Scammer Alert! Step-by-Step Guide

Ok folks, as some of you may have seen from my Instagram account (@TF2GeekChick), there was a screen shot of the most recent scammer who tried to offer buying my backpack.

Before I go into the details, he had made his first attempt earlier in the day and I had done a minimal 2-prong check on backpack.tf and Steamrep.com to check on him as his backpack inventory was on private mode.

When I realised he was a marked scammer, I had simply told him sorry no deal, and blocked him off all communications before proceeding to delete him off my account.

It was then strange that hours later, this same person managed to add me back on Steam though with a different list of previously used aliases.

Something was definitely fishy, and while I was preparing to go into a Casual game with some friends, I decided to talk with him to screen shot our conversation, to warn you guys of how a scammer may try to pull a fast one on you (I have had one too many Steam friends fall prey to scammers and I simply do not like the idea of kids having their items stolen because of adults who have nothing better to do than prey on kids).

Before we go a little further into details, please take note that the below user name could be used by hundreds or thousands of other users but a Steam unique ID cannot be changed regardless the change in user name (alias).

Here are some screen shots of our conversation:

screenshot-user-profile-with-unique-idscreenshot-1screenshot-2screenshot-3

What you may sometimes see is the scammer may try  sending another Steam community user’s Unique ID to divert your attention to an actual legitimate user‘s profile.

This begs the question as to why, since there is no real need for a genuine trader without a history of scamming, to do that.

That would be one of your telltale signs that something is amiss. Just moments ago this same evening, my husband received a message from a scammer (different person) who tried using this same method of diverting his attention to an actual reputable Steam trader’s account who has a clean history and is in no way a scammer whatsoever.

(On the other hand, it does not mean that when a scammer is open to showing you his own profile instead of other users’s profile, that he is a legitimate or genuine reader.)

Please take note that the above scammer’s own unique ID is displayed clearly in his Steam profile page (only visible through your Steam desktop program, not on your Steam mobile application) and when I did a search on backpack.tf and Steamrep.com, here are what I found:

On Backpack.TF

backpack-user-unique-id

Note the two areas I have commented on: copy and paste the user’s Steam unique ID into the search box and see the display name is an indication of being banned on Steam. This explains why he would had to show me another user’s Steam unique ID earlier so he could divert my attention from his actual Steam profile.

Note also that he had said there was no need to check for his profile on backpack.tf and Steamrep as he was trying to divert my attention to the other Steam user’s backpack (who is probably legitimate and reputable, unlike the above shown scammer).

Here’s a screenshot from steamrep.com

Steamrep.jpg

This now confirms clearly the user is banned and a clear indication that you should by no means trade with this scammer.

Scammers will always try to use new methods to scam Steam users so please do not take the above as the foolproof guide, it is only an example to show you the means they may go to in order to secure your items without paying you their actual value or even close to it.

Some Other Known Methods of Scamming

  1. Using of a middleman to verify if items in a seller’s backpack are “glitched”. When I was first approached by a scammer attempting to secure my Unusuals and Australiums, I simply told him to check everything via backpack.tf to see if any item was duped. Because I was not yet certain at that time if there was such a thing as glitched items, I simply rejected the trade and he disappeared offline quickly. If you’re unsure, do not trade. Rejecting that trade saved my backpack from being scammed. A friend or two however, did fall prey to this method and I would like you to be careful of such methods as well
  2. Using a middleman for payment through PayPal. My answer is a straightforward no. For those of you who have read my profile would know my solution is simple for any genuine requests of paying through PayPal: using Marketplace.tf, I can list my items and the buyer can go into my seller shop to purchase the item. Marketplace.tf is a platform that can help mitigate any potential losses by taking on the PayPal trade security themselves. Don’t fall prey to scammers playing on the act of convenience and huge amounts of money to get to your items.
  3. Private inventory. I’m not completely discrediting users with private inventories as being scammers or non-genuine buyers, but this is one potential alarm that you should take note of as most scammers have their inventories on private mode. That being said, a scammer could also have their backpack on public view to attempt gaining your trust so don’t be quick to verify the authenticity of a buyer solely through this method, it is just one of a few telltale signs that add up to what a scammer usually may appear to be.
  4. Borrowing of items. My stand on this is simple: NO. I have a friend who was scammed of an item because he was repeatedly harassed by a friend who wanted to borrow his item. Needless to say, after the item was traded, the said friend disappeared along with the item and left my friend one valuable item less in his TF2 backpack. Real friends do not harass you to borrow items, even if they might be a friend from school or worse, only an online friend who may have played 2k hours of TF2 (or any game) with you.
  5. Any form of middleman – this is a straightforward no go for me, sorry even if there might be legitimate middleman out there, this step is much too risky even if the buyer claims they are neutral and sourced from a list of approved middlemen. Any items I may require a middleman to handle is from an absolutely trusted source who may not be on the approved list at all. If the buyer is uncomfortable with this and implies backing out of a “good deal”, don’t sell. It’s that simple.
  6. Paying in installment – NOPE. Both ways, this is a no go.
  7. History of impersonation. Ok this may be a touchy subject as some genuine traders could have fallen prey to the likes of such scammers as shown above, where the scammers use these genuine traders’s Steam unique ID to show you “their” profile in the hopes of gaining your trust (as their own profiles already clearly indicates a ban). Personally, I still wouldn’t go ahead with the trade, because there is much more at risk than to gain, so a simple polite decline would do.
  8. Steam wallet – NOPE. A friend or two fell prey to this one, better to say politely decline the trade if you’re unsure rather than fall prey to a Steam wallet code scam. Ask for pure keys and / or mixed items (overpay is up to you) and benchmark prices against backpack.tf if you’re unsure. Do take note not to be careless in applying unique / normal quality item prices for your strange / killstreak / etc. quality weapons or cosmetics (I will put up another post with a little more details in this area for your reference soon).

I’d like to emphasise there is no foolproof method of checking against Scammers as they keep coming up with new tactics periodically, but the above should serve as a general guideline to guard yourselves against scam attempts.

REMEMBER IF THE TRADE SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!

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