Can you make money on line? Sure you can if you are smarter than the scams out there. If you are not you can not only lose money but your identity. The only safe way to sell on line is face to face with cash, or safely on line with a secure payment such as paypal. Beware of those offering to buy your items with no way to track who they are. If you don't, you have no one to blame but yourself.
The most famous scam made workable by Nigerian scam artists, now everyone even someone right in your town is the check scam.
- The buyer offers to purchase the product being sold, but at the last minute makes up an excuse why he needs to write the check for more money than the cost of the item and asks the seller to wire (Western Union / Money Gram) the excess money back to the buyer.
- The seller agrees, deposits the check, wires the money and ships the goods or physically gives them to the buyer.
- A week or so later, the seller's bank tells him the check bounced because it was a fake, so the seller's bank account now owes the bank for the amount, AND the police may arrest the seller (for check fraud, counterfeiting, etc.)
This scam works because most people believe that a cashier's check is as good as cash. That's clearly not true if it is a counterfeit! And with today's computer and printer capabilities, almost anyone can make a very realistic looking fake check. People also don't realize that wired money is immediate and irretrievable. Once you wire the money gram, the money is gone, and there is no way it can be tracked. You are screwed.
Listed below are tips to protect yourself and your family from various forms of Internet fraud:
- Determine what method of payment the seller is asking from the buyer and where he/she is asking to send payment.
- When purchasing products over the Internet, it’s best to use your credit card rather than PayPal or your debit card. That way, if you have any problems, you have recourse to dispute the charges through your credit-card company before the payment is actually made. Paypal is secure but getting your money back can be a hassle. With paypal however you won't fall into the check scam.
- Examine the feedback on the seller.
- Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an e-mail address. If it is a business, check the Better Business Bureau where the seller/business is located.
- Understand as much as possible about how the auction works, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller's obligations are before you bid.
- Find out what actions the web site/company takes if a problem occurs and consider insuring the transaction and shipment.
- If a problem occurs with the auction transaction, it could be much more difficult if the seller is located outside the US because of the difference in laws.
- Ask the seller about when delivery can be expected and if there is a problem with the merchandise is it covered by a warranty or can you exchange it.
- Find out if shipping and delivery are included in the auction price or are additional costs so there are no unexpected costs.
- There should be no reason to ever give out your social security number or drivers license number to the seller.
Pay attention people!! They are everywhere. When selling on Craigslist NEVER sell via mail! This is all on you. Beware of those wanting to buy things you never had any intention of selling on a forum..NEVER, unless you can set up secure payment via paypal or your credit card. Just don't do it, use your head. If it sounds to good to be true it most surely is! Ebay has made great strides in protecting the buyer, Craigslist, and random sites it's up to you to be safe. Always go into a transaction with the thought they could be thieves. Money orders, and cashier checks that are fraudulent are easy to make. Even post office money orders are not always safe. It's on you, don't be a victim!
Read up on scams. Know your criminal, trust NO ONE.