How do I operate safely on the Internet and avoid consumer fraud?

How do I operate safely on the Internet and avoid consumer fraud?

Most people using our classifieds have positive stories to tell about their experiences with buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords, job searches, etc. We do, however, receive occasional reports of individuals who do not use our classified listings service in accordance with our stated policies. For this reason, we have provided some marketplace safety tips for our users:

What are things that potentially fraudulent sellers do?

  • Ask you to wire money into their account.
  • Say they will pay you half of what's due before they receive the item, and half payment afterwards.
  • Buyer offers high-value (but fake) cashier's check in exchange for your 'for sale item' The value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item and the buyer 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. Scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money). We would strongly discourage you from wiring money.
  • Pay with an international credit card or cashier's check.
  • Will not provide you a verifiable US telephone number.
  • Place large orders to be sent to a foreign location.
  • Recommend an unfamiliar escrow or payment service.

Who should I notify about fraud?

  • FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
  • FTC online complaint form (
  • Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501

  • Internet Fraud Complaint Center (

  • Non-emergency number for your local police department

We are not responsible or liable for any fraudulent transactions by users of our newspaper classifieds, as indicated in our stated policies. By sharing these tips with you, however, we hope that we can help you avoid many of the traps used by scammers in fraudulent transactions so that your experience with our service will be a positive one. We encourage you to continue to inform us whenever you come across any potential scams so we can make sure the ads are removed.

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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 4172-43
  • Date Created: 05/17/2008
  • Last Modified Since: 11/19/2009
  • Viewed: 3202
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