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If you receive a suspicious message concerning an item in your shop, please proceed with caution.

The message might be sent by an individual attempting advance-fee fraud, also called the “419 scam.”


What to look out for

In combination, the following characteristics may indicate the message is a scam:

Does the buyer:

  • Use odd phrases, or strange formatting in the message?

  • Offer to send you more money than you are asking for your item? This is known as an overpayment scam and is described under How the Scam Appears below.

  • Say they are a traveling businessperson, an oceanographer, or away at sea?

  • Insist you reply via a personal email address, off of Osbisy? A buyer who immediately insists on communicating off of our site may be questionable.

  • Seem to not have read or looked at your listing, based on their vague questions?

  • Refuse to go through Osbisy Checkout, thereby disqualifying the transaction from any Osbisy protection?

  • Have a particular interest in an item of relatively high value? Scammers tend to focus on mid and high-value listings.  

How the scam appears

The scammer will attempt to convince a seller to accept a fake payment for more than the item is worth. If they are successful, the scammer will get both the item and the money. In nearly every case, the con artist will not be caught.

These scammers typically create multiple accounts on Osbisy and send the same message to different sellers with little or no personalization. Scammers target sellers who list high-priced items in their shop and have fewer sales.

Example of a real 419 scam message

Hello Seller

is this item still ready for the immediate purchase, before i proceed with the payment i will Like to ask about the item…

  1. What is the present condition of the item?

  2. Do you accept PAYPAL as your mode of payment?

  3. what is the final asking price?

kindly get back to me with your reply to my private email :

hope to read from you soon.

Best Regards


Why does this scam work?

The scammer’s payment (typically a check or money order, but increasingly an electronic invoice sent via PayPal or another payment processor) is a forgery. In the case of a check, it is not real. It is only worthless paper. Your bank may allow you to deposit it, but the payment will not clear. Your bank will hold you responsible for the entire amount.

In the case of a PayPal payment, the scammer will either send a fake PayPal confirmation email or pay with a fraudulent payment source. Whether you return the “overpayment” via PayPal or a wire transfer service such as Western Union or MoneyGram, you will still be held responsible for all of the money involved.

Never trust a PayPal payment which is contingent upon you shipping the item before funds are “released” to your account, unless you are willingly using an escrow service.

Remember: Money sent back to the scammer is money which is lost forever.


What you should do

Do not respond to the message. Osbisy does not recommend engaging these scammers for any reason. Responding will encourage the scammers and cause you to receive further scam messages.

Osbisy is actively engaged in preventing scammers from targeting our community members.

If you receive a suspicious message, you can report it by following these steps:

  1. 1. Click the More > Mark as Spam link at the top of your inbox.

This will move the message to your Spam folder and send a copy of the message to a queue which is reviewed by Osbisy Admin daily.

If you have further questions regarding a suspicious message you received, or if you exchanged money with a suspected scammer, please contact us by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

At that point, we also encourage you to contact your local law enforcement and financial institution.


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