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Vinted: Beware of fraud with the "Zalando scam"


Again and again, remarkably cheap new goods can be discovered on the classifieds portal Vinted. Some of those who strike are actually sent products in top condition – which is not a good thing.

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Vinted: Millions of people use the portal to sell second-hand clothing


Marie says she was surprised when the running shoes she wanted arrived in a Zalando box.

Because the 38-year-old from Marburg did not order those shoes from the fashion giant, but via the popular classifieds portal Vinted, on which millions of private sellers are active.

After more than ten years on Vinted and its predecessor portals, Marie, whose real name is different, actually has a good gut feeling for which offers are serious and which are not.

But this time she had simply speculated on a bargain, especially since she was able to negotiate the price of the sports shoes down from 60 to 45 euros via Vinted's inquiry system.

In addition, Marie was able to use Vinted's paid buyer protection service to pay, which, according to the provider, "helps to protect you and your data while shopping".

The money from buyers initially ends up in an escrow account, so that they still have a chance to complain about defective goods, for example.

What could possibly go wrong?

Then the bill came

In the end, however, there was not only a pair of branded shoes in her package, and as promised as new goods, but also an invoice from Zalando made out in her name – for the normal price of 160 euros.

So the seller wanted to collect for a product that he had ordered from the fashion retailer in Marie's name and for which she was supposed to pay again.

As Marie soon realized, she had become the victim of a scam that users in the Vinted forum gave the keyword "Zalando scam".

The Vinted seller had opened a new account at Zalando in Marie's name, although she had had her own account there for a long time.

Apparently, the few pieces of real data he'd received about Marie through the buyer protection system—her name and address—were sufficient.

The scam is known to both companies

Just like Marie, in whose case the seller also tried to trick the shipping receipt with a screenshot, other Vinted members recently had the same experience.

They were lured with supposedly new trendy products at remarkably low prices.

There are still hundreds of dubious offers online for some shoe brands.

When asked by SPIEGEL, Zalando confirmed that the company "had to identify" cases of fraud "in the past few weeks," the pattern of which matches Marie's experience.

The question of whether the retailer makes it very easy for criminals to order expensive goods on account with new accounts was not answered in detail.

In principle, a date of birth must be entered in the course of a purchase on account.

According to reports from the Vinted forum, the "Zalando scam" sometimes even turns out to be a fraud triangle.

It also happens that fraudsters issue the Zalando invoice to a third party whose data was also stolen via the Internet.

In any case, this warning applies: Anyone who buys something from Vinted and has it delivered by Zalando must assume they have been caught in an attempt at fraud – and should report this to Zalando, Vinted and the police as soon as possible.

Zalando states that if the retailer becomes aware of “misuse of personal data received from Vinted by third parties”, he deactivates the associated customer account “immediately”: “We suspend possible reminders and cancel them – usually after the item has been returned – the corresponding Zalando claim.« The shopping giant recommends that those affected contact Vinted, file a complaint and send the package back free of charge using a return slip.

That's what Vinted says

Vinted, in turn, advises those affected to contact Zalando and report the case to the police.

"The platform is aware of the scam and is taking action to protect its community," the company told SPIEGEL without going into detail.

According to the information, however, customer service “continuously reviews each individual case and processes requests to cancel the relevant transaction so that members who have bought with Vinted Buyer Protection are compensated”.

In order for this to work smoothly, it is important that Vinted users react quickly when receiving a Zalando delivery.

With Vinted's buyer protection system, members only have two days from the time they receive the package to lodge a complaint using the "I have a problem" button.

If this does not happen or if the buyer clicks on the "Everything OK" button, the order is considered completed and the payment is released for the seller.

Vinted says that in "the majority of cases" involving unwanted Zalando shipments, affected members contacted customer service immediately.

In most cases, transactions could therefore be canceled and a refund initiated.

That's how it ended up going with Marie.

Zalando deleted the account that was created for her without her knowledge.

threats in chat

For Marie, the matter ended on a light note.

Meanwhile, some other victims had trouble beyond their contacts with the two companies and the police.

Individual users of the Vinted forum report that they received threatening messages against themselves and their families via Vinted's chat system when trying to get their money back.

You now know your postal address, so it was whispered.

There is currently no 100% protection against the “Zalando scam”, which basically also works via other portals and online retailers.

In the case of Vinted, the best thing to do is to avoid suspiciously cheap offers from accounts with strange-looking names and, above all, little or no reviews.

Marie had also come across such an account, which located itself in Stockelsdorf in Schleswig-Holstein.

This time she was really naive, she says.

»But I thought to myself: nothing much can happen to you with buyer protection.«

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-05-12

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