This guide only discusses scams in the circumstances that you go first. Ideally, everybody would use Middlemen (barring the unfortunate charge back). Since this isn't the case, this guide tries to educate the people who end up going first anyway.
Distribution of Blame in Scams
You say, "it's their fault for scamming me, not mine!"
This cry of indignation assumes a world where everybody is perfectly nice and great and there is some sort of social contract people have entered where they promise not to scam. In such a world, it would not be your fault.
But this is not the case. Scammers are very much alive and well in every corner of the world, physical and virtual. Thus the blame shifts to your end; living in such a world, you should
know that you cannot simply trust anyone. At least it's not your fault that you're not naturally paranoid.
Still, the blame is yours for not thinking things through because it's your responsibility
to do so. Learn from it and move on. Or better yet, learn from other people's experiences.
They said, "hey i g2g, just send the draik egg to lolkay31 and gimmie your paypal."
In one of the most common scams, the scammer -- we'll call him Arse -- introduces the pressure of time into the trade. But hey, he asked for your Paypal, didn't you?
Arse is preying on your desire to get the trade done quickly, lest he leaves before you two are able to trade. His command is so innocently phrased that you unconsciously listen to him without stopping to realize that you're going first. Simply because he's mentioned paying you, you take that as a confirmation that he will.
You say, "okay let me know when you've sent the money and I'll send it over."
They said, "i've been scammed before so i don't want to go first :c"
This is a pity play that Arse is using so you'll sympathize with him and go first. While some people may be telling the truth, it's not a reason for you
to go first. Come to think of it, it's kind of selfish of Arse to make you open yourself to the risk of scamming, right?
You say, "i'm not about to let myself get scammed either, so you're going first."
They said, "I have higher iTrader, so you have to go first."
WHEN ARSE HAS 44 iTRADER VS YOUR 5 ITRADER...
...and you're buying 2 million for $4, it's easy to see why you'd go first. Statistically speaking, he's probably not going to scam you. Still, there's benefits of using a Middleman even when he far outranks you.
It's a power play. You're showing them that they don't hold all the cards just because they have higher iTrader.
You don't look weak. Instead, you show him that you're not the kind of person they can bully into going first in the future just for their convenience.
You can take our their resent on him. By demanding the service of a Middleman when they're probably used to having others going first, you inconvenience him too.
You get familiar with the Middleman process. Maybe someday you'll become one, too. (I certainly never thought I'd become a MM.
If you can't will yourself to use a Middleman because of inconvenience, will yourself to use a MM as an ego play.
However, when it's for a larger sum of a trade...
There have been very well-trusted people -- literally at the highest ranks, that have ended up taking high items and ran. You never know the extent of how easily somebody could be tempted and whether they may or may not have some financial crisis that motivates them to scam. Even when you think there couldn't be anybody you could trust more. Suri comes to mind and in a small sense, MasterChief.
If you're buying an expensive UC, it should already be common sense that you are going through a Middleman. The high risk of false security and the stakes you stand to lose is the reason why.
WHEN ARSE HAS 4 iTRADER VS YOUR 3 iTRADER
Here, Arse is trying to use the "rules" to force you into going first since in no way can he make the argument that 4 iTrader makes him decently trustworthy. Furthermore, there is nowhere in the rules that say that you must
go first. And if all of the threads and encouragement of using MM weren't enough, it's ridiculous for him to not even suggest to use a MM.
You say, "Not that much higher, though. Plus, I've been around longer and am more active."
They said, " i'm a MM on ObscureSite tho, you can trust me."
YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNT ON OBSCURESITE
Arse is hoping that you won't PM to confirm. So you drop them a PM going "ohey" and tell Arse over MSN to respond with "xyz!" If they're a MM and confirm back, it should be fine, right?
This is how I got scammed for the first time despite extensive trading experience and high iTrader on numerous sites.
In reality, Arse was impersonating him. He ended up PMing that guy onsite, telling him to reply to my PM with "xyz!" The guy didn't think to question it -- perhaps they knew each other or something. So I got my confirmation, sent the Draik Egg, and he signed off immediately.
Reflecting back on this, I could have done one of several things:
Sent a more specific PM to the MM there. "Hi, you're buying my Draik Egg for $60."
Demanded to stay on home turf. "No, we'll do this on **. Otherwise, no go."
Avoid compromising and giving him an edge. Take a hard stand for something that benefits you (while staying fair) -- a Middleman on a more popular site that you know to be deemed trustworthy.
Finally, a proper middleman shouldn't ever disagree to using another middleman's services.
YOU DON'T HAVE AN ACCOUNT ON OBSCURESITE
Arse is depending on your unfamiliarity with the site (so you won't confirm) and your naivete to believe him.
The truth of the matter is that there's no way for you to be absolutely sure about your safety on ObscureSite and you don't have a guarantee on his word. Better to stick it out and pass on Arse if he refuses to use a MM on **.
You say, "lol this isn't ObscureSite. either you go first or we're using a mm."
They said, "how about i send you half of the money, you send me the pet, and i send you the rest?"
50% discount for Arse, sweet! Especially if you're already selling to him a large sum of bulk Neopoints at cheap!
You say, "why don't you just send me half, i send you half, and repeat?"
They said, "sent the money! pw is f0rty9, lmk when you lend me."
Well, this is how I lost my MSPP in the second scam of my life. A repeat customer asked me to lend him MSPP for the 248924th time so I ended up being tired of changing PW -- and he changed the PW on me. Little did I know that all those 248924th times he was trying to out-time me. I ended up recovering the MSPP, but that's a different story.
Moral of story: just change the damn password before you send over you $2,000 card. Don't forget to make sure PINs are off if you're lending a Super Attack Pea.
Your $2,000 card is worth the extra time and effort. Besides, you can never really know what a person's intentions are.
You say, "all right. hold on, finishing a deal with this guy and then i'll lend you. [at this time, you change pw and lend before he can change it back on you but you should be fast enough anyway ^__~]"
^That part was kind of irrelevant, but I thought it was worth warning about.
Be suspicious. Be tough, but fair. When Arse puts a gun to your head in a trade, chances are it's filled with blanks and he doesn't really have the cash. So don't get anxious. And most of all, you deserve to not have to go first.
Got any more common scams that I've missed? List 'em.