a scam, and the buyer should be reported to be investigated by Depop.
3 way scams (Elaborate Scams)
As the average buyer becomes more educated about typical depop scams so does the average scammer!
You can’t stick to the same old tricks and continue being a successful scammer, so scammers have started to think of something new.
This innovation are what we can term “Elaborate scams”, a newer way scam artists try to hustle sellers. Typically scams involves the victim and the scammer but this type of scam involves three!
The buyer, seller and scammer. Essentially, the scammer attempts to scam both a buyer and a seller simultaneously without their knowledge.
These elaborate scams can look different depending on the situation. However, there will always be something that feels off. Typically, the scammer will attempt to keep the money from the sale and receive the item for free.
They will do this by working the middle and asking the buyer for payment directly to their Paypal. Then, they will lie to the seller by telling them they will be paid directly to their bank account. Also, before the item is shipped, they ask the seller to change the shipping address. So, the seller unknowingly sends the product to the scammer, not the buyer. All in all, both the buyer and seller get scammed and will be out the money and product.
To avoid being in the crossfire of these elaborate scams, you must keep legitimate business transactions in the app. You do not need someone to organize the sale or work with you anyway.
The big lesson here is to always conduct sales within the app and never change the shipping address once the order is placed. If you need additional support, contact Depop customer service for any questions you may have.
Round Up of Tips To Avoid Scams
Although scammers can be found trying to con sellers all over the platform, there are ways to prevent being a victim of their schemes. Since you now know the common Depop scams and their prevention tactics, let’s take your knowledge a step further. Below of tips, you can implement into your daily sales practice to vet out the scammers from real potential customers:
In-app Communication Only
Any communication outside Depop will tie their hands when helping you resolve a scam. So, decline the request if a buyer asks to take the conversation to text, emails, or social media channels. This way, Depop can adequately investigate the scam, and you will be able to keep your seller’s protection.
Analyze a Potential Buyer’s Profile
Before you send a product off to the buyer, do a quick profile analysis to verify if the buyer is legitimate. If their profile has any red flags like a strange username that looks like it was generated by a robot, no photos, and no listings, it could indicate that the shape is meant to pull off scams.
Of course, nothing is better than trusting your intuition when deciding if a buyer is legitimate. Sometimes you have to go with your gut even though it may mean missing out on a potential sale!
No Direct Payments
Do not get greedy and try to be seduced by skipping out on depop fees as they are there for a reason. As stated above, Depop allows for payment using Depop Payment or Paypal.
Any other payment method is not seen as a legitimate transaction by Depop. Which would end up in you losing your seller’s protection. So when buyers offer different methods of payment, they decline immediately.
Every action you do when selling on Depop should be measured against whether it will affect your seller protection status. You will easily stay protected when you keep your transaction and communication within the app and follow the Depops shipping instructions. However, when the transaction goes off the app in any way, you will lose the benefit of being protected by Depop.
Depop is a great online marketplace where many people have built successful businesses. However, as a seller, you need to protect yourself and your business from the influx of scammers.
Depop is doing everything possible to remove these schemes from its platform by investing in top software. As a seller, you can watch out and guard against the most common scams, including fake returns, dropshipping scams, off-platform messaging, address change requests and elaborate scams. In addition, you should always vet the buyer’s profile and ensure you stay within the confines of the seller protection requirements!