According to Leboncoin, one of the most famous classifieds websites in France, more than 27 million objects and services are offered on its platform, both by individuals and by professionals. From the sale of second-hand clothes to holiday rentals, including the sale of household appliances, sporting goods, multimedia devices and even vehicles, this site generates seven billion page views per month and a turnover of 307 million euros.
Despite its success (or because of it), Leboncoin is also renowned for offering a large number of classified ads which turn out to be scams. With a minimum of common sense, it is fortunately possible to avoid these scams. How?
If your buyer indicates that he cannot contact you other than by email to finalize the transaction, beware. Most of the time, these are scammers who will pressure you to send the item you are selling by post before it is paid for, and of course you will never get paid.
So, if a person refuses contact by telephone, and even by sms, it is better to stop communicating with them immediately. Hand delivery and payment in cash are the best ways to avoid scammers.
During the period preceding, for example, the Christmas holidays or departures on vacation, the classifieds site Leboncoin.fr recorded an explosion in the number of exchanges on its platform. Inevitably, many scams slip in among them, their authors knowing that they will be able to multiply the number of "takes" given the high traffic on the site at these times of the year. On the other hand, and in general, during these periods, but also all year round, avoid deals that seem too good. They often hide a scam.
This type of scam is the most common, but also the oldest, on classified ad sites, including Leboncoin. This is for the false seller to send you the amount of your purchase via an anonymous mandate (or cash mandate), such as Western Union. These payment systems are most often abroad and they do not meet the banking standards in force in France. The scammer can therefore easily receive the money order without, of course, sending the purchased item back.
These scams are often spotted thanks to the messages sent by fake sellers which are generally full of spelling mistakes and written in very approximate French. Avoid this kind of exchange.
Paypal is a secure payment platform widely used for transactions on classified ad sites. Leboncoin users very often go through this means of payment, especially since it agrees to reimburse transactions in the event of a dispute.
But, beware, the scammers of the classifieds sites have understood this well. They use fake emails that supposedly come from Paypal to ask you to first send the item you are selling, informing you that you will receive payment on your Paypal account afterwards. And, of course, that payment never happens.
Know, on the one hand, that the Paypal platform never sends this type of email. Also, don't forget to check the sender's address which, if it's really Paypal, must be in the form @paypal.com or @paypal.fr. If this is not the case, do not reply to this message and above all do not proceed with the transaction.
It's not just buyers who can be victims of scams on the Leboncoin.fr classifieds site. It is appropriate for owners who offer their holiday home to be rented out to be particularly attentive to a type of negotiation which turns out to be scams in the end.
So, beware of so-called tenants who want to pay you the full amount of the rental at the time of booking. Of course, you will receive the amount due, but, better, it will be more than the negotiated amount. The scammers, who most often act from abroad, not only ask you to reimburse this overpayment quickly, but, in addition, they cancel their initial transfer in stride.