In Portugal the most used website is OLX.pt with a major website and also an app for your mobile phone. Placing your item on the online portal can be easy if you have some experience, or a nightmare when you hardly use your devices designed for internet interaction. Using websites like OLX or eBay can also turn into a nightmare if you are communicating with someone on the other end that tries to steal from you.
The so called scamming or phishing practices are as old as the www and if the bad guys wouldn't have success once in a while, it would have stopped along the way. Their success depends mostly on our unawareness or simply that we trust that there is nobody out there attempting to harm us. Wrong. They will always try, so this little account of what happened to me is supposed to remind you how easy it might be to get your credit card information and that you always have to be careful!
For over two years I wanted to sell this bulky oven that intentionally placed itself beside the door to the storage area only to hurt my little toes when passing. So in an act of revenge I finally decided to place it on OLX and get it a new owner. A clean up of the 'Forno', photos taken and some encouraging words for potential buyers written while my little pinky still felt the impact of the day, I followed OLX guidelines and gave it a try. Just about 10 minutes later the first couple of calls and messages came, some wanted more information, some asked if I would deliver. Then days of nothing, the kind of moments when Pinky looked at me asking if we will ever get rid of Bulky.
July 7. came and with it a message on WhatsApp, politely asking when the photos were taken and accompanied with the OLX link to my announcement. Friendly Alex then asked if I would use OLX-delivery to send the oven to him after he made the payment. After all he is in Braga, not a just around the corner location when the item is standing in the Algarve. Having never used OLX I told him that I have no idea about the shipping possibilities offered on the website. The answer from Alex was a screenshot of 'Sobre a entrega OLX' explaining in 4 simple steps what to do. A few messages back and forth and Alex even eased my concerns about how to transport the oven secure without me having to pack it up (the company does it all for you) and also asked me if I want the payment.
In my state of happiness and giving the oven my 'I told you!' look I answered yes and that I will send him my NIB details for the transfer. This was answered with a link sent that looked like it was a copy and paste website part from OLX, followed with the info that he prepared all and I just have to confirm. Clicking on the link my smart phone finally deserved to be called smart. As soon as the website opened, the mobile asked me if I wanted it to be translated from Russian. Knowing a bit of Russian I surprisingly looked at texts in Portuguese and not in Cyrillic. So no reason to convert, thank you. The site asked to fill in my credit card details including the CVV/CVC code. I could hear the oven telling me that he would not go anywhere soon.
I have to admit that if it would not have been for the Russian translation pop-up on my phone, I would have typed in my card details without thinking. My happiness turned quickly into anger, sending Alex a message demanding an explanation why OLX would need my card details when I am the selling party. The reply: 'contact the support, they help'. Sure enough, there was a button with the word Support on it that if clicked upon would have probably connected me to a very friendly person in some Siberian underground call center.
Meanwhile I searched through the OLX support on their website and found a section where one can enter a website address if in doubt. Needless to say, the warning sirens on my laptop screen all went off. To end the chat I just had to send a photo of the OLX warning to Alex and he was gone, probably taking the sim-card out of his phone and placing a new one to find new targets.
Matter of fact: I am one of the online users most careful when connecting to websites and most of all when handing out details. But somehow, all humor taken away, I was so happy to get rid of my used oven, that I got careless. A reminder to all of us using trusted sites and apps.
Oh, you want to know what happened to Bulky the oven? Four days later he started a job in a local seafood restaurant. Placed high up on a counter, to keep little toes unharmed.