Trading outside Steam is never safe. There is always somebody that has to go first and who is at risk of losing his items.
There are legit PayPal/Bitcoins/.. traders out there but there are also way more scammers.
I have listed the most common ways of trading outside Steam, please read on the risks of them and assess yourself if you want to take that risk. There are other ways of doing trades outside Steam like bank transfers, but they apply the same principle as the others. You are always at risk.
Remember, if it is too good to be true it probably is a scam.
How to verify a legit trader?
Simple answer: You can’t.
Trading outside Steam is always at risk, but usually somebody who has a big inventory, a legit looking cash thread is most likely not a scammer.
Use middleman’s where possible.
Use BitSkins if you want a secure way to buy and sell items. BitSkins provides a risk-free middleman service to allow you to do any safe transactions.
PayPal is the most used since the seller is at great risk. Even when the buyer is going first, he can always reverse his PayPal transaction. Even several months after the payment.
PayPal does very little to protect digital item transactions, so the seller is always at great risk.
Scammers usually also provide some evidence trying to convince you that they are legit. Be cautious because these things can easily be edited/Photoshopped.
Another way that is also used a lot is trading by Steam Cards.
The buyer will usually convince you into giving you half the code, and then the rest when the trade is completed.
A steam card has the format of xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx, when they give you half the card that means you still need to receive 7-8 characters. Since these can be letters and numbers there will be 78 BILLION combinations left.
+Rep, Steam Level, .. means nothing
Understand that scammers can try to create convincing profiles by having a high Steam level, lots of +rep and pictures of expensive items. Lets break this down.
+Rep does not mean anything, and when a buyer is telling you to trust him because of this, then it’s usually a scammer.
+Rep can be faked and a lot of scammers do this. They create topics where-ever they can and ask to do “+Rep for +Rep”, this is to make the scammer his profile more legit.
Steam levels can be boosted very easily by buying the right cards.
And when you see the buyer has pictures of expensive items on his profile and you actually check his inventory he will most likely have nothing.
Usually these scammers have a link to their “Vault” account and that they use that account for negotiations. The URL will then link to the legit trader his inventory/or the actual vault of the scammer. Those accounts usually contain lots of expensive items.
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If you think you have found a legit trader and wish to do an exchange. Remember to record and archive everything. In case you get scammed, you’ll then have the evidence to make sure this scammer gets banned.
If you have been scammed, please follow this guide to create good evidence and report it on our forum/SteamRep.
And once again remember: If it’s too good to be true, it’s usually a scam.
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