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8 Mercari Scams explained – How to avoid them

Mercari is an online marketplace where people can buy and sell new or used items. As a reseller, Mercari is helpful in finding reselling products. However, just like other selling platforms, Mercari is also full of scammers, and it can be really hard to avoid them if you don’t know what to look for.

Mercari scams involve fraudsters who create fake listings or use deceptive tactics to scam shoppers out of their money. They may also use stolen payment information or even demand personal information such as social security numbers.

In this guide, we’re going to explain some of the most common Mercari scams, how to avoid them, and what to do if you’ve already been scammed. By the end of this guide, you should have a good understanding of how to protect yourself from scammers on Mercari.

how to avoid Mercari scammers

The 8 most popular Mercari scams

Mercari is a great way to buy and sell used items, but just like any other reselling platform, there are some scams that you need to watch out for. Here are 8 Mercari scams explained and how to avoid them. By familiarizing yourself with these, you can avoid becoming a victim and keep your selling experience positive.

1. Fake listings

Fake listings are items that look like they’re new and authentic but are actually low quality knockoffs or counterfeits. These are popular among clothes, handbags, and shoes, which are some of the best items to sell in Mercari. Fake listings can also be items that don’t exist at all. They’re listed on the app to make money from unsuspecting buyers.

Avoid being scammed by fake listings

There are many illegitimate sellers on Mercari who offer fake products at high prices, so it pays to be careful when shopping online. Here are some tips to avoid fake listings:

  • Look for sellers with high ratings and positive reviews.
  • Look at the item description carefully.
  • Contact the seller directly and ask questions before making a purchase.
  • Ask for photos of the item or more information about its authenticity.
  • If an item seems too good to be true (like a designer purse for $20), it most likely is a counterfeit.

When in doubt, it’s best to trust your instincts and avoid making a purchase from sellers who seem suspicious. 

2. Cancelled transactions

A cancelled transaction is when you purchase an item from a seller, only to find out that the seller has cancelled the transaction after it’s been processed. This can be done for a variety of reasons, but usually, it’s because the seller doesn’t have the item or isn’t able to ship it out. Unfortunately, this leaves the buyer in a difficult position and out of pocket.

Avoid being scammed by cancelled transactions

The best way to avoid being scammed by cancelled transactions is to always ask questions before buying. If a seller is unwilling to answer any questions or provide any information about their product, then it may be best to steer clear and look elsewhere.

Here are other useful tips to avoid being scammed by cancelled transactions:

  1. Check the buyer’s profile for any history of cancelled transactions or negative reviews.
  2. Be aware of any suspicious behaviour from the buyer like requests for additional information.
  3. Use a secure payment method whenever possible like PayPal or Venmo that offers built-in fraud protection.

3. Non receipt of items

If you are a reseller, Mercari is a great source of best reselling products. However, non receipt of items is also one of the popular Mercari scams. It is important to know that non receipt of items is different from cancelled transactions. Non receipt of items is when a seller never actually ships the items that the buyer paid for, even though it has been marked as shipped by the seller. While cancelled transactions are when the seller has cancelled the transaction and never shipped the item.

Avoid being scammed by non receipt of items

The best way to avoid this kind of Mercari scam is to not buy from sellers who are based in another country, as it may be more difficult to track them down if there’s a problem. Here are other things that you can do to try and avoid this type of scam:

  1. Only buy from sellers who have good feedback scores.
  2. Stick to buying from sellers in your own country.

4. Misrepresentation of condition

Misrepresentation of the condition of an item is one of the most know Mercari scams, and it can be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Photoshopping or otherwise editing pictures to make the item look better than it is
  • Listing the item as “new” even though it’s clearly used
  • Not disclosing major flaws or damage to the item
  • Claiming that the item works when it clearly doesn’t

Avoid being scammed by misrepresentation of condition

While Mercari is a safe and secure platform, there are always people looking to take advantage of others. The best way to avoid being scammed by misrepresentation of item condition is to carefully read all descriptions and reviews before making a purchase.

Also, always look for pictures of the item from multiple angles, so you can get a better idea of its current condition. If still in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact the seller directly with any questions about the item before making your purchase.

5. International shipping through private companies

When it comes to international shipping and ordering goods abroad, many scammers will try to get you to use a private shipping company. These companies often promise lower rates than the major carriers but can be unreliable and untrustworthy. They may also charge hidden fees or not provide tracking numbers for your packages. In some cases, they may even refuse to give refunds or compensation if something goes wrong with the shipment.

Avoid being scammed by international shipping

It’s important to do your research before deciding to use a private shipping company – ask questions and read reviews so that you can be sure you’re making the right choice. Here are other tips you can use to avoid this kind of scam:

  1. Ask for proof of origin.
  2. Double check the cost of shipping.
  3. Never accept an offer for free international shipping.

Remember, to avoid Mercari scams, it’s best to stick with reputable companies and carefully review their policies before committing to any purchase.

6. Fake Customer Service Agents

Fake customer service agents are also one of the popular Mercari scams. They might try to trick you into giving them your private information, such as your credit card number, or they might even try to get you to wire money. Scammers may also create fake accounts on the app and try to entice buyers with deals that seem too good to be true. They may offer items at prices far lower than their market value or claim that they have rare items for sale.

Avoid being scammed by fake customer service agents

Here are some ways to protect yourself from fake Mercari customer service agents:

  1. Remember that Mercari will never ask for any sensitive information through private messages or emails.
  2. If you receive a suspicious message, it’s best to report it immediately and not provide any personal information.
  3. Always double-check the email address of the sender and look out for spelling mistakes which could indicate that it is not a legitimate message from Mercari. 

Overall, staying vigilant is the key to avoiding all kinds of Mercari scams.

7. The “bait and switch” scam

Here’s how the bait and switch scam works: a seller will list an item for a low price, usually significantly lower than the market value. They’ll include attractive photos and a convincing description to lure in buyers. This is significantly popular when buying electronic items for resale.

Once someone buys the item, the seller will contact them and say that the item is no longer available. They will now offer to send a similar item instead, but for a higher price. If the buyer agrees to pay the new price, they’ll receive an inferior product (or nothing at all).

Avoid being scammed by “bait and switch”:

The best way to avoid being scammed is to never agree to ship an item before receiving payment. That way, even if the buyer doesn’t follow through with their end of the deal, you won’t be out any money.

You should also be cautious of anyone who offers to pay more than your asking price without trying to negotiate first. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

8. The “empty box” scam

The “empty box” scam is when a seller posts an item online and waits for a buyer to purchase it. Once the buyer has paid, the seller will ship a box—but it won’t contain the item the buyer purchased. Instead, it’ll be empty. This means that the buyer has essentially wasted their money and won’t receive what they thought they were purchasing. It also means that the seller has made off with a nice profit without ever sending out an item.

Avoid being scammed by the “empty box”:

It can be difficult to spot this kind of Mercari scam before it happens, which is why it’s so important to protect yourself when shopping online. Here’s how you can avoid this scam:

  1. Only buy from sellers who are willing to provide proof of their items before you pay.
  2. Ask lots of questions and look for any red flags before handing over your hard-earned money.
  3. Pay attention to reviews and look out for any suspicious activity in the reviews, such as multiple complaints about not receiving items or empty boxes being sent out.

If something seems suspicious, don’t hesitate to ask questions before placing your order. By taking these steps and paying attention to details, you can help protect yourself from falling victim to the “empty box” scam on Mercari.

Are you protected on Mercari?

If you’re using Mercari in reselling, Mercari offers buyer protection on all purchases made through the platform. This means that if you make a purchase and don’t get what you paid for, or it’s significantly different than what was described, Mercari will refund your money. In other words, they’ve got you covered if something goes wrong.

Here’s a look at other things they do to protect users:

  • SSL encryption for all transactions
  • Trust and safety team that monitors activity on the platform
  • Seller rating system
  • Tools for users to report suspicious activity or content
  • User verification before allowing to sell

All in all, Mercari is one of the safest marketplace apps around. They have taken every measure possible to ensure that both buyers and sellers are protected when making transactions on their platform. With buyer protection and advanced fraud detection technology in place, you can feel confident when shopping on Mercari!

How to spot a scammer on Mercari

Unfortunately, not everyone on any reselling platform has honourable intentions, also in Mercari. The fastest way to spot a scammer is to check the seller’s reviews. Just like in other platforms like eBay, getting good eBay reviews e.g. is very important, and legitimate sellers are well aware of this.

To further protect yourself from falling victim to a scammer, here are some tips to look out for:

  1. Unusual payment requests. If a seller requests that payment be made via an international wire transfer or a money order, it’s best to avoid them.
  2. Refusal to provide additional information. Legitimate sellers should have no problem providing additional details about their items or themselves upon request.
  3. Unrealistic pricing. Scammers often offer items at incredibly low prices in order to entice unsuspecting buyers into their schemes. 
  4. Lack of communication. If the seller doesn’t respond quickly or fails to answer your questions adequately, this could be another sign of a scammer trying to keep their activities hidden from potential victims. 

By being aware of these warning signs and taking precautionary measures before making any purchases on Mercari, you can help protect yourself from Mercari scams and make sure your online shopping experience remains enjoyable and safe.

how to spot mercari scammers

What to do if you’re scammed on Mercari

If you think you’ve been scammed while using Mercari, the best thing to do is contact the Mercari customer service team. The team is available 24/7 and can help resolve any disputes and investigate any fraudulent activity. You should also report any suspicious behaviour or transactions to the team so that they can take appropriate action.

In addition to contacting their customer service team, you should also take steps to protect your account from further scams by:

  • Changing your password as soon as possible
  • Enabling two-factor authentication
  • Deleting any personal information from your account

How to report a scammer on Mercari

If you’re thinking to start reselling as a side job, Mercari is the best way to do it. One reason is that Mercari scams are taken very seriously by the platform, and they have a dedicated team in place to help protect buyers and sellers from fraudulent activity. Reporting a scammer will help protect yourself and other users on the platform. Here’s how:

  1. Tap the three lines in the top left corner of the app and select “Account.”
  2. Scroll down and tap “Report a Problem.”
  3. Tap “Something Else” and then “I was scammed.”
  4. Select the listing that was involved in the scam and tap “Next.”
  5. Tell what happened and how much you lost, and then tap “Submit.”

In the report section, you will be asked to provide details about what happened between you and the seller. Be sure to include as much information as possible so that Mercari can get an accurate understanding of the situation. 

This is also your opportunity to upload any evidence or screenshots that may support your claim. This could include messages between you and the seller, photos of damaged items, etc. Make sure all uploaded photos are clear and easy to read so that Mercari can better understand your case. 

Once you submit your report, it will be reviewed by Mercari’s team of experts who will determine if you were indeed scammed by the seller or not. If they find that there was indeed fraud involved, they will take appropriate action such as banning the buyer/seller or refunding any money lost due to fraudulent activity. 


While there are always going to be scammers on any online reselling platform, Mercari does a pretty good job of weeding them out. The platform has taken steps to reduce Mercari scams, but it’s still important to be aware of the potential for fraud.

If you’re going to use Mercari, be sure to take precautions to protect yourself, like only dealing with sellers who have good ratings and using a payment method that offers buyer protection. By being aware of the risks and taking some simple precautions, you avoid Mercari scams with confidence.

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