While going through YouTube to look for inspiration and ideas on the different hustles I could try out.
I came across the whole idea of ‘flipping’ stuff for a profit. Even though, I didn’t fully understand the intricacies of this process, I figured I’d give it a shot.
It was simple enough, and I didn’t have to take a lot of risk to get started.
The Experiment on Carousell
My game plan was simple.
I’d find stuff laying around the house that I could put up on online marketplaces. If they sold well & quick enough, I could look into actually purchasing them and then flipping them for a profit.
Out of all the things I had, I decided to sell my books. Now I knew that I wasn’t going to make a whole lot of $$$ off of paperbacks and hardcovers. But it was a simple item that I could experiment with.
So, I took the first step, and put up a bunch of listings on Facebook’s Marketplace and Carousell.
Then came the hard part, having to wait for an interested buyer to reach out to me, and eventually making the sale. After about 2 days, I managed to sell 4 books to a single buyer, and then everything came to a standstill for about a week or so.
Out the blue, a user named ‘aliyaeric_eu’ messaged me on Carousell. He asked me to contact him via WhatsApp as it’d be easier to communicate with him.
I dropped the potential buyer a text on WhatsApp, and I just wanted to know their postcode, so I could calculate the cost of shipping, and I can go ahead and close the sale.
The eager-me ignored all the telltale signs of a potential scam (as you can see from the screenshots), and I even shared my banking details with the said person.
A few minutes later I got an email with the subject ‘Transfer Successful…’, and I clicked into it, only to realise that it was a setup all along.
The premise of the scam was that the transaction didn’t go through as it was below the transaction threshold. So, the buyer made a transfer of RM500 to meet the minimum transaction amount. You as a seller would then have to refund the balance back to the buyer.
The more I read the email, the more ridiculous the whole thing sounded. I was pretty convinced that this wouldn’t have worked with me. Then again, I did fall for the setup, so it’s very plausible that someone out there would be susceptible to such tactics.
After going through the email, I had a short chat with the buyer. It was mostly him trying to convince me to “read the email carefully and understand” and that I’d have to make the transfer so I can get “credited” immediately.
The whole back and forth came to an end after I asked him if this ordeal actually worked. I was genuinely curious. It could’ve been the start of a whole new career for me. Alas! We’ll never know.
Overall the whole experience was rather disappointing. Here are the 3 main lessons that I learnt:
- Never move the convo over to WhatsApp. From what I experienced, there’s really no added benefit to doing so. Just keep the convo in the app that you’re using, be it Messenger, Carousell or otherwise.
- Avoid giving out your banking info to strangers on the internet unless you’re absolutely certain that it’s legit. Even then, you’d be better off receiving payments either through an e-wallet, or through the app itself. In fact, Carousell has a way for you to accept payments right through the app once you’re a verified user. Something I should have done from the jump but I didn’t.
- “Once bitten, twice shy.” Spot the scam (or the setup) as quickly as possible. A few ways would be to quickly Google the address that the buyer shares with you to make sure it’s legit, have a look at their profile to see if they have any ratings, and more importantly, don’t spend too much time going back and forth with the scammer.
Had a similar experience? Drop me a comment to let me know what the scam was all about, and how you dealt with it.