Tuesday, 17 October

Avoid Scams

You can protect yourself against scams by following these common-sense rules:

DEAL LOCALLY WITH PEOPLE YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts.

NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.

FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.

THIS SITE IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"

NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)

AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION.

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Examples of Scams

1. Someone claims that this site will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that this site will handle or provide protection for a payment These claims are fraudulent, as this site does not have any role in any transaction. Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from this site, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services -- all such emails are fakes!

2. Distant buyer offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check you receive an email (examples below) offering to buy your item, or rent your apartment, sight unseen.

cashier's check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for an apartment, or for just about anything else of value.

value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - scammer offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases! scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)

3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:

4. distant person offers to send you a money order and then have you wire money: this is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience - the cashier's check is FAKE sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not scammer often asks for your name, address, etc for printing on the fake check deal often seems too good to be true

5. distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service. most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT, operated by scammers for more info, do a google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud"

6. distant seller asks for air fare or shipping costs. Usually on an item priced very low.


Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?

FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
FTC online complaint form (www.ftc.gov)
Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501
Internet Fraud Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov/)
Non-emergency number for your local police department.