Stay Safe by using common sense, and dealing only with people in the local area who you can physically meet in person.
Never invite strangers to your home. Meet them in a public place (never a secluded place) preferably during daylight hours.
Take a friend with you. If you can’t take a friend at least tell others (family & friends) where you are going and who you are meeting with.
Avoid Scams and Frauds
- Accept cash only. Accepting any other form of payment puts you at risk of fraud. See Fake Check Scam.
- Do not wire funds – Money Gram, Western Union, etc… - for any reason. Wiring money is just like sending cash. These are Money Transfer Scams.
- Do not deal with online escrow services. These are often fake sites used by scammers.
- Do not share any personal information, either in your listing or during any communications. To do so opens you up to identity theft (or more).
- If the asking price of an item seems too good to be true, it is most likely is a scam.
Warning Signs - of classified ad schemes
- Be aware that many scams and frauds are perpetrated by people outside the US.
- Usually the ad is poorly written. It is strangely worded; sentence structure is wrong. Item price is too good to be true. The whole ad is too good to be true.
- The phone number in the ad is out of country or wrong.
- Buyer or seller refuses to meet with you in person; they have excuses why they can't meet with you.
- Buyer or seller wants to ship item and asks you to deal with an escrow company. Both of which are scams.
- Buyer or seller saying anything about currently being out of country. Deal only with those you can meet in person. If they can’t meet in person do not deal with them.
- Buyer or seller requests unnecessary personal or financial information. This is a Phishing Scam.
- Buyer offers to pay with cashier’s check or money order for an amount higher than your asking price. This is a Fake Check Scam - do not fall for this. And if you do fall for this your bank will hold you fully responsible for the funds.
Just be cautious and use common sense, and if an ad smells fishy walk away. If you see any of these fake ads, please report them by clicking "Report Content" in the listing.
For more information on Internet scams and frauds you can visit these sites:
The Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Frauds & Scams.gov
Fake Check Scam
Money Transfer Scam
Avoid On-Line Scams