In the pursuit to make Dogecoin based commerce a reality we will all face a few problems. One of the largest ones will be the same thing that it is for commerce using “regular” currencies to. Scammers.
Scammers are people who basically want to rip you off. They present you with some good deal and try to figure out a way to get your cash and make a run for it.
This is nothing that digital currencies are immune to. So when I built SuchList.com I wanted to help people know who to trust. It must always be a user decision to trust someone or not. Having a system that somehow decides if a user is trustworthy or not would be susceptible to manipulation and could cause false positives that could get a lot of users duped.
Instead I opted for the approach of supplying mechanisms for users to prove more about their online persona and thus help potential buyers know more about them. This information, along with feedback left by previous buyers etc would help users make educated decision of who they should put their trust into. So how do you use this information on the site?
If you browse the site you will see a bunch of items offered by other users. In the listings you will see the type of offer it is, where the item is located etc. You will also see small icons representing what kind of information the user has verified about himself.
Here we see that the user has verifed a reddit account. If we click on the item to look at it in more detail we can get even more information that’s connected to your safety.
Here we are presented with the publishers name and a number within parentheses. This number indicates the users feedback score. The feedback score is based on feedback gained both as a seller and a buyer. A high feedback score makes me a bit more confident in the user. But you should still examine the user more. You can also see if a user has any validated information here.
Clicking on the users name you will be taken to his profile where you will be able to see this information in more detail. But, in order to protect users data no information about what user account on reddit that verified etc is public. Instead you have to have you own account and log in to be able to view this information, along with the user feedback details. This also keeps Google from indexing this type of information.
So, if you haven’t already, sign in and go to the users profile page. In order not to make this users information public here I will now switch to using my own profile in these examples.
Here we can see some personal information about me. Where I’m located, an overview of my feedback and my verified information. I have verified quite a bit of information. But just because of that you should not automatically trust a user. Instead you should examine it further in your quest for confidence.
One thing to check here if is the user has verified a phone number through sms. If the phone number were to have a country code of Sweden and the user claims to be in USA I would become a bit suspicious. This in itself does not have to mean the user is a scammer. He could be in the states for work or any other reason. But it would catch my attention.
Also, if the user claims to represent some website or online store and have not had that website verified I would also take this into consideration. Perhaps ask the user to verify the site he claims to represent in order to add trust.
After this I would start going through the verified accounts. Check their history. In this case I have an eBay account verified. Great right? I must be a terrific seller! Well, let’s click on it and take a look at it.
As you can see, I have an totally empty account. So only looking at the fact that an account is verified is not enough. In fact, I created this eBay account just to be able to implement the validation code for the eBay accounts. So I have never actually used it. In sweden we use a subsidiary of eBay called Tradera where I do have an account with a bit more activity on it though… hehe
If the user has a lot of activity on eBay, check their feedback on eBay. Don’t forget to check how old the account is and how old the feedback is.
Then do the same for the other verified accounts. Check the users reddit account and it’s history.
Try to find relevant questions to ask yourself about the user.
- How old is it?
- What reddits do the user post in?
- How often does he post?
- Is he the moderator of any sub reddits?
- Has he had complaints before?
- Is he mentioned in /r/dogecoinscamwatch
Continue to check the other accounts and their history. Twitter and LinkedIn. Someone with a verified LinkedIn account that isn’t an obvious fake is probably not keen to destroy his professional life by scamming people for instance.
After this you can look at the users feedback details.
Here you will see a lot more details about the user and the feedback he has received. Both as a seller and as a buyer. You will see the users “score” in different sub categories information about what was bought or sold, when and with what other user the deal was made.
You can then start examining each individual feedback even more.
Looking at a specific feedback entry you will be able to see detailed information about it. Use this to try to spot any attempts at manipulations. Does a user have a lot of deals but only with one other user? Perhaps he registered two accounts and tried to build himself fake rep. Check the date and time of when the feedback of different deals was given and received. Also, if the system notices that the two users that were part of a deal ever shared an IP address this will be notified in the Status field. This does not have to mean that this is fake feedback, it could be two friends making a deal on the same computer etc. But it would be another thing that would make me think twice.
Make your decision
All this information, when combined, should help you make an educated decision about trusting this user or not. If the user would have had no feedback, one verified piece of information that was a reddit account that was brand new, sold expensive but desirable goods and perhaps even insisted on payment up front I would be very skeptical.
But if everything checks out or the user in some other fashion gains my trust I would go ahead with the deal.
Adding a bit of extra comfort
If you decide to trust the user but he still don’t have a ton of feedback and you want to add some extra security I highly recommend that you use an escrow service.
The one I have been recommending that has been super easy to use has been mitm.io. Unfortunately it seems to be down at the moment and despite several requests I have been unable to get a clear answer from the people over at Moolah about when/if it will be back online.
Since I want you all to be able to stay safe, I want you all to know that you are welcome to contact me to function as a manual escrow until mitm.io is back or until we have a good substitute. This will ad a bit of a delay since I will have to manually handle this and if a lot of requests come in I will have to put a small fee on it so I don’t drown by the work load. But for now there’s no such fee. I can be contacted through the contact form on SuchList.com or you can contact me on reddit /u/inquam.
Also, do note that the same level of caution and scrutiny of users should be done if you are a seller and is contacted by a potential buyer. Look at his account, verified information and the history of those accounts in the same way.