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How I almost fell into a scam when selling my MacBook Pro through the Free Market

per Osmar Leo

Due to my hobby of photography, my MacBook Pro started complaining about memory the times I needed to edit large images. Although my taste for photos is quite old, the game started to get serious when I bought a DSLR camera and specific lenses: JPEG files are now gigantic RAW images and the computer editing effort is much bigger. So I decided to upgrade my Mac.

I also have an aggravating factor: I travel a lot for work and carry a big bad laptop for several reasons. My setup : 13 ? MacBook Pro, period. When I bought it, there was no way to put more than 8GB of RAM; However, today is already possible. So I decided to exchange my old MacBook Pro 2016 for a 2018 model with 16GB of RAM.

The path for those who want to sell something over the internet in Brazil almost boils down to two websites: OLX and Free market. I chose the second one for personal safety reasons and it was precisely this security that was put to the test that I will describe in this article.

On the night of November 14th, I decided to create the ad: I used my camera to make some nice photos, I put a nice feature as an ad differential (give my Magic Mouse 2 toast), I collected all the technical data from my MacBook Pro and I created the ad in Mercado Livre. It was very close to my bedtime I would go to Salvador the next morning and get up very early to catch the flight.

I woke up early on the 15th; it was 4:45 when I saw that I had already received three emails regarding my ad; I ignored it until I was at Uber, heading for the airport. They were two supposed messages from the Free Market and one from the buyer. I had sold my MacBook with no bargains, no questions asked and a 3x higher shipping charge paid by the buyer. Of course I got excited about all that! I was going to Salvador and the box of my MacBook Pro was (with Apple stickers and all) at my parents' house waiting for this moment was the timing Perfect!

Waiting at the airport and a good deal of sales and life experience made me realize that something was not right. So I decided to see the sale details and reread the emails calmly:

Free Market Blow

The amounts were provisionally locked for security reasons and would be released after shipping?

Second email I received:

Free Market Blow

Submit my bank details to the Paid Market via email? Anyone who has ever made sales through the Paid Market knows it doesn't work like this

And the third email:

Free Market Blow

The buyer asking me pause the ad and that the confirmation could be in my mailbox spam / junk mail?

· ? ·

The magic of the blindfold had been undone, and anger washed over me. I waited two days to get back to it and look at it with a cold head; Someone tried to outwit me and had my email. He was able to send me a message less than two hours after the announcement was published and that was pretty weird for a secure online sales system in Brazil.

My first attitude was to gather all the emails, print their headers (as we can track the sender), as much buyer data as possible and make a complaint on the Mercado Livre website. I did this after the two days of such a sale, already cold-headed, reporting each situation and with all the data as the site requires. I even informed that it would be much more interesting if the company itself asked for measures to the police, being a legal person interested in the subject and with thousands of customers. I never received a response from Mercado Livre today, December 11th and I didn't receive a confirmation of receipt of a complaint.

I appreciate the confidence of , the space and credibility to alert those who want to make a sale as in my case. We considered filing a complaint, but I don't want to use the term ?denunciation? in this article. Strange as things may be in my report, I prefer the benefit of debt to everyone involved (including removing the buyer's name and address).

It is worth mentioning some details that are easily identifiable and that occurred in my case:

  1. Mercado Livre does not use the confirmedcapra address to send confirmation of sale messages;
  2. The Free Market does not require the ad to be paused on a sale;
  3. The Mercado Pago transaction is carried out within the Mercado Pago system and protected by encryption (used over HTTPS), not via email;
  4. Be wary of the amount received for shipping Mercado Livre informs the amount to be charged to the buyer when creating the ad.

The most important: contain your euphoria! so do camos in buying scams. Always find out what's going on, and at the slightest sign of something weird, ask for support from the site.

Although I reaffirm that I would like to give the benefit of the debt to those involved, personal notes and complaints about what happened:

  1. Mercado Livre has ignored, lost or does not pay due attention to the complaints on its website. This is worrying; I have stopped using other sales methods because I trust the website's credibility, including my ad remains active to date.
  2. How did an alleged impostor get my email to send fraud messages? Was it a security breach or simply an unfortunate coincidence?

This article demonstrates the dangers of online product sales and assists new sellers on the path to online Brazilian sales. It is also worth as a charge for improvements in customer support of Mercado Livre and general alert to other sites that serve the same purpose.