Is Poshmark Legit? How To Protect Yourself From Poshmark Scams

Marketplaces 101
Is Poshmark Legit? How To Protect Yourself From Poshmark Scams

Poshmark is one of the most popular reselling platforms. It allows people to clean out their closets or make a business out of selling fashion, accessories, home decor, and more on the secondhand market. 


Since launching in 2011, Poshmark has grown to over 80 million users. These active buyers and sellers prove that Poshmark is, in fact, a legitimate business. Poshmark has protections in place for both buyers and sellers to keep scams and other unpleasant experiences to a minimum, but it doesn't hurt to keep yourself informed and safe. 


A Brief Overview Of Buying And Selling On Poshmark 


Poshmark has worked hard to ensure that both buying and selling on their platform are as easy and safe as possible. Their easy buying and shipping options have made them one of the top reselling platforms in the industry. 


Buyers will enjoy the ability to search for items and save them with "likes." They can purchase outright, make an offer, or wait to receive an offer. They can also bundle more than one item together to receive a discount and a break on shipping costs. Once they've made a purchase, the buyer will receive notifications and a prompt to accept and review the item. 


Sellers love Poshmark because they have one of the simplest shipping options of all the reselling platforms. For a flat fee, sellers can ship up to 5 lbs and use free USPS shipping labels. This means sellers don't have to enter a weight for each item when listing and don't have to choose between multiple shipping options. Poshmark holds money from purchases until the item is confirmed delivered and can easily be transferred from your Poshmark account to your bank account. 


Poshmark markets itself as a place to clean out your closet, but a select group of sellers have seen the potential to make reselling clothing and home decor a dependable source of income. Full-time and part-time resellers will continue to acquire inventory from the cheapest sources to resell online for a profit. For example, you can take donations, buy from thrift stores or outlets, or buy wholesale to keep expenses down. While most Poshmark users are buyers and casual sellers, most of Poshmark's sales come from "power sellers." 


How Did Poshmark Become So Popular?


From early on, the creators of Poshmark knew they wanted their app to be community-based with a focus on buyers and sellers rather than products. They proved this by making social aspects like Posh Parties and Sharing essential to success on the platform. They took it one step further with an annual in-person event called PoshFest. 


In 2016 Poshmark decided to gamble on their community and cut their marketing budget by more than 80%, letting word of mouth build their membership. It worked, and Poshmark grew 5x their previous size in record time, proving that community was vital to Poshmark's success. 


Over time, Poshmark has added many features, such as bundling, bulk actions, and live sales. The app and the selling experience are constantly evolving. You can also have a lot of fun being involved in the Poshmark community on social media. 

You might also be interested in 10 Great Marketplaces Every Reseller Should Consider


Poshmark Scams Buyers Need To Be Aware Of 


Scams aimed at buyers are rare since breaking the platform's rules even one time can get an account permanently banned. Buyers can sometimes get an inauthentic item through either malicious intent or by accident. Luckily, Poshmark has buyer's protection against this, and you can quickly resolve this issue by opening a case through the Poshmark app. 


Buyers should pay close attention to the photos and details of any item they wish to purchase. Some common selling scams are selling products that are not authentic or cutting tags off fast fashion to try to sell as "boutique" or vintage when it is not. Buyers typically have positive sales experiences on Poshmark, which is why Poshmark is considered a legitimate place to buy secondhand goods. 


How Buyers Can Protect Themselves From Scams On Poshmark


Buyers should protect their Poshmark accounts with a strong password and know that Poshmark will never reach out to them asking for their password. Never try to take communication or deals off the Poshmark platform because you will lose Poshmark's protection for transactions. 


Since scammers will typically take a multi-faceted approach to gain your trust and information, you should also be vigilant about general emails you get sent from brands, including Poshmark. If the email asks you to click on links, provide additional information, or states that you won something, double-check the "from" address field to make sure the email is legitimate. If you are unsure, wait to reply to that email. Instead, create a new email with a trusted "to" address and report it or check its validity. 


If buyers become suspicious of a sale before it is shipped, they can request to cancel it. If the item comes and it is not as it was described, a buyer can open a return case. Return cases are handled by Poshmark and are usually judged based on photos and other evidence provided by buyers and sellers. Avoid buying items with limited photos, or all the photos are stock photos, and there are few images of the item you will receive. 


Poshmark Scams Sellers Need To Be Aware Of 


Selling on a legitimate and highly-rated platform like Poshmark is relatively safe. However, staying vigilant and knowing the most common scams is always recommended. There are three main scams regarding reselling on Poshmark, information phishing, off-platform purchases, and fraudulent returns. 


The internet is the primary way scammers get consumer data these days. One of the most common scams on Poshmark and on all reselling platforms is the request for your information. A buyer will message you with a plausible-sounding story about why they need you to connect with you via email or phone and will ask for your information. It might go something like this, "Hey, I'm interested in these shoes for my son, but he doesn't have a Poshmark account; please send me your phone number, and I will have him text you." There are many reasons people are trying to get your information. With enough pieces of your personal data, they can commit identity fraud. Never give any personal data to strangers on the internet. Poshmark has rules against taking communication and sales off the platform for a reason: to keep you safe. 


Why Might Scammers Want Your Contact Information?


Some scammers are playing a long game of data mining to hack into your personal accounts. They employ various methods to collect as much of your data as possible. Getting your email or phone number might just be the first step. Your information will be kept and compiled over time. They will match it up with future information they receive from additional scams, such as emailing you from official-looking accounts to get more data. 


Online scams are on the rise, with the US Federal Trade Commission stating that consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021. Many of these scams are related to identity theft and shopping scams online. 


Pro Safety Tip: Fun-looking games, quizzes, and viral posts on Facebook might look innocent, but sometimes they have sinister intent. For example, you might see a viral post asking people to give the name of their first pet. That seems cute and innocent, but "the name of your first pet" is a common password security question for banks and other institutions. 


Getting you to take the transaction off Poshmark is another common scam, especially for higher-end items. Let's say you have a handbag that is selling for $200. A buyer messages you and says they want to arrange a purchase outside of Poshmark to avoid paying fees. Since the fees on a $200 item are pretty high, you might be tempted, but you should never do this. First, it is against the Poshmark TOS (terms of service) and can get you removed from the platform. Second, it's highly dangerous as you lose Poshmark's Protection for the transaction. This "buyer" is either trying to steal your information, or they plan to pay and then cancel the payment so that they end up with both your item and the money. 


Local Cashier’s Check Scam


A common scam on Facebook Marketplace that is making its way to other platforms has to do with Cashier's Checks. People will offer to pay with Cashier's Checks that are fraudulent. You trade your item for the check, and when you go to cash it, you find that it's a fraudulent check which you can be fined for, and you've lost your item. A typical story used over and over by scammers is that they purchase this item for a military service member out of the country. This scam plays on your emotions and desire to help people. They will tell you they are going to pick up the item and pay you with a check with someone else's name on it for this reason. This is how you accidentally get tricked into taking a fake check. To protect yourself when selling locally, choose to take cash-only deals. For Poshmark sales, keep all sales on the platform, and you will not have this issue. 


Return Fraud Scams


Finally, there is return fraud. Return scams are where a buyer purchases a high-end item, opens a return case, and mails you back a different item. It then becomes a he-said-she-said situation that is difficult for Poshmark to judge. Another return scam is when a buyer wants to return an item but needs a reason for the return that Poshmark will accept, so they deliberately damage the item to get their case approved. One more return scam would be a buyer that opens a case stating you sent them an empty box. These incidents should be few and far between because if they happen too often, the buyer's account will be suspended. 




How Sellers Can Protect themselves From Scams On Poshmark 


For the most part, you will make sales on Poshmark with no issues, but there are always a few bad apples out there. To make sure you don't fall victim to a scam, follow these safety rules when selling on Poshmark. 


  1. Have a strong password, and never give your password to anyone. Remember, Poshmark has access to your password, so they will never ask you for it. 

  2. Reduce the amount of personal information publicly connected to your Poshmark business. For example, don't use your real last name anywhere on the public-facing areas of your account. Use a PO Box if possible. 

  3. Never give your contact information to a potential buyer. It is unnecessary and against the rules. There is no legitimate reason for a buyer to need your personal email or phone number. 

  4. Think twice about selling expensive items to brand new accounts or accounts needing more basic information like a photo and bio info and with no sales or reviews. 

  5. Protect yourself when selling high-end items with photos and a post office receipt showing the package's weight. 

  6. Never leave your balance sitting on Poshmark. Your Poshmark account is not a bank, so transfer funds often. Someone could hack your account to change your bank information to their own. 

  7. Report and block buyers that ask for your information or that suggest off-platform purchases. 


When in doubt, go with your gut. It's better to lose a sale than get scammed. However, keep in mind that most of the time, sales are legitimate and will not be a hassle. Scams should be relatively rare on Poshmark, and sometimes people are quick to yell "scammer" when there is actually just a misunderstanding or mistake being made. 


What Are Buyer and Seller Protections On Poshmark?


Poshmark has specific protections in place for both buyers and sellers to keep the community safe. Always ensure that you read the terms of service, rules, and other help files presented by the platform you are buying from or selling on to understand your rights. 


The buyer's protection is called "Posh Protect" and allows Poshmark to hold funds until you have received and inspected your item. You also have the right to a free return if the item is damaged or was misrepresented by a seller. 


The seller's protection includes shipping insurance and protection from lost and damaged packages. Poshmark also requires a signature for items over $400. In exchange for the fees that Poshmark charges sellers, you will also receive customer service and assistance in return cases. 


In addition to these protections, Poshmark offers a no-cost authentication service for all items sold for over $500. These items will be shipped to Poshmark headquarters for authentication before being redirected to the buyer's address. 


How To Legitimately Cancel An Order On Poshmark


Under certain circumstances, a buyer can cancel a Poshmark order that has yet to be shipped. Orders placed accidentally through the "buy now" button can be canceled for up to three hours after the purchase. Sellers are told not to ship during this time. You cannot cancel an order that was placed through an offer or that has been shipped by the sellers already. Go into your orders on the app and select "problems/order inquiry" to cancel the sale. 


There is one more reason you can legitimately cancel a Poshmark order. If an item you purchased has not been shipped after seven days, you can also cancel by following these steps:


  1. In the app, select your Account Tab (@username), or on the web, select your profile photo at the top-right corner.

  2. Select My Purchases.

  3. Select the relevant order.

  4. Select Problems/Order Inquiry. 

  5. Select Order is Delayed.

  6. Select Cancel Order. 


How To Facilitate Returns On Poshmark


In order to protect sellers, Poshmark does not approve return requests for items that do not fit or for buyer's remorse. Poshmark will only accept return requests for things purchased from the Poshmark platform. In order to avoid buyers being disappointed with the fit, make sure to include not only the size on the tag but the material contents and some measurements as well. 


However, there are some cases in which Poshmark will approve a return request from a buyer. This includes:

  • Undisclosed damage

  • Incorrect or missing item

  • Items that are not as described 

  • Item is not authentic (this is not only against Poshmark's rules but also illegal in the US, where knowingly selling counterfeit items can come with criminal charges) 


You must also open and inspect your Poshmark purchases immediately, as you only have three days to open your return case. Once approved, you have just five days to ship the item back to the seller, or your return will be canceled, and funds will be released to the seller. 


To start a return case, open the order on the Poshmark app and tap "Problems / Order Inquiry." A Poshmark representative will help facilitate the return. 


How Sellers Can Protect Themselves Against Return Cases On Poshmark 


Sellers hate return requests. Not only do they hold up your funds and disrupt your processes, but many people become defensive on both sides, causing unnecessary drama. 


The main issue with returns is the vagueness of the "item not as described" rule. Many sellers will be disgruntled over a return request where the buyer states the item is different from what is described because of discrepancies over exact colors, patterns, or how the damage was described. 


Here are some tips to help you win more Poshmark cases:


  • Always have plenty of clear photos with good lighting on your listings

  • Provide a detailed description

  • Disclose damages or flaws and include photos 

  • Provide measurements and a list of materials 

  • Package items carefully so they do not get damaged

  • Keep receipts with package weights for expensive items 

  • If a case is opened, respond promptly and be professional, keeping all emotions out of the process

  • Provide Poshmark support with photos and other relevant details, talk directly to Posh Support, and do not address the customer 


The Final Word: Is It Safe To Buy And Sell On The Poshmark App? 


If you ask the majority of buyers and sellers on Poshmark, they would tell you that they have been Posh customers for years with little to no issues. As a Poshmark user for six years myself, I've never been scammed as a buyer or a seller. I have had only a handful of approved return cases on Poshmark as well, even as a full-time seller.  


My personal advice for safe buying and selling on Poshmark includes paying close attention to details and always staying professional. Communication is the key to success on Poshmark. 


I learned early on that a very detailed description could save me a lot of headaches. Providing measurements is a hotly debated topic among Poshmark resellers. Some sellers think it is a waste of time, while others swear they get more sales when they provide measurements. When it comes down to it, when you are selling clothing on a platform that does not allow return requests for fit, it's really in your best interest as a seller to provide both measurements and materials to your customers. Especially with vintage and pre-loved items that could have shrunk or stretched over time, measurements are your best defense against return requests. Without them, the buyer could state the item was not as described rather than "it was too small for me" due to the item having shrunk in the wash by a prior owner. 


I also ignore requests for my information and block any potential buyer asking me for contact information or suggesting taking the sale off the platform. Follow these tips, and you should have a fun and safe shopping experience! 

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