Online production gear traps are out there. With our 15 years of buying and selling used production gear, we’ve seen some shenanigans. That said, the majority of used production gear sellers and buyers are tremendous people. We’ve made great friends in the industry and love recommending them. Just keep this article’s tips in mind when you’re buying online. And after you finish this article on what to look out for, check out our Top 10 Platforms to buy used production gear online. This article will give you further things to look out for when you’re in the market for pro audio gear.

1. The Gift Card Online Production Gear Traps

Gift card scams are all the rage now. These take many forms. Sometimes you get an email from your “boss” asking for gift cards to be bought, photographed, and sent to them immediately. As far as online production gear traps go, this is a really common one. When you’re buying physical goods, gift cards can also be used to scam buyers because gift cards are not secured payment options. The value can be stripped off of the card and the seller will disappear with your money and the item you thought you were going to receive. Always decline a request to pay a seller with a gift card. 

Down payments should only happen on a trusted platform

2. Sending a Down Payment

These online production gear traps require some nuance 

Trusted Sources 

Some sites have a layaway option where you can pay for the item over time before you receive it. This allows someone to pay for something monthly if they can’t afford to buy it outright at the start. Websites like eBay have an option like this and you can trust the biggest brand name in used goods. We have also offered this in the past to our customers. However, you have to be very cautious using this option on other websites. Only do a layaway option when you absolutely trust the brand/platform. 

Untrustworthy sources 

If the website isn’t a massive brand name that you can fully trust, you should assume layaway/down payments are a bad option. For example, someone could take your “down payment” on Facebook Marketplace and then disappear. Proceed with extreme caution when someone requests down payments. 

3. Buying without Vetting the Seller

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably not the type of person to skip the vetting process. That’s good! You’re avoiding online production gear traps. Vetting the seller is necessary when buying online. We wrote an entire list of vetting tips here.

Be careful giving away your credit card information

4. Credit Cards vs. Debit cards

A debit card is linked directly to your bank account. If a scammer makes their way through, they could wipe out your entire account. However, a credit card keeps scammers away from your account. Furthermore, a credit card has more protection than a debit card. If you encounter a scammer, you can typically have the charge removed.

5. The “too good to be true” online production gear traps

Trust your gut. Deals that feel too cheap or involve rare items are typically scams.The “best deal ever” scam is an effective one because it tempts us to ignore our intuition. Seduced by the amazing price, we run full force into a trap. Therefore, if a rare item is suddenly available in abundance or an expensive item is suddenly a tenth of the cost, proceed with caution. Sadly, things that are too good to be true typically aren’t in fact true. If you’re struggling to find the item you need at a price you can afford, check out our top 10 platforms to buy used pro audio equipment article.

6. Check their Reviews

Check Facebook reviews and Google reviews like your money depends on it. Because it does. If the website has 100 plus reviews of happy customers, you can feel very confident that the website has zero online production gear traps. If they have zero reviews anywhere, this is a red flag. It isn’t a deal-breaker, but they need to earn your trust in other ways if they lack reviews. 

7. Social Security Numbers & Bank Account Numbers

Once you’ve found the item you need and have vetted them thoroughly, it’s time to pay. However, be picky with what information you give them. They should only need a credit card to complete the purchase. If you can use Paypal instead, that is the safest option. Do not give anyone your bank account number. If you give someone your bank account number, they can easily drain your entire bank account, and the bank won’t be able to help you as you’ve given them the information. This happened to a friend of mine, and it was a devastating blow to her family. 

This goes for social security numbers as well. If they fail this step, the entire purchase should be canceled. Even if they passed the other tests, this test proves they are duplicitous. Asking for a bank account number or social security number is the same as them saying “Hello my name is scammer mc scammy.” 

A common online production gear trap with fake photos

8. Tagged Photos

Are they selling something nice, but their website looks terrible? Ask them to send you a photo with either a receipt of the item or a photo of them holding the item. Scammers can grab a photo from another platform and list it as if they have it in under two minutes.

Sound crazy? We agree. However, this happens a lot.

We find photos of our used production gear on other sites all the time where scammers take our photos and try to sell items they don’t have to people. They just drag our photos off the listing onto their desktop, list the item on their site, and cut the price 75%. The internet is a wild place and sadly there is nothing that can be done to stop these type of scammers other than avoiding them. 

9. The non-encrypted URL online production gear traps

If the site doesn’t have HTTPS in the URL, the information is not encrypted. While having HTTPS in the URL isn’t an automatic reason to trust them, it is a reason to automatically move on.

Buying high quality used production gear shouldn’t feel like you’re walking over land mines. 

Subscribe to the Early Service today to get our rarest, best used production gear 48 hours before anyone else in the world can buy it.

As a result, you’ll never have to worry about online production gear traps ever again.


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