Although the majority of people are trustworthy enough, there is a clear underbelly that are fond of using classified ad services to take advantage of unsuspecting people with no regard to the hardships they cause. Knowledge is your best defense, do not allow yourself to be a victim. Learn the warning signs of scams and do not fall under the temptation of their too good to be true claims.

Personal Safety

  • Verbally speak with the person before meeting them.
  • Be especially careful when selling high value items.
  • Never meet in a secluded location.
  • Whenever possible, meet in a public place where others are present.
  • If at all possible, have someone go with you to meet up.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and agree to update them when you have returned to a safe place.
  • Watch to insure you are not being followed from the meeting location.
  • Always take someone with you when going to someone's home.
  • Have a family member, friend, or neighbor come over when others are coming to your home.
  • Have your phone charged and on you.
  • Always trust your instincts.
(It is unwise to have strangers coming to your home or going into the home of strangers. Unless the item is not portable, it is not worth the risk.)

Avoiding Scams

  • The best way to avoid most scams is to stick to local deals and meet in person before exchanging money or goods.
  • Be wary of all transactions dealing with overseas shipping, sellers, or buyers. Even if they claim to be temporarily out of the country or stationed overseas.
  • Never provide people with personal/financial info, including your paypal info.
  • Until you or someone you know or trust has seen a home in person and been granted access to the inside, do not submit any information for credit/background checks or money.
  • Do not submit any personal information when seeking employment until you take steps to verify the employer is legitimate.
  • Never wire funds. The receiver NEVER NEEDS a confirmation code to withdraw your money. Once your money is sent you have no recourse to get it back.
  • Do not take cashiers/certified checks or money orders. Counterfit checks are common tools for scam artists, especially if being asked to forward a portion to someone else. The bank will not realize they are counterfit until it is too late and you will be held responsible for any fees or funds lost.
  • Online escrow sites are most often fraudulent and ran by scammers.
  • Third party payment protection/officially certified/seller certifiers/guaranteed payment processors DO NOT EXIST. Do not be fooled by official looking FAKE emails created to appear to be from a third party payment processor or from Tannersway.
  • Another common scam involves distant sellers asking for partial payment up front.

Resources for Reporting Fraud/Scams

If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.

In the US: In Canada: Human Trafficking/Missing Exploited Children

Buyer: General

  • Do not give out any personal information, including your last name.
  • It is best to deal locally. Most scams involve the fact that you can't meet up in person and physically see the item or the person.
  • Do not make a finalized payment to someone before meeting them in person and receiving the item.
  • Never give your card/banking/paypal info to anyone.
  • Never send money out of the country, regardless of the STORY the seller is giving you for being elsewhere.
  • Never wire funds, this is a common scam and almost always is, once your money is sent you have no recourse to get it back. The receiver NEVER NEEDS need a confirmation code to withdraw your money.
  • Sales are between yourself and the seller only. Third party payment protection/officially certified/seller certifiers/guaranteed payment processors DO NOT EXIST. Do not be fooled by official looking FAKE emails created to appear to be from a third party payment processor or from Tannersway.
  • Online escrow sites are most often fraudulent and ran by scammers.
  • Another common scam involves distant sellers asking for partial payment up front.

Buyer: Gift Cards

  • When buying gift cards meet the person at the retailer so you can verify the card's validity and value before purchasing.
  • If the retailer is not local, call the number on the back of the card to verify funds.

Buyer: Auto

  • Only buy autos from people that are in traveling distance from you.
  • If there is any reason why you cannot physically view and drive the vehicle, it is 99% probability it is a scam.
  • When seeking a car it can almost feel like you are in the twilight zone with all the sob stories of deployment, disaster, divorce, death, illness, and misfortune that is attached to that great car for the equally great price and the reason you cannot physically see it. If you are wise, you will bypass on these.

Buyer: Furniture

  • It is very unsafe to go to a strangers house alone, always bring someone with you. Have your phone charged and on you.

Buyer: Real Estate

  • Never wire money or send a check/paypal, for an apartment/house you have not seen and been given access to the inside of, to a person you have never met.
  • If you are not in the locale where you are seeking a home, have someone you know or trust see the place in person and enter to the inside of the residence.
  • It is best if this is the case, that you contact a CONFIRMED real estate agent to assist you in finding a home without losing all of your deposits and rent money to an invisible bottom dweller.
  • Do not be tempted by that unbelievable deal on the perfect place that seems almost to good to be true.
  • Never give your info for a credit/background check to a landlord you have never met or before physically seeing the home and being granted access to the inside.

Seller: Real Estate

  • Do not accept checks for more than the amount with request to receive a portion back.
  • Scammers will give you a fraudulent check and then back out at the last minute and get a refund before the bank discovers their check is fake. Do not refund their money until your bank can verify that their check has officially cleared (this can take weeks).
  • The bank will release funds on their check long before it has officially cleared,DO NOT SPEND any money until you know for sure that the check was not counterfit.

Seller: General

  • Include as little personal information as possible in your ad (eg. last name, address)
  • Meet people in a public place where people are present.
  • When selling a car, meet the person somewhere for a test drive, have someone else with you, have your phone charged and with you.
  • Only have people come to your home if the item is not portable.
  • If someone must come to your home, have a family member, friend, or neighbor be there with you and have your phone charged and on you.
  • Do not accept cashiers/certified checks or money orders. They are very easily forged and a favorite of scammers.
  • Never accept a check for more than the selling price with a request to send a portion to somewhere else.
  • If a buyer offers you more than your asking price, it is probably a scam.

Employment

  • Check with local agencies to verify that you are dealing with a legitimate company.
  • Google the company phone number and call to make sure that you are speaking with an actual representative from that company.
  • Do not give out your personal info without checking that the employer is legitimate and that they are in fact who they say they are.
  • Never give your bank account info to anyone.
  • Any time you are given a cashiers/certified check or money order and then required to forward a portion of it, it is 100% a scam. Counterfit checks are common tools for scam artists.(eg. car wrap scam)
  • Mystery/Secret Shopper jobs that give you a check to use for purchases and expenses. The checks are fake. They will have a reason that you need to wire money and you will have no recourse for recovering it.
  • Avoid jobs that you have to buy materials or supplies for.
  • Be wary of work from home opportunities.

Donations

  • Do not give money to someone that you do not know asking for money due to a disaster, misfortune, illness, ect.
  • Do not give money to organizations you have not heard of.
  • You can go visit these sites to search a charity and find out if they are recognized and what there performance rating is or if they are on this fake charity list. (*There are thousands of fake charities, not being on this list DOES NOT make them legitimate)