Scammers really like the tarantula hobby because there are many rare, expensive species that keepers are always looking to buy for cheap. Scammers typically pop up around Christmastime, but they will make appearances anytime throughout the year.
Some red flags we've spotted (these things alone don't necessarily equal scammer, but they are things to look out for):
1. They don't accept PayPal or business Venmo, only payment methods that don't offer purchase protection
2. Their social media profiles are newer and/or don't have a lot of personal photos
3. They answer every public question with "PM me"
4. They're not a member of any other similar social media groups, but they may have some mutual friends
5. The pages they like or are affiliated with are on totally different continents (i.e. Cameroon)
6. When asked for more photos, they give blurry pics of completely different animals
7. They cannot provide any real reviews or references
8. For some reason, female G. pulchra and P. metallica seem to be the most common scam animals posted that I've seen lately
And if you do decide to purchase from someone you aren't meeting in person and have never met before:
1. Get it in writing that they guarantee live arrival and what the exact contents of your shipment are. I usually put a note in my payment invoice as well.
2. Pay with PayPal if you can, and ALWAYS pay the 3% fee for Goods & Services purchase protection. Venmo also has limited purchase protection, but usually only with business accounts. This will be obvious when you go to arrange the payment, BEFORE you send money
3. Even if you have purchased from a stranger before without issue, they may decide to scam you at any time with future purchases. Pay the G&S fee every time. (Learned this one the hard way)
4. Ask the community! Many other keepers can recognize more subtle red flags.
Keep a cautious eye out folks! If you ever smell a scammer, feel free to contact us to verify the suspicions.