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When you're selling anything used, it's easy to end up scammed. When you're selling electronics, there are all sorts of other dangers you need to be on the lookout for. Here are some of the most common ways people put their safety at risk, and how to avoid them:
- Accepting checks or money orders from strangers. When you take a check or money order from a business, it's a little safer than taking it from a person. A company generally has the funds to back up the checks they write, but that might not be true for someone you just tried to sell iPhone 3Gs to. Checks and money orders can also be counterfeited more easily than actual cash. The best way to circumvent this problem is to only take cash if you're trying to sell old cell phones to a person, or skip it entirely by only selling your phones through a used electronics website.
- Having to meet strangers. Craigslist and classified ads are a great way to sell things to people in your area, but for every handful of success stories, there are other stories of criminals who use these ads to find new victims. If you're selling something through a personal ad, it most likely means having to meet a stranger to exchange money and goods. It's a bit safer if you take a friend or two with you to do it, but the best way to avoid trouble is to not use classified ads. Use a used electronics dealer to sell iPhone 3Gs instead, and you'll never have to worry about meeting a sketchy stranger.
- Not paying for tracking or postal insurance. Shipping things is expensive. If you sell iPhone 3Gs through eBay, you're probably going to have to mail it out to the buyer. If you don't also pay for additional tracking and insurance, your buyer can receive your package, and then claim that they didn't. If they never received what you claim you sent, the onus is on you to prove that you sent it. A lot of first-time sellers don't bother paying extra for tracking or insurance, which sets them up to get scammed when their buyers demand their money back for the phone that they allegedly never received, then walk off with both money and phone anyway. Always, always pay for tracking and insurance. If you don't want to, sell old cell phones through a used electronics website, where shipping and tracking will be paid for for you.
- Not deleting their information from their phones. If you have an iPhone, chances are you've got dozens of numbers saved on it, and use it to take pictures. That means that you have the names and faces of several people saved on your phone, in addition to some of your own personal information. If you sell iPhone 3Gs yourself, you'd better make sure that you delete absolutely everything. After all, who knows whose hands your phone could end up in? On the flip side, you could also sell old cell phones for cash to a used electronics dealer, who will delete all of the information off of your phone before selling it. This is a good option if your phone doesn't work well enough for you to delete things yourself, since they'll be able to do it for you regardless.
- Not reading the fine print. It's tricky to sell and ship phones in some areas. Depending on your country's postal regulations, you might not be able to ship a phone's battery at all, because it may be classified as hazardous material. If you use an auction site to sell your phone, you might run into another problem- being nickel and dimed to death with fees. Sell your phone through a middleman, and you won't have to worry about either of these problems.
Selling your phone should be a rewarding, profitable experience, not a source of anxiety. If you choose to sell your phone by yourself, you can inadvertently end up putting yourself in harm's way. If you sell it through a used electronics dealer instead, the dealer will act as a middleman during the selling process, effectively protecting you from things like check fraud, shady buyers, and identity theft. Selling your phone this way will make your life ten times easier, and end up saving you money, to boot.
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