Avoiding Scams

With any kind of online marketplace comes individuals looking to scam others, either on the buy or sell side of things. While we do everything in our power to prevent scammers on our platform, we cannot guarantee that they don’t exist. Given this reality, we’ve created this page to help you avoid the scammers and instead enjoy a fun and safe buying and selling experience.

If you're looking to sell, here are some things to note . . .

Nobody likes a buyer who doesn’t pay or, worse yet, cheats you out of your goods and your money. Fortunately, there are things you can do or look out for as a seller to ensure you are dealing with a quality buyer. 

  • If the buyer wants to complete the sale outside of Secondhand Cycle, do not do so. This is likely a scam where the buyer will ask whether they can send payment via check, money order (Western Union, Money Gram), wire transfer or third party escrow. Commonly, these payment instruments are often counterfeit and worthless. Why do buyers do this? They know that doing a transaction off of SHC means the seller has no protection or ability to dispute the transaction with a processor like PayPal.


  • Buyers offering or “paying” more than the listed price. This scams takes on a few forms, but the general idea here is that you, as the seller, receive a legitimate-looking email from (what appears to be) PayPal, for a payment in excess of what your item actually sold for. Upon seeing this, you send out the item along with a check or transfer or funds to cover the excess amount. A few days later, you find out that the legitimate-looking email was not legitimate at all and you are out your money and your item. Always check PayPal payments directly on the PayPal website.


  • The buyer wants to change their shipping address. While this alone does not prove that the buyer is a fraudster, it could be a red flag in combination with some of the other, smaller, red flags that we’ve compiled below.

There are other, smaller red flags that might indicate that you are dealing with an unscrupulous buyer. 

  • Uses vague words and only uses “the item” when describing your bike or whatever it is you’re selling
  • Asks for a phone number or offers their own (keep all messaging on the SHC platform)
  • Uses broken English with poor grammar, perhaps often using the word “kindly”
  • Includes a detailed description of why they want the item (oftentimes for a family member)
  • States that they are traveling or overseas and using an assistant/secretary to help with the purchase or transaction – big red flag!
  • Wants to use a “moving company” to transport the item from your location – big red flag!
  • Hints at or threatens you with leaving negative feedback
  • Offers you money to delete the listing and reserve the item
  • Appears very eager to complete the sale and move things along

Overall takeaways for avoiding scams

Overall takeaways

If something is too good to be true, it probably is. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer or seller. If there is no benefit to you accepting their offer, then there is probably an ulterior motive at play.

Trust your intuition. If something feels off, it probably is. Always take a step back and read any buyer or seller messages for a second or third time before moving forward. Ask a friend or family member for a second opinion. If the buyer or seller is using demanding language, don’t allow yourself to be pushed into making a quick decision. If in doubt, contact us.

Use PayPal where possible. PayPal affords buyers and sellers with some protection that other payment methods do not have. If a transaction goes awry one way or another, you can raise a dispute directly with PayPal for a resolution.

Google can be your friend if you’re skeptical about a potential transaction. Search the buyer’s username and see if brings up any warning flags. 

We hope you never get scammed. Using common sense and keeping an eye out for warning signs can go a long way to helping you avoid any unsavory buyers. 


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