by Oli on 09 May 2014 - 15:05
Dozens of buyers get scammed here every month, We work hard to identify and ban scammers every month, but many get through. Do your DUE DILIGENCE!
You can avoid would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules:
- NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is likely a scammer.
- FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON—BANKS WILL HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
- PEDIGREEDATABASE IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, provide escrow, "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.
- Check if your personal bank provides escrow services
- A GOOD EXPERIENCE DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE NEXT SELLER even though you have multiple good purchases, always treat a new seller as a potential scammer
Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center
- FTC Video: How to report scams to the FTC
- FTC online complaint form
- FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
- Consumer Sentinel/Military (for reports from service members or their families)
- SIIA Software and Content Piracy reporting
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact 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.
Any of the following “red flags” should signal a scam:
- You are asked to wire money.
- You are sent a check in connection with a payment request. Cons often win their victims’ confidence by sending a fake check for more than the amount of purchase or to cover so-called processing fees, shipping costs or other expenses. It may be a cashier’s check, personal check or money order. They instruct the victim to cash the check or money order and send them a portion of the money by wire. Read more about fake check scams.
- The contact indicates a confirmation code or money transfer control number (MTCN) is needed before your money can be withdrawn.This is a blatant lie. Once you wire money, it can be picked up immediately.
- A caller or e-mail appears to originate from overseas.
- The person communicates via TTY service. TTY is used by the hearing impaired. Cons prefer the service because it disguises thick accents and makes calls untraceable. Follow-up correspondence is by e-mail.
Types of Scams
- Classified ad purchases – fake buyers: Swindlers browse online classifieds, auto sales journals and newspapers for potential victims. They contact those advertising cars, electronics or just about anything of value, pretending to be an interested buyer. Payment arrives as a counterfeit check – often for more than the sale price. You are instructed to wire the extra amount to a third party or reimburse the difference. Typically, cons claim the wired money is payment for an intermediary to ship the item. Other times, they may send a check for the correct amount, then back out of the deal and ask for a refund.
- How to protect yourself: Deal with local buyers. Only accept payment for the actual purchase price. When possible, accept only cash. If you accept a check, ask for one drawn on a local bank that you can visit to determine conclusively that the check is good. Don’t relinquish your car or other valuables until the issuing bank (the one listed on the check) has verified that the check has cleared.
- Classified ad purchases – fake sellers: Cons post bogus advertisements for cars or other high-ticket items then ask for payment via wire transfer. Other times, they may suggest use of a phony escrow company.
- How to protect yourself: Deal with local sellers. Question any seller who insists on using a particular form of payment and refuse requests to wire money.