Unfortunately during the years, people have been scammed when trying to purchase kimono items, most of them Maiko items, which are very rare to come by.
Some buyers were allured by low prices and convincing stories, or opportunities that seem great. Most of the buyers lost great sums of money and even got bullied after by the scammer.
To avoid this to happen to you inside IKA, or even in other place online, I will leave here some very important steps that will help you.When buying:
- Make sure you are buying from someone you know well.
If you don't know the person, but you wish to buy anyway, you must use a safe payment method such as Paypal, or an intermediary shopping service like Ebay or Etsy. This is essential to assure that you can have your money back in case of scam, because you can open a claim through their services and they will help you retrieving the money you paid.
- Don't accept to deal outside of Paypal, Ebay or another safe spot.
There are sellers who might want to avoid any service fees, and it's okay if you know them well enough
, but if you don't
, there is a great chance that they are leading you to pay outside through an unsafe method, so you can't retaliate back when you realize you've been scammed.
- When using Paypal to pay for your goods, do not send the payment as "gift"
(unless you are dealing with a friend you know). This will make it impossible for you to open any claim later and get your stolen money back. Make sure the transaction is always marked as "purchase of goods" so you are illegible for Paypal's Buyer Protection.
- Always request a tracking number for your package.
This way you can track it and know it's on its way to you, and it's a proof that something was sent. If the seller doesn't want to provide you a tracking number, it is an alarming sign.
If the number provided doesn't work at all, even after a week, it's most likely that it is a fake number. In that case, try to contact the post office from which supposedly the item was sent and ask for informations.
- Save all messages, pictures and all other communication exchanged between you and the scammer.
Use Printscreen if necessary. All the proofs will help you in the moment of making a claim, being it online or in your local police station.
If you feel something is wrong, it probably is. If you feel it, don't carry on with the purchase. We all have our problems and busy lives, and we try to always give the benefit of doubt to the other person, but we must keep our safety in mind.When you realize you've been scammed:
You know something is wrong, the seller gives too much excuses about the time they are taking to send the item, or the long time it's taking to arrive, using sometimes illness and dramatic stories so you feel sorry for them and wait a little longer...
- Do not wait.
The longer you wait, the less time remains for you to open a claim. In the past, you could only open a claim on Paypal 45 days after the purchase, but now it is possible to open the claim 180 days after the payment.
Either way, the more time you wait, the more time the scammer has to flee. Do it as soon as you realize you've been cheated, even if you aren't 100% sure. You can always close the claim when you want to.
- Provide detailed information to Paypal or to the service you used.
That includes what I mentioned above: the messages exchanged between you and the scammer, pictures of the item, and any other revelant information.The scammer can provide a tracking number to prove they sent something.
That's right, "something", which means it can be a box with anything inside to make weight, anything but the item you purchased.
To this, I recommend that you film the moment in which you get the package
from the postman or post office(if your post office allows it), and the moment you open the package.
If you open an empty box, or with any other thing inside than the item your purchased, now you have a revelant proof to present Paypal.
Some smart scammers like to send empty boxes with tracking numbers so they can have a bigger change to win the claim. Beat them by getting that video filmed.
- Keep calm and do not answer to any threats.
Some scammers, when feeling cornered, can start threating the victim with messages and insults. If this happens, never answer. instead, report this threats to your local police department.
For much serious and frightening that those threats are, they are most likely empty threats out of the scammer's despair, realizing they will lose the money.
- unorthodox method, Use at your own risk:
- If you didn't use any safe method as Paypal or Ebay to pay:
It is very difficult to say if there's a way to get your money back. I advice you to contact the company you used to pay
(credit card, Western Union or other) and see if there's something they can do, but it is usually difficult.
As a last resort, go to your local police department and open a claim against the scammer.What to do next:
- Message the admin or mod of your kimono community and tell what happened. They can always keep an eye on the scammer or even ban them from the community.
- Don't stop buying online just because what happened, but instead be very careful next time, and demand that the sellers you deal with use safe methods and do not lead you outside of Paypal or Ebay.
I truly hope this Guide can help you to avoid being scammed and keep you shopping safely.