OLX which has rebranded
As I share my experience that led to me losing my camera, I would like to list some steps you should make not to be conned as an OLX seller.
1. Check the number of your potential buyer
Normally, potential buyers will spot your advertisement on OLX and call you by the number you provide. Of cause, you will have to pick the call first and once you establish they are interested in your product, follow these steps
- Ask for their name in full. Write it down
- Check their number; if it is not a Safaricom number, demand that they contact you using their Safaricom number.
- If it is a Safaricom number, tell him/her to call after 5 minutes, cut the call.
- Check the number on Truecaller or Mpesa by sending 1 bob and canceling before remittance. The name that comes up should match with what they provided.
Safaricom system of number registration requires that every sim card is connected to an ID and each ID can have a maximum of three Safaricom sim cards thus, it is hard for OLX conmen to use Safaricom numbers for their con-artistry. If anything goes wrong, you have a better chance of tracing the owner of a Safaricom sim card than any other.
2. Take full control of organizing the meet-up
Once you establish the authenticity of the potential buyer, take charge of the meetup. First, ask them where they are. This will help you decide whether you will meet. If it is in the vicinity, think of a place with the following features
- Very familiar to you
- A public place with a lot of activity
- Availability of open seats
- Availability of good security personnel and cameras if possible.
Examples of such places include restaurants, malls, inside institutions, etc. NEVER EVER meet at a place chosen by the seller. OLX conmen usually choose places they are familiar with and know they can get away with stealing from you. Also, choose a neutral place; somewhere both of you can access.
3. Request your friend(s) to accompany you during the meetup
The more you are, the better. It is never a crowd when you are about to sell an asset, so take as many friends as you can when going to meet with the buyer. When you are two or more, OLX conmen will have a very difficult time trying to convince multiple people of different perspectives and temperaments into their con game. People operating in a group have a group-mentality that exudes confidence and cockiness which OLX conmen find hard to deal with. In fact, it’s better not to get an interested buyer than to go to a meetup alone. You will be risking so much.
4. If the buyer is nicely dressed and has a car, RUN
Thugs of this generation are men and women in suits who play the games of confidence to win people’s hearts and swindle their assets and money without them noticing. They don’t use force or crude weapons, they dress very well, speak fluently and behave very professionally, a perfect amalgamation of tactics that will make you earn full trust in them.
Once you spot such a person, ask yourself this question; if this seemingly well-off person needed the asset, why would he buy a used product rather than a new and only slightly expensive product. I was selling a 40k camera to a man dressed in an expensive suit, classic wristwatch, vintage leather boots and driving what seemed like a Toyota Hatchback. What is a 50k camera to this man?
5. Do not handshake your potential buyer or make physical contact
This is surprising, I know, but here is what I have to say; never wait for experience to teach you these stories you here out here. I heard stories of people who acquire certain powers that enable them to influence people just from a simple touch. Apparently, the moment you handshake them, you lose sense of the events around you and they can easily manipulate you into doing whatever they want.
I’m the kind of guy who has always been extra cautious with my accessories and courtesy of that I had never lost anything until that fateful day. On that day, I realized that immediately I greeted the buyer through a handshake, I became extremely comfortable with him and trusted everything he told me, even getting into his car, which is my next point. Avoid physical contact with a stranger, or prolonged eye contact, demonic powers are real
6. Never get into their car.
This rule has been recited to us since we were toddlers; a simple yet very elusive law. Never get into a stranger’s car, unless of course it’s a taxi and you need to get home. To stress on my previous point, it was my very first time to break this law since I was born, I was surely not in control of my actions. If your buyer signals you to go and discuss the deal in his car, I am almost certain he/she is an OLX con. Walk away.
7. If you receive calls of people offering you more money for the product, RUN.
Again, on my fateful day, I received calls from three people offering me more money for my camera in what seemed like a bidding contest. I was so excited that I was getting these unbelievable offers for something I had greatly undervalued and for once I forgot about the asset I had and obsessed over the money I was about to make. Little did I know that these people are actually colleagues. It’s like a company of OLX conmen working together in a coordinated and professional manner.
These calls are meant to derail you from knowing that you have the asset; that they need you, and puts you into the illusion that they have the money hence you need them. If this happens to you, immediately call off the meet-up, go home and relax for a day. You will thank me for this.
Quick Additional Tips
- When discussing the details before the meet-up, prefer texting to calls. Texting gives you time and space to use critical thinking.
- Request the buyer to come with their national ID for accountability purposes
- Consider everybody a conman until they prove their credibility by accepting your terms