Do not sell/buy bitcoin from those advertising on here. I just got scammed for $800. Red flags all over the place yet I fell for it cause I needed the cash. If you call they will only reply by text. They will insist they are “talking with someone on the other line” or their “battery only has 2% so they can’t talk right now and will call later”. Only they never call or answer, only text.
As you prepare to meet they will give you updates too, like every 10 minutes suggesting they are “almost there”. “I’ll text ya when I’m getting close. You at the restaurant? In case my phone dies what are you wearing so I know who to look for?” And “can you find a table near a plug outlet? I’m gonna need to charge my phone”...
He leaves the impression he is real close: “I’m about to get off the exit”. Then last minute he springs on you: “Do you have a localbitcoins account? Was hoping you could give me a positive review”. If you say you don’t have an account or prefer not to set one up, he will persistently suggest that you’re “not sending anything” to him directly. And: “It all goes to localbitcoins’ escrow” and you don’t hit “release coins” until “after I give you the cash”.
When you check out the localbitcoins site it’s looks sketchy so I said no thanks. But the site is actually legit to an extent, it’s just like Craigslist and acts solely as a platform for others to transact. When I said I didn’t want to setup an account he then puts you on a guilt trip, “I drove all this way for nothing” and that this is how he “does it with all his clients on their first meeting”. He says he won’t meet face to face until he knows your account is set up for his safety, since he doesn’t want to reveal his vehicle/license plates because he carries “$40k” in cash.
It’s a smooth move, because if he tells you to set up a localbitcoins account in the beginning it will leave you enough time to research and look up potential scams. But by springing it on you last second it throws you off your game since now you’re in a hurry to figure out if it is a scam or not. Since he’s “right around the corner”, and threatens to turn back if you don’t set up account, it leaves you a short window to conduct the trade since you don’t want to miss out on getting cashed out.
Another thing he persistently asked was “How often do you get bitcoin? Because next time it will be quick and easy since you’ll already have your account setup” And that he comes to your “area” at least once a week and looks forward to doing future transactions.
The localbitcoin site is not the scam, the scammer just uses the site since it’s so vague and easy to confuse/trick someone into sending bitcoin to a scammer. The site does offer an “escrow” if you choose “post a trade”. But if you send bitcoin by using “quick sell”, it doesn’t go to escrow, it goes immediately to address you send it to.
Quick sell is for people you want to send bitcoin to that you already know or are familiar with. In “quick sell” there is no escrow, it goes directly to the address you send it to. If you want to send money to someone you don’t know, you hit “Post a trade” and in this method it is sent to an escrow to be held until accepted by the party who wants to buy/sell. Once the party “accepts” the trade, it sits in escrow until the cash is paid out, then once the cash is in hand then you hit “release bitcoin”.
So when you set up a localbitcoins account, the scammer knows you just signed up so he sends you a fake email ie “no-reply@localbitcoins”. Email looks like it is from the LOCALBITCOINS site, but it’s fake. It says:
“Welcome and Thank You for setting up an account... You have been invited to trade with username Pacmantrader ... Just copy escrow address from this email and paste into send bitcoins. Once trade is accepted and cash is in your hand hit release bitcoins. Remember not to hit RELEASE until cash is in your hand”..
Turns out even the username is someone’s real account, only the person using it is not who you are talking to. They use someone else’s username/account that has all good reviews so you feel at ease. So BEWARE, if you send bitcoin DO NOT USE QUICK SELL, or SEND BITCOIN which happens to be conveniently posted on the front main page. This method does not offer escrow! So if someone mentions localbitcoins I would avoid them at all costs..