carousell protection scam: reviews and complaints 2024

Understanding the Growing Threat of Carousell Protection Scams

As online marketplaces have grown in popularity for second-hand sales, unfortunately scammers have also flocked to these platforms seeking victims. One area that has seen a rising number of reports involves scams related to Carousell’s “Protection” feature within Singapore. In this in-depth post, we’ll do a deep dive into how these Carousell protection scams work and what can be done to avoid falling prey.

How Protection is Supposed to Work

Carousell’s Protection system aims to provide a safe, escrow-like transaction process for users. Here’s a brief overview:

  • When a selling listing is marked with “Protection”, the agreed payment goes to Carousell rather than directly to the seller.

  • Once the item is delivered and both buyer and seller confirm receipt in the app, then Carousell will release the payment to the seller.

  • Protection covers physical goods up to SGD 500 in value and is optional for listings above that amount.

The goal is to assure the buyer doesn’t pay in vain if the item isn’t received as agreed. It also protects the seller by holding funds until delivery is verified before release.

How Scammers Exploit Protection

Unfortunately, scammers have figured out ways to manipulate Protection for fraudulent ends. Common tactics reported include:

  • Posing as a buyer and asking the seller for personal details like email outside the app before “payment”.

  • Sending a fake screenshot of payment and requesting the item be shipped prior to funds clearing with Carousell.

  • Tricking victims into believing Protection covers mailing addresses when it requires delivery in-person only.

  • Waiting until the last minute to cancel listings or go silent after receiving items without paying.

  • Creating bogus listings for in-demand items and requesting payments be sent directly rather than using Protection.

The goal is often to steal shipped items or scam sellers into providing private information for identity theft or banking fraud. Many victims have lost substantial sums due to these Protection scams.

Spotting Red Flags of a Carousell Protection Scam

To avoid falling prey, here are some tell-tale signs that a buyer’s actions on Carousell may indicate a scam:

  • Insisting on communicating externally like via WhatsApp instead of the app’s private chat.

  • Asking for your mailing address right away rather than scheduling a meetup.

  • Providing a photocopied or screenshotted payment image rather than actual transaction receipt.

  • Getting angry or threatening if you don’t comply with unreasonable demands like shipping before funds clear.

  • Seeming reluctant to finalize the sale using Carousell Protection for transactions under $500.

  • Creating a new profile just to purchase an expensive item from you without reviews.

Staying alert to these red flags and trusting your gut feeling can help weed out scammers masquerading as legitimate buyers on Carousell.

Steps You Can Take to Avoid Being Scammed

The rising numbers of victims make proactively protecting yourself a priority when selling on Carousell. Here are some key safety measures users can implement:

  • Always transact using the Protection feature for any sale less than $500 in value as intended.

  • Communicate only through Carousell’s private chat and never share personal details like addresses externally.

  • Never ship items or release them until payment fully clears as shown in your Carousell account balance.

  • Trust experienced, long-standing users with good reviews over newly made accounts without feedback history.

  • Meet buyers in person if possible for high value items rather than relying on postal addresses.

  • Screenshot conversations for records and report any suspicious behavior directly to Carousell moderators.

  • Consider lowering maximum listing prices to limit attractiveness as targets for scammers’ bogus listings.

Staying vigilant yet calm and avoiding panic or risky behaviors are the best defenses against the rising scourge of Carousell Protection scams targeting honest sellers just trying to declutter. With care, these threats can largely be avoided.

How Can Carousell Do More?

While users take responsibility for staying savvy, the platform itself could do more to curb scams plaguing the marketplace:

  • Strengthen account verification like confirming phone numbers and IDs to deter quickly discarded scam accounts.

  • Don’t allow communications to migrate entirely outside the app until transactions are fully complete.

  • Add delays before new accounts can list high value items or require minimum positive review thresholds first.

  • Enhance Protection to automatically withhold funds for a week minimum rather than short deposit hold periods.

  • Invest in sophisticated AI tools to spot patterns in dialogue common to scammers contacting multiple victims.

  • Publicly maintain a list of identified scammers and actively warn and ban repeatedly offending accounts.

With collaborative effort between individual vigilance and platform-led safeguards, the goal should be dramatically reducing the ability of scammers to exploit well-meaning Carousell users seeking legitimate peer-to-peer transactions.

In conclusion, as online marketplaces entice more participation, so too do they attract malicious actors. Staying informed about common scams like those targeting Carousell Protection can help consumers avoid falling victim, while platforms also have room to strengthen fraud deterrents in service of protecting loyal users.

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