Tips for Buyers on How to Avoid Online Scams

Tips for Buyers on How to Avoid Online Scams

We would all like to think that everyone is trustworthy when you’re talking about love and weddings, but that’s not always the case.  The internet can be a place where people aren’t always looking out for your best interests.  We want to help protect you from online scammers as you use OnceWed to buy your dream wedding gown online.  

There are lots of honest sellers out there, so don’t let this information scare you.  We believe that knowledge is power and we love informed buyers!

Unprotected Payment - The Number One Mistake Buyers Make

We can not stress this enough – NEVER EVER EVER send a gift card(s), check, cashier check, money order or wire transfer as payment – NEVER! Not even for a “deposit”. The chances are extremely high that you will lose that money and never receive a dress.

Read more about protected forms of payment here.

Ask Detailed Questions and for Specific Pictures

Scammers have become very inventive about how they scam people and will contact someone who has a dress for sale and ask for lots of pictures. Then they turn around and create a fake listing using the other person’s images.  If you have any suspicion that this has happened, ask the “seller” to send you a picture of themselves in street clothes so that you can compare it to the images of them in their wedding dress.  An honest seller won’t mind – a scammer will make up a reason they can’t do it.

Spot the Scammers

We want to share some telltale signs that will indicate whether you’re talking to a scammer. If you run across any of these things please stop all communications and contact us so that we can investigate and block them from the site.

  • A purchase should be quick and easy – not convoluted with lots of unnecessary emails back and forth.
  • Seller asks for your email to send pictures to do not do this. They want you to communicate off the site so that we cannot monitor the messages. They can send pictures inside our messaging system.
  • If a listing says either of the following it is a scam:
    • OnceWed has prequalified them (we don’t prequalify sellers)
    • OnceWed is blocking their email so please use the email they put in their listing (if we have blocked their email it is because they are a scammer)
  • Scammers have become wise to the fact that we encourage our buyers to only use a payment method that offers purchase protection, and will start out saying that is the payment method they want to use, but late into your conversation they may ask you to send something like an “earnest deposit” via check. The latest scam is to ask people to send Amazon gift cards because there is a problem with their PayPal account. Or to send the shipping fee, or local tax stamp fee, etc. in cash. They will ask for money in any way they can think of to get something from you. Once again, NEVER send gift cards, checks, cashier checks, money orders, or wire transfers as payment for anything. Only use a protected form of payment like PayPal or Escrow for the entire transaction.
  • Scammers are most often from other countries (not always, though, so be careful).
  • You get e-mails from strange e-mail addresses or get emails from the same seller from multiple email addresses.
  • A message has poor grammar and spelling or is awkwardly worded.
  • The person trying to sell starts out with all the right answers to your questions.  Then all of a sudden they start weaving this tale about their “special circumstances” that require this sale to be anything but straightforward – walk away!  They may say they are emailing you on behalf of someone else, they may say they are the mother of the bride, or the wedding planner and they’re coordinating everything for another person. Beware of any story that doesn’t seem entirely right.

Use a Secure Payment Service

We encourage you to use PayPal or Escrow because they are safe and secure online payment services. These forms of payment will protect you if:

  • Dress does not show up
  • Dress arrives damaged
  • Dress is not as described

Paying with PayPal or Escrow means that you are protected and will be able to get a refund. You will not get your money back in the above situations if you paid via wire transfer, gift cards, check, money order, Venmo, etc. 

Always Be Careful, Let Us Know If You See Suspicious Behavior 

The main thing to remember when you’re buying your used wedding dress online is to be careful.  An honest seller is going to be just as cautious as you, but they will be giving you the right answers and not setting off alarms.  If any of the above happens to you, or if you’re ever suspicious of an e-mail, provide us with the email exchange at and we will block this person from selling on OnceWed if we feel they are a scammer.  Just take the time to investigate and ask the right questions to ensure that your transaction will be quick and easy


Once Wed was launched in March 2008 to meet a need in the marketplace for an online listing service for second-hand wedding dresses. Within a short time, the company had developed into an online wedding publication and resource to provide newly-engaged brides with inspiration and tools to plan their dream wedding.