You can sidestep would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules:
- DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on this sitet.
- NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
- FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
- TradeinExchange IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
- NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
- AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION.
Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
- FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
- FTC online complaint form (www.ftc.gov)
- Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov/)
- Non-emergency number for your local police department.
Most scams involve one or more of the following:
- inquiry from someone far away, often in another country
- Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee"
- inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consumating transaction
Examples of Scams
1. Someone claims that TradeinExchange will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that TradeinExchange will handle or provide protection for a payment
2. distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check
- These claims are fraudulent, as TradeinExchange does not have any role in any transaction.
- Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from TradeinExchange, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services -- all such emails are fakes!
3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
- you receive an email (examples below) 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 just about anything else of value.
- value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - scammer offers to "trust" you, and 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, including criminal prosecution in some cases!
- scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)
4. distant person offers to send you a money order and then have you wire money:
- Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, plasma TVs, cell phones, tickets - but could be almost anything
- Often claim that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired money, it is GONE.
- Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere
- 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
5. distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service.
- this is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience - the cashier's check is FAKE
- 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
6. distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship goods
- most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT, operated by scammers
- for more info, do a google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud"
7. foreign company offers you a job receiving payments from customers, then wiring funds
- he says he trusts you with the partial payment
- he may say he has already shipped the goods
- deal often sounds too good to be true
- 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