Home Upgrade Search Memberlist Extras Hacker Tools Award Goals Help Wiki Follow Contact

HF Rulez the UniverseHF Rulez the Universe
Warriors Owner
marketplace safe trading

Marketplace Safe Trading - Ultimate Guide to Staying Safe in the HF Marketplace

Posted 02-20-2023, 08:49 PM
[Image: 9ujsS8V.gif]

Marketplace Safe Trading
Ultimate Guide to Staying Safe in the HF Marketplace


Welcome to the Marketplace Safe Trading guide. We are going to cover a variety of topics to help new members, veterans, and everyone in between to stay safe in the marketplace. The goals are to point out common scams and what you can do to ensure your deals go as smooth as possible. Note, even though we are going to go over how to stay safe, nothing is 100% guaranteed and you can still be scammed.

Table of Contents
  • Intro to the Marketplace
    • Contract System
      • Formatting a Contract
    • Deal Disputes
  • Dealing On-Site
    • Analyzing a User
      • Basic Profile
      • Trust Scan
      • Threads and Posts
    • Checking Marketplace Thread
      • Post Date
      • Vouches/Actual Contracts
  • Interactions
    • Off-Site Communication
    • On-Site Communication
    • Validating Users
  • Final Tips/Wrap-Up
  • Important Links and Resources

Intro to the Marketplace
The marketplace is one of the most active sections here on HF. While you can make some serious money and receive some great services, it is also a heavily targeted area for scams. The marketplace offers a variety of sections where you can find exactly what you're looking for.

[Image: SaE8fzX.png]

You can find web design services, graphics design, social media services, web hosting, crypters, exchange services, and much more.

Contract System
One of the main features and requirements when working in the marketplace is the contract system. The contract system is a plugin that was developed to help with the trading and dealing process on HF. With the contract system, when you want to perform a deal with another member, you create a contract with that member. The great thing with it is you can link to the service, show prices and payment types, add detailed contract information about what is actually taking place with the deal, add terms, use a middleman, and basically fine tune the deal you are executing.

With all of the details added to the contract, it will help in the dispute process (which we will cover next) and help keep other members safe since they will be able to see if a contract went as planned or not and any hiccups along the way because you'll be able to leave a B-Rating upon completion of a deal. If a deal did not go as planned, you have the option to open a dispute against the member for the specific contract. I'm not going to go into too much depth with the contract system because Vitani already created a full thread on how to actually use contracts on site. Take the time to read through and understand how the contract system works. You can find the thread here: https://hackforums.net/showthread.php?tid=5873062

Remember, when dealing on-site, contracts are NOT REQUIRED but STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

- Formatting a Contract -
The contract system is a great tool that should be utilized properly to help safe trading. When dealing with a member, you should make it a priority to enter as much detail into the contract as possible with what specifically you are looking to do. What should go into the contract?

Your specific part of the deal:
You should enter exactly what your end of the deal is. Are you exchanging currencies? Are you purchasing a money-making method? Are you selling a service? You should specify EXACTLY what your part of the deal is with a monetary value, currency, crypto value, service name, etc. An example would be: Purchasing a service for 0.02 BTC.

Other party's specific part of the deal:
The next piece should be the other party's specific end of the deal. What is it you're purchasing, trading, or selling to them? Again, give the specifics to it. An example would be: Selling their web dev service.

When performing a deal, especially if using crypto, it may be a good idea to say a monetary value of the crypto you are sending on the specific day you are sending it. This way you can prove that you are sending the required amount. Some sellers say their service is $100 in BTC. Well as we know prices fluctuate all the time. What you send today may be different in two days. An example would be: Purchasing a service for 0.02 BTC ($454.50) at the time of sale (June 24th, 2022).

Specific requirements:
Some services have specific stipulations. Whatever it is, you need to make sure that you put that into the contract as well because it can be very important if things don't go well or there are issues with the deal.

Here is an example of a contract that provides little to no details at all:

[Image: 5ClAMna.png]

Here is an example of a contract that provides adequate information about the exchange that is taking place.

[Image: Ny4mTsf.png]

Deal Disputes
Deal Disputes are to be used if a deal didn't go as intended. The purpose of deal disputes is to hopefully resolve the deal so both parties are satisfied. It also allows the community to be warned of a sketchy deal and possible scam with another member.

If you made a deal and would like to dispute the contract, head back to the contract. To get back to your contract so you can dispute it, under the Market dropdown link, click Contracts and then you'll be presented with all of your current contracts. Go ahead and click on the contract you'd like to dispute. At the very bottom you'll see the Open Dispute button

[Image: pqdFfoW.png]
[Image: i7LzMma.png]
[Image: yhTTdsa.png]

Once you click that, fill out all of the information with as much detail as possible and then a Deal Dispute thread will automatically be generated in the Deal Disputes forum located under the Marketplace Discussions section.

[Image: iASqMmt.png]

This will allow other members to see the dispute and hopefully resolve the issue.

Do not mark the dispute as resolved until you are satisfied with the outcome. You disputed the contract for a reason. If you are being blackmailed by the other party and have on-site proof, you CAN send that info to a staff member. For more basic information on deal disputes, you can read this: https://hackforums.net/misc.php?action=help&hid=44


Dealing On-Site
Without a doubt, one of the most important ways to help protect yourself is to ALWAYS deal on-site and avoid off-site, third party apps. At least on HF, you have access to various tools to help decide whether you should deal with someone or not. Let's go over some of those tools now and how to properly analyze a user on-site.

Analyzing a User
It is critical that you do some research on someone before attempting to use their service or perform any kind of deal. Even if someone seems reputable, there is always a chance you will still be scammed.

Let's say I'm looking to start a deal with another member. For this example, I'm going to start a deal with the member @skull@

- Basic Profile -

To start, we are going to click on his name so we can be taken right to his profile page. The very first thing we are going to do is to look at his profile box. There are some basic things to look for and take note of. We are looking at his Join Date, Business Rating, Contracts Completed, and Open Disputes.

[Image: vyRIqDp.png]

Now why are these important pieces to start analyzing the user?

Join Date: The join date is a critical piece of information because you can see when a user exactly joined the site. If the user recently joined and is already trying to perform deals within the marketplace with no history at all, deal with extreme caution. They could be a legit user, but majority of people don't join and immediately try to perform deals.

Business Rating: This lets you see how some of their previous deals went. The green "booyah" rating means that the deal went well, the white "bleh" rating means that the deal went so-so, and the red "boo" rating means that the deal did not go smoothly or they had issues. As we can see, the user has had 59 "booyah" ratings meaning that he had 59 deals go as planned. They had 0 bleh and 0 boos, so that is definitely good to see.

[Image: uc4oI1Q.png]

We can see some positive reviews were said with some of his previous deals. In the top right-hand corner, we can also see a complete history of all of his deals within the last week, month, 6 months, and all time. Furthermore, we can actually filter if we want to see the booyahs, blehs, or boo ratings simply by clicking on the corresponding total, in the "All Time" row. Reading through the B-Ratings can be super beneficial to kind of give you glimpse of who the user is and how their past deals went. When you see a user with no b-ratings, or a lot of bleh and boos, deal with extreme caution especially. Of course be careful all of the time, but take note of all of the ratings.

Contracts Completed: This pairs nicely with the B-Ratings. Typically you should see a similar amount of B-Ratings and Contracts Completed. There may be a delay between contracts and B-Ratings. If someone didn't leave a B-Rating on a completed deal, an automatic "booyah" will be added after a certain time period. We can click on the number of contracts so we can see a full list of contracts completed by the user.

[Image: CwhCdke.png]

Again, this gives a good baseline to look at in terms of if the user has completed any deals and any hiccups along the way.

Open Disputes: One of the most critical pieces of information is the Open Disputes. With this user, we can see he has 0 disputes currently. To get a full glimpse of previous disputes for said user, head back to your Marketplace Control Panel, then click Contract Disputes in the left panel, then go to Search in the upper right hand corner. From there, you have the option to enter the user's profile link, UID, username, or thread link/thread ID. We are going to put the UID in here, then click search. We are then presented with all of the user's previous/current disputes.

[Image: gDd85hL.png]

[Image: qY6LIBE.png]

[Image: cyV2ffq.png]

[Image: VN4WzSc.png]

[Image: u1j5TkY.png]

The Claimant column is the person that opened the dispute (the one who was dissatisfied with the deal) and the Defendant is the person it was opened against.

To get the user's profile link or UID, simply click on their name. In the address bar on their profile page, you can copy their actual link or just extract their UID.

[Image: kTf43KN.png]

By looking at the user's current and past disputes, we can analyze the user's history on deals. We can also click on the disputes to get more detail on the dispute and to further understand why the dispute was made in the first place. Occasionally some of the disputes created aren't actual disputes. So make sure to really read into it and see what is going on.

Looking at their basic profile is a good start, but there is more to analyzing a user still.

- Trust Scan -
The trust scan is an awesome feature to help analyze a user. This does require you to upgrade your membership to at least L33t, but it is well worth it. If you'd like to upgrade your account, you can do so here: https://hackforums.net/upgrade.php

The trust scan feature allows you to view the following information about a specific user:
  • Security features turned on
  • Last Gauth/2FA Validation
  • Country Lock
  • Number of Unique Country Logins
  • Number of Unique Login IP's
  • Number of Unique ISP's
  • Matching registration and last IP
  • Matching region of registration and latest IP
  • Matching country of registration and latest IP
  • Latest IP Matching Other Members
  • Contract Disputes
  • Legacy Dispute DB
  • Password Reset in Last Week
  • Last Password Change
  • Last Email Change
  • Last Username Change
  • Username Changes
  • Special Characters in Username
  • Last Login IP Change Date
  • Account Age
  • Discord
  • Last Discord Verification

To use the trust scan on a member, again click on their name to be taken to their profile page. Click the button in the upper right hand corner and then hit Trust Scan.

[Image: gy4nDh5.png]

[Image: xB1gqJS.png]

We can gather a great amount of useful information from the user. We can see if they have security features enabled, number of unique logins, IPs matching other users, contract disputes, and much more. We can click directly on the Contract Disputes to be taken to all current and past disputes of the user like before. Using this information, we can gauge if a user is worth dealing with. Again, this information is to help assist us in determining if we want to deal, it doesn't guarantee anything but we can get a general outline.

- Threads and Posts -
Another piece to analyzing a user is to look over their threads and posts to see how they interact with other members. Does the user make a lot of spam posts and overall have a shady persona? Does the user have any posts or threads at all? Are they constantly reaching out to members to try and strike deals with them? Are people warning other members of the user's behavior?

It's a basic thing to look at but try and see how the user presents themselves within the community.

Checking Marketplace Thread
You've checked over the user and you believe you are interested in dealing with them. Checking their marketplace thread is also an important part to validate that the user is actually performing a service.

- Post Date -
When you first go to look at the marketplace thread, take a note of when the thread was posted/how long it has been up. You can find the post date towards the top of the thread.

[Image: EEJb5jH.png]

Is it a newer thread with no or minimal activity on it? A lot of new users will immediately start posting in the marketplace to try and make a quick buck off of you. On the flip side, has the thread been posted a long time ago? Validate that the user is still offering the service and see if there has been any recent activity on it. Seeing the post date is a small but important piece to help give you a better understanding of the user and their intentions.

- Vouches/Actual Contracts -
Looking more into the user's marketplace thread, do you see any vouches from members on the service or see anyone who have actual contracts with the user? Remember, contracts are REQUIRED to perform deals on HF. If members are just posting vouches without having an actual contract, you can report that user to staff since it is a Marketplace Violation. Besides it being a violation, there is more of a chance that it could be a scam because there may have actually been no deal made. Believe it or not, people do make multiple accounts and attempt to "vouch" for a service on their other account to try and seem reputable, making you believe they actually offer a service.

To see if a user is actually a contracted member, it should say so in the upper right corner when they post on the specific marketplace thread.

[Image: AMlRppW.png]

If a user hasn't posted on the thread, you can also check the seller's contracts by actually inputting their marketplace thread and see if they have any contracts. To do that, it's similar to a process we have done previously. Go back to the Marketplace Control Panel. Then click All Contracts in the left panel. From there, click the Search button again in the upper right corner. Now you can copy and paste the marketplace thread URL into the Thread section. Once you click Search, you can see all contracts related to that marketplace thread.

[Image: gDd85hL.png]

[Image: AyM7DC4.png]

[Image: D4phNKz.png]

[Image: EoDSVWg.png]

[Image: Qcr3QAb.png]

Now we can see if there are actually any contracts related to that marketplace thread - if they are active, completed, disputed, etc.

This is a critical process and it allows us to see the activity related to that thread. If you see someone completed the deal, go ahead and message them and see how their experience with the seller, service, and the whole deal went. If they had a poor experience or anything else, avoid the deal. If there are no contracts or anything, make your best judgement.

When it comes to interacting with users, it is STRONGLY encouraged that all conversations take place on HF. However, there are a multitude of third party apps that people use to communicate (eg. Discord, Telegram, etc.). Even though staff doesn't get involved in deal disputes, they will step in and ban/close accounts if someone is caught scamming members. If you're conversing off of HF, there isn't much staff can do to help since it didn't happen on site.

Off-Site Communication
People love 3rd party apps simply because of ease of communication, you get notifications, and it's simple. As easy as it is to converse on these applications, it's also a prime place for scammers. It's hard to spot a scam because the scammer will fully impersonate another member by copying their name, avatar, and other pertinent information in an attempt to fool you. They may be on HF and notice a service that someone offers. Then they will modify their profile and reach out to you on a third party app saying they are that specific member and try to get you to purchase the "service". So, what can a scam look like? Let's look at some examples here of actual attempts of someone who was trying to impersonate me and scam other fellow HF members:

[Image: ubbvWccj_o.png]

[Image: ITP7EFqm_o.png]

[Image: YIYrH9tz_o.png]

[Image: MARk9Sq.png]

As you can see, someone tried to imitate my exchange service and attempt to scam another member. What are a couple things you noticed about the impersonation?
  • Language, presentation, and grammar
    • Look at the language and grammar that the impersonator used. Notice the use of acronyms, spelling, and basic grammar?
  • Demeanor and demanding
    • The impersonator was straight to the point and wanted to deal immediately, telling the other user to send money or buy something off of a site.

Scammers a lot of times have poor grammar, don't match the actual user's presentation, and are direct/quick with wanting to perform a deal with another member. They don't care how they present themselves, they just want your money right then and there. Unfortunately people fall for this all of the time. If you're dealing with someone, take a look at how they are communicating with you and compare with how the actual user portrays themself on HF. Is the dialect the same or is it completely different? Are they demanding a deal with you and not wanting to use the contract system? It's the small details that you have to pay attention to. Also notice how angry and aggressive they become if they don't get their way?

With the last image, there is something you have to be careful about too. Notice how the impersonator said "use my thread for contract"? If you initiate a contract with the actual user on HF, they may end up accepting it without even talking to you first. This is the scary part because if the user accepts it on HF, then you may assume that you are actually talking to said user. Always verify with the user on HF before you initiate the contract. Send the HF user a message or a PM confirming that's who you are talking to and validate the deal you are doing. However, the best thing to do is to perform all communication on-site and avoid off-site deals.

On-Site Communication
Communication on-site is always recommended because once the message is sent, they cannot be manipulated and you actually know who you are talking to. There are a couple ways to reach out to other members while on HF: Private Messages and Convo. Both options do not allow messages to be altered, which will help retain information incase you have to open a deal dispute. When on-site, you also have the option to export the PM or convo so you can save the information.

Validating Users
On HF, you have some ways that you can help validate a user if you are in fact dealing with someone off-site. A couple ways are Verifying Secret and Discord Authorization.

- Verify Secret -
A unique security feature that HF has is something called "Verify Secret". What is this exactly? Essentially everyday each user gets a randomly generated secret code associated with their account. If you are communicating with a member on a different service (Discord, Skype, email, etc.), you want to make sure you are actually communicating with that member. The verify secret feature lets you validate that you're actually talking to the right person. You will head over to the verify secret tool, input the UID of the user you think you are talking to, and click verify. Both you and the other user will receive an identical verification code secret. You'll ask the user to navigate to the same page and have them validate their secret. If they give you a secret that is mismatched, then you aren't talking to the correct person. This is a great feature just to validate you are talking to the right person.

[Image: I9cF5yF.png]
  • To Verify Secret, go here.

- Verifying with User -
If you ever receive a message from someone on a third party service, the first thing you should do is tell them you want to communicate on HF only. This will help simplify things for you so you can get a gist of who you are communicating with. If you aren't sure who you are talking to, then reach out to the member on HF that you are supposedly dealing with and attempt to validate that it is legit. Ask them if it's them that reached out to you, what the deal was for, and so on. Get as much detail as possible.


Final Tips/Wrap-Up
  1. Every deal you do on HF is 100% at your own risk. You could be as cautious as ever, follow every step, and still get scammed. It does happen and you never know when it may happen to you.

  2. The advice given in this guide is supposed to give you an outline on how to stay more safe while using the marketplace on HF.

  3. The best thing you can do is to ALWAYS communicate on HF and HF only. Third party apps are easy to manipulate and a prime target zone for scammers.

  4. If you have to deal off-site, always say you'd like to validate on site first. Message the member you are supposed to be talking to on HF and make sure it is them. From there, keep the communication on site.

  5. There are a few tools on HF that can help you get a better understanding on if you should deal with someone. Use them to your advantage.

  6. Upgrade your account so you can receive all of the extra security features.

  7. If you believe someone is shady, simply don't deal with them. It's not worth the risk.

  8. Analyze all of the users you are looking to deal with. Research them, talk to previous contracted customers to see how their experience was.

  9. When using the contract system, put as much detail into the contract as possible with the specific requirements you expect from the deal. If things go south, you can open up a deal dispute and have all of this pertinent information at your disposal.

  10. Staff does not get involved with deal disputes. Don't go to them if you feel you've been scammed.

  11. ALWAYS do deals on-site and use the contract system.


Important Links and Resources




02-20-2023, 09:22 PM
This is very informative for newer members, great job @Cap@ !