The big question: How do you
effectively advertise a bike and make contact details available to
real bikers who are serious about buying, while at the same time
preventing scammers from having access to that same information?
Answer: With difficulty. In fact -
you can't. A good analogy would be car alarms. Car alarms,
immobilisers, trackers etc. are all pretty good, and they probably
save a lot of cars from being stolen - but cars still get
Scam adverts and scam enquiries to adverts are a
big problem, and one that we take extremely seriously. You can't
beat them 100% - nobody can, but what we can do is to educate and
prepare our users so that if they encounter a scam, here or
anywhere else, they'll be able to spot it straight away.
How can we do this?
Here at Bike-Exchange, we do absolutely all we can to minimise the
chance of scam adverts appearing on the site in the first
Every advert we show is read through
by a member of our experienced staff and discarded if found to be
A. A bike that seems too good
to be true - i.e. it's very new, in mint condition and about a
quarter of the price it should be.
Now, these ones are easy to spot, and
stick out like a sore thumb. Scammers, being naturally greedy, judge
everyone by their own low standards and will try and tempt otherwise
sane people to send money through the post because the offer seems
too good to miss and you have to act quickly to get it - right? - WRONG.
There is no such bike - forget it.
The more difficult scams are ones that don't appear unduly
suspicious and on the face of it are quite reasonable buys. This is
where we have to be careful.
Email security: We keep
advertiser's email addresses safely hidden and don't publish them.
We only allow access to email addresses to people who have paid a
small amount to PayPal - who have stringent security measures to
make sure that their members are 'Verified'. If a verified member of
PayPal buys a service from us, and then anytime in the future leaves
an advert, the Verified
Member logo appears with their advert.
Advertiser education: All
advertisers get a confirmation email when we accept and start
displaying their advert. The email also contains scam warnings and
resources we provide for free to ensure that they can be 100% sure
of any responses they get from our site.
We offer scam checking resources. A
valid reply to an advert on Bike-Exchange will contain a known
message in the email subject. If it's not there - be
You can check the email address of the interested party on our
scam check form here. If
they are emailing you, then they must be a valid member to have
access to emails, and we'll have a record of them. If we don't,
then they're not verified and they've got your address some other
way - maybe from another site that you advertised on.
Buyer education: Again, by
using our scam email address check, a buyer can check an address to
see how many other times this individual has made others suspicious
enough to check their address. Checks are logged, and repeat checks
on an address will indicate that caution should be used - or put
another way, don't touch this person with a barge pole.
Action: We remove any advert
that cause our users to be suspicious. The advertiser's email
address is added to our scam email check list and we add it to our
list of banned advertisers to prevent further advertising.
Financial and personal information:
We don't collect or store any personal or financial information,
even if you pay for a lookup account. PayPal doesn't share any of
your information with anyone (and neither should you - see PayPal
Other web sites: Please be
extremely wary of other web sites that publish your email address.
You should edit it as soon as possible to remove you details.
PayPal: Please also be aware
if you use PayPal that they, and no other financial institute will
EVER ask you to 'confirm' your highly sensitive security details
relating to your account by email - no more than they'd ask you to
stand in the middle of a football pitch and announce it by mega phone.
These email messages are also scams - no matter how convincing they
look - or how much they try and convince you that your account will
be closed down if you don't 'act immediately'.
There are some scam examples below -
please take a quick look at them - there's some further information
below them which highlights the key components of the classic scam.
ignores them, they will go away!!