Online Fraud Prevention
As an advertiser you need to be aware that some communication you receive in response to your classified advertisement may include fraudulent offers or attempts by individuals to access your personal information. We encourage all advertisers to learn more about safeguarding their privacy and personal information.
In order to safeguard your privacy and security, we want you to know that Seek It Local Classifieds DOES NOT perform any of the following services in connection with advertiser offers:
* Collect funds from/for the buyer or the seller
* Hold funds from/for the buyer or the seller
* Guarantee funds from/for the buyer or the seller
* Store merchandise from/for the buyer or the seller
* Ship merchandise from/for the buyer or the seller
If anyone that you contact regarding merchandise, vehicles, housing or employment indicates that Seek It Local Classifieds in any way insures or endorses the transaction - this is FALSE.
Be wary about inquiries from anyone outside our local area and Read all communication from potential buyers carefully.
Placing classified ads online with Seek It Local Classifieds is a fun and cost effective way for your message to reach a broad audience within the local area. Most advertisers have great experiences using our online classifieds. However, there are Internet scams and frauds that you should be aware of, and many of them involve 'offers' from people outside our local area. We urge you to fully consider and be cautious of offers or communications that are sent from locations outside of your area. Another common method to access your personal information through classified ads involves generic requests for more information about the items or services offered within the advertisement. If you receive any communication that does not ask specific questions about the content of the ad, or the potential buyer only refers to “the item” without asking common specific questions, you may wish to be cautious of this type of request. This doesn't mean that all such offers and communications are fraudulent - just be careful.
Common types of Internet fraud
Overpayment Scam. In this very common scenario, a scammer/buyer will contact a seller and negotiate a deal on merchandise. Many times, this buyer is located outside of the United States, and poses as a "broker" or a "third party" on behalf of another interested party. The buyer will send a cashier's check (or money order) for more than the asking price of the merchandise. The buyer will instruct the seller to send the difference for the overpayment. Unfortunately, the cashier's check or money order used to originally pay the buyer is counterfeit and will be returned to the seller with insufficient funds. The seller is then cheated out of his or her own cash, plus any merchandise that was sent.
Too good to be true? Products that are priced way too low should raise a red flag. For instance, if a motorcycle is stated to be in "excellent" condition and yet is priced thousands below book value, you should proceed with caution. While not all bargains are scams, you may see clues when you contact the seller. Be wary of sellers from out of state / country; incorrect phone numbers or the inability to reach the seller via phone or physical address; and special situations such as the seller needing money quickly. To protect yourself, ask specific questions about authenticity, serial numbers, etc. Do your part to protect yourself - if you feel like a deal is too good to be true, it usually is.
Work-at-home scams. Be very skeptical of any "company" that advertises a work-at-home opportunity and requires advance payment or deposits on items or services. Be skeptical of earnings claims that sound too good to be true. Ask detailed questions about what exactly you will have to do to earn money with the program; i.e., who will pay you, will you be paid on commission, etc.
Wire fraud. In this scenario, the scammer/buyer will request permission to wire-transfer money directly into the seller's bank account. By providing confidential bank account information to the buyer, your account may be compromised. Always use caution when providing any form of personal information.
Customs scams. There are recent reports from the IFCC involving Eastern European countries and high incidences of fraud. Many of the fraudulent buyers of items are located in these countries and often ask that the seller ship in a manner that will avoid customs or taxes. Sellers should be wary of this type of behavior.
Who should I notify about fraud?
FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
FTC online complaint form (www.ftc.gov)
Other helpful Resources about protecting yourself online
FTC, Internet Fraud - http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu-internet.htm
FTC, Identity Theft - http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/
Better Business Bureau - http://bbb.org/