You can avoid potential scammers by following these common-sense rules:
- Trust your instincts
- DEAL LOCALLY WITH PEOPLE YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON WHENEVER POSSIBLE
- BE CAREFUL WIRING FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a potential scammer.
- FAKE CASHIER CHECK & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered later.
- DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, PayPal info)
- DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT CHECKS OR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR A JOB OR FOR HOUSING UNTIL YOU HAVE MET THE INTERVIEWER OR LANDLORD/AGENT IN PERSON.
Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center
- Consumer complaints and protection organizations
- Software and Content Piracy reporting
- Anti-Fraud Centre or 888-495-8501 (toll-free)
- If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
- If you suspect that a ClikPals post may be part of a scam, please report and send us the details
Recognizing - deal often sounds too good to be true (if the deal is too good, think twice)
Most scams involve one or more of the following:
- inquiry from someone far away, often in another country
- inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before handling transaction
Examples of Scams - Buyers Beware
- Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from a recognized entity, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services -- all such emails are fakes!
- Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check you receive an email 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 your services. Value of cashier's check often far exceeds the value of your item - scammer offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service banks will often cash the 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)
- Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram: Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, and other high value items. Often they claim that a confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired the money, it is GONE. Apartment listing may be local, but landlord/owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money to them abroad. Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, rent is below market, etc
- Distant person offers to send you a Money Order and then have you wire money: this is ALWAYS a scam, 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 - if the deal is too good think twice.
- Distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship the goods he says he trusts you with the partial payment, he may say he has already shipped the goods.
- Foreign company offers you a job receiving payments from customers, then wiring funds foreign company may claim it is unable to receive payments from its customers directly you are typically offered a percentage of payments received this kind of "position" may be posted as a job, or offered to you via email.