Saturday, October 20, 2012, AM | 1 Comment
You can stop potential would-be scammers by following certain common-sense rules whenever using online services that may seem legitimate but actually are not.
You have to be smarter than the scammers. It’s extremely hard but you have to take some obvious steps to fend off potential scammers.
Protect yourself and your finances by being alert all the time when you go online.
Deal locally with folks you can meet in person. That’s the golden rule. Follow it and you will avoid 99% of scam attempts.
Never wire funds via Western Union or Moneygram or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is likely a scammer.
Fake cashier checks & Money orders are quite common. Banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered weeks later.
Most vendors are not involved in any transaction of funds. They do not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification.”
Never give out financial information such as bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.
Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services. Be aware that only a scammer will guarantee your transaction. If anybody does that, ignore it and move on with your life.
Do not rent housing without seeing the interior or purchase expensive items if you have not seen them on sight. In all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.
Do not submit to credit checks or background checks for a job or for housing until you have met the interviewer or landlord or the agent.
Government agencies can help you…
Various agencies in a government might be able to help you. They might not be able get you the money back, but you can sure file a complaint with them.
However, having said that, under certain circumstance, they even will get your money back.
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center
- FTC Video: How to report scams to the FTC
- FTC online complaint form
- Consumer Sentinel/Military for military personnel
- SIIA Software and Content Piracy reporting
- FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
U.S. Federal agencies
In a Nutshell
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, the best action to take is contact your local police department.