Every day we hear reports of people successfully selling stuff on our websites. But occasionally we also hear about scammers who surf the classifieds to find potential dupes. The most common type of scam starts out when an overseas or out-of-area buyer pays by cashier’s check (usually for more than the amount of the item) and then requests the balance of the funds via wire transfer. The checks are counterfeit. But before the bank finds out — which can take several days or weeks — the unsuspecting seller has wired hundreds or thousands of dollars to Nigeria or some other distant land, far beyond the reach of local law enforcement.
Although we take proactive steps to combat these scammers, the best defense is a little common sense.
Safe Buying & Selling Tips:
- Buy and sell locally. There’s no substitute for dealing with someone who lives and works in your hometown.
- Don’t buy an item that you have not seen and touched.
- Don’t accept checks, money orders, cashier’s checks, or postal checks — especially from distant buyers.
- Do not send money by Western Union or wire transfer to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
- Don’t give out personal info, credit cards numbers, social security numbers, etc.
- Scammers use fake phone numbers. If you call a number that is out of service, rings a fax machine, or a person that is not selling the item, let us know.
- If something is too good to be true, it probably is.