Poshmark Scams

One person’s closet full of outdated outfits is another person’s ultimate thrift shop score, so it’s no surprise that reselling apps like Poshmark have become popular. Poshmark allows individuals to sell goods like clothes, cosmetics, and housewares over a platform secure and convenient enough that even professional resellers are using it.

Selling through apps like Poshmark can be one way to avoid dealing with credit card chargebacks, but you can never completely let your guard down when it comes to protecting yourself from fraudsters. What do Poshmark users need to know about the fraud and scams they’re likely to encounter on the platform?

One thing that advances in technology always seem to do is find new ways to facilitate informal, person-to-person sales. Apps like Poshmark focus on specific product categories like fashion and give buying and selling a social media vibe. This makes it easy for anyone to jump in and start participating, and with over 60 million users on the platform, it’s become a popular hub for full-time social sellers and influencers—and of course, fraudsters.

Whether you’re a merchant looking to build a revenue stream on Poshmark, a casual seller, or just looking for some great finds, you’re likely to be targeted by fraudsters sooner or later, and it’s important to know how to recognize their scams before you waste any time or money on them. 

How Does Poshmark Work?

Poshmark is designed to make social selling safe and easy, with a social, community-building aspect—while user interactions are limited to comments on items for sale, the platform hosts virtual buying events called “Posh Parties” that are intended to feel like fun social media gatherings.

To sell on Poshmark, users just take a picture of the item they want to list, provide a price and description, and wait for a buyer to snap it up. Poshmark makes shipping as painless as possible by providing pre-paid mailing labels, and they look out for their buyers with a protection program that covers the following situations:

  • Incorrect or missing items
  • Item is not as described
  • Item is fake or counterfeit
  • Item has damage that the seller did not disclose

The protection program does not cover fit issues or buyer dissatisfaction with an as-described item, and as Poshmark is careful to note, the program only applies to purchases where the full payment was transacted through the Poshmark platform.

This is an implicit warning that one thing fraudsters will frequently do is try to establish off-site communications and transactions, where they can’t be tracked or held accountable.

What Kind of Poshmark Scams Are Out There?

There are two kinds of Poshmark scams: ones that target the seller, and ones that target the buyer. The latter type of scam usually involves misrepresented merchandise, such as counterfeit luxury goods. Buyers who are taken advantage of in this way can file a claim with Poshmark and get their money back via the protection program.

Seller-facing scams tend to be more varied. As mentioned, one of the most common openings to a scam is when a fraudster poses as a buyer and asks the seller to communicate via text, email, or a messaging app.

At best, they’re hoping they can get a better deal with a direct offer that cuts out Poshmark’s fees, but they usually have worse intentions than that. They may be trying to phish for your personal information or lure you to a malicious website, or they may try to pay with a bad personal check or a fake cashier’s check.

Return fraud is also common. To get their money back, the buyer has to submit a claim that follows the rules of the Poshmark protection program, so the most common false claim is that the item arrived in damaged condition.

A more elaborate scam targets sellers of high-end merchandise. The fraudster will make a purchase, then send back a counterfeit copy of the item, claiming that the seller sent them a fake. They get to keep the real item and get their money back—all for the low price of a cheap knockoff.

What’s the Best Way to Detect and Avoid Scammers on Poshmark?

Buyers can avoid most Poshmark scams by remembering the old adage about things that seem too good to be true. If the price of an item is unrealistically low, chances are good that something shady is going on. When in doubt, check the seller’s feedback history and consider using the “Posh Authenticate” service, which will verify the authenticity of designer goods.

Return fraud can be tough on sellers when fraudsters are willing to lie openly in order to obtain a refund. It’s always a good idea to take lots of photographs of items immediately prior to shipping them, in case you need evidence to contest a false claim.

Sellers should also be careful to secure their Poshmark accounts as strongly as possible and avoid leaving high account balances sitting there for too long. Account takeover attacks are always within the realm of possibility, and active seller accounts on Poshmark could be very high-value targets.

And of course, for buyers and sellers alike, it cannot be said enough: only fraudsters will insist on completing transactions offsite. Once you leave the Poshmark platform, you are no longer under their purchase protection coverage.

Conclusion

Conducting sales on third-party platforms can be tempting for merchants, especially if they aren’t yet well-established in e-commerce spaces. Not only do apps like Poshmark make it effortlessly simple to start listing and selling items, but they also handle the payment process for you so you don’t have to deal with credit card schemes, chargebacks, and other complicated payment processes.

The drawbacks are that there’s only so much you can scale up on somebody else’s platform, they’ll always be getting a cut of your sales, and while they can buffer you from chargebacks, you’ll still be fighting return fraud, false disputes, and other scams.

While traditional e-commerce selling requires merchants to take much more responsibility onto their own shoulders, it also allows for greater flexibility in managing fraud and related problems.


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