Depop user scammed with a fake Paypal email

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You might not be familiar with Depop. It’s an app-based marketplace that’s popular with teenagers and younger people. In particular, it’s used to sell fashion items, crafts and creations, concert tickets and the like. It was founded in 2011 by Simon Beckerman in Milan now it’s based in London.

And recently it’s been under some scrutiny as it seems some users have been duped into sending the goods, as a recent story in the Guardian highlighted.

In short: a teenager selling a phone accepted an above the asking price bid for the handset. The buyer requested a quick despatch and also sent a realistic but phoney PayPal payment confirmation email. Needless to say, despite the names not matching and niggling doubt, the phone was sent and the seller is out of pocket. Although is also hardly blameless.

Depop is very clear that all payments on the app should go through their payments system to protect sellers and on this occasion the transaction was taken off-platform. Tell the kids.

As the company said to the Guardian: “Our team works hard to make sure Depop is a safe place to buy and sell, and we don’t take these matters lightly. Unfortunately, your reader has been requesting transactions to be made outside the app. When someone transacts outside the app we are unable to trace it or assist with a reimbursement.” Despite warm words, Depop hasn’t offered any recompense for the duped seller though.

Several tings spring to mind. These app based marketplaces are becoming increasingly popular, diverse and specialised. A cursory look over Depop reveals why it’s so popular with younger people: it’s trendy with stacks of cool things that leave me cold but will appeal to youngsters. Secondly, the safety mechanisms that established marketplaces have in place are perhaps not as developed on the newer venues.

2 Responses

  1. I think when a company states “When someone transacts outside the app we are unable to trace it or assist with a reimbursement.”

    They have a point and so I wonder why the fact that “Depop hasn’t offered any recompense for the duped seller”.

    Would need to be mentioned.

    As usual with many reports their are questions to be asked:

    How does the fraudster get hold of the sellers email address to send a fake Paypal email?

    Why did the seller not check the payment had gone through ok and check the buyers status / address ?

  2. The user was not duped here. This is a clear example of where the user has deliberately dealt outside of the app to avoid the Depop selling fee, despite all the warnings, and then gets conned.

    I really sympathise with Depop here – they shouldn’t have to protect users that deliberately break their rules and circumvent paying for the service. Depop clearly state that sending money privately is not protected and not safe – not only in their Help section, they even declare it again at the beginning of private message exchanges.

    When rules are followed and the items are purchased the proper way, the transaction is covered. It’s very frustrating that this user has avoided paying for protection, and is now playing the victim.

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