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Founded in 2002, iOffer is an online peer-to-peer marketplace where people can buy and sell anything they want. While the platform started as an online auction website where customers could bid on the products that they wanted to buy, it has since deviated to a negotiated business model similar to online flea markets and garage sales. Customers can negotiate the pricing with sellers before making a purchase.
But as a popular alternative to eBay, iOffer has also ended up attracting bad actors looking to scam unsuspecting customers or sell counterfeit products. Therefore, it is now imperative for brands not just to track the ecommerce platform but also to report sellers trying to impersonate them.
iOffer is an online marketplace platform for buying and selling locally. From clothing to shoes, jewelry, cellphones, accessories, companies, and sports equipment, iOffer provides a large variety of products.
The platform allows sellers to list the products for sale for free. Only a small fee is charged by iOffer when an item gets sold on the platform. Sellers also need to pay up a small fee for premium product listing services like highlighting or specifically listing their products on the home page. For every listed product, sellers can choose to post a starting asking price or even request offers from buyers. Buyers can check seller feedback and reviews before they make a purchase.
iOffer recommends all communication as well as purchases between sellers and buyers to happen within the app so both parties can be protected.
The platform states that its main goal is to make local selling and buying a seamless experience for everyone.
Since iOffer does not vet sellers who open accounts on the platform or check every new product listing, it can be very easy for scammers and bad actors to fly under the radar. Moreover, iOffer is a peer-to-peer ecommerce platform, which means it does not require sellers to adhere to certain quality standards or submit documentation to prove that they have the permission to sell the products they have listed.
As a result, there have been cases of rampant counterfeits on iOffer. In March 2019, the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) blocked iOffer’s access to the different payment methods and gateways, which forced the business to shut down temporarily.
While iOffer is now live again after sorting the issue, there is still a risk that counterfeit products may show up on the platform again. It is estimated that the overall global trade of counterfeit and pirated products is worth half a trillion dollars now and the ecommerce space contributes significantly to these numbers.
Counterfeiting poses a huge risk for businesses as it can be harmful to the bottom line revenue as well as business reputation.
There are several ways that fraudsters can operate on iOffer to trick customers, including:
This is a scam that is often pulled by scammers when there is a highly popular or coveted product in the market which is either a limited release or very difficult to find anywhere.
Scammers post product listings of popular products stating that there are only a limited number of items available in order to induce a sense of urgency. In some cases, the scammers may even put a price tag above the MRP to make the listing appear genuine.
In a rush to buy a popular product, you may fail to notice the finer print in the detailed and lengthy product description which mentions that you will receive the box that the product came in and not the product itself. At the end of it, you get an expensive empty box.
Scammers use high-quality original product images and even the same original product descriptions to convince customers they are buying the real thing on iOffer. The goal is to use stolen copyrighted material from brands in order to sell counterfeit products.
When customers buy these products, not knowing they are counterfeits, they will obviously end up blaming the brand for selling cheap quality products.
While iOffer protects buyers and sellers when transactions occur through its platform, it cannot do anything if a seller asks customers to initiate payments outside.
Scammers may trick customers into making a transaction outside of iOffer – This can be in the form of direct bank payments, PayPal, Venmo, or even cryptocurrency. But as soon as the payment gets cleared, scammers disappear and the customers never end up getting the product they intended to buy.
Sometimes, scammers may even lure users to a phishing website and ask them to make payments there in order to steal their personal information or banking details.
iOffer clearly states in its policy that it doesn’t support or allow the sale of products that infringe on someone else’s intellectual property. This includes copyrighted materials, trademarked products, and patented designs. Any seller that infringes on the intellectual property rights of a third party can and will get removed from the platform without any notice.
If you are an intellectual property owner and you have found counterfeit products or replicas on iOffer that use your copyright or trademark, you can report the breach of IP directly to the website by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org along with the subject line ‘Infringement Notice.’
You should include the URLs to the product pages that are infringing on your IP along with supporting documentation that prove that you own the IP rights for those products/content/ design.
It’s crucial for businesses, especially in the ecommerce space, to constantly monitor and scan ecommerce marketplaces like iOffer in order to ensure bad actors aren’t taking advantage of their popular products and copying their IP for quick profits.
With Red Points, you can identify and effectively shut down illegitimate product listings from thousands of marketplaces online. The solution uses bots to crawl through the different marketplaces and leverages automation to speed up the takedown process. This in turn doesn’t just save time but also ensures no scammers infringing on your IP slip through the gaps.