Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following:
Email or text from someone that is not local to your area.
Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about "the item." Poor grammar/spelling.
Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, paypal, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."
Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction.
Examples of Scams
1. Someone claims your transaction is guaranteed, that a buyer/seller is officially certified, OR that a third party of any kind will handle or provide protection for a payment:
These claims are fraudulent, as transactions are between users only.
The scammer will often send an official looking (but fake) email that appears to come from localfiles or another third party, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, or pretending to handle payments.
2. Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check:
You receive an email or text (examples below) offering to buy your item, pay for your services in advance, or rent your apartment, sight unseen and without meeting you in person.
A cashier's check is offered for your sale item as a deposit for an apartment or for your services.
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 cash fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, sometimes including criminal prosecution.
Scams often pretend to involve a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate, etc.).
3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, or rent is below market, etc.
Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, other high value items.
Scammer may (falsely) claim a confirmation code from you is needed before he can withdraw your money.
Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, UK, Netherlands—but could be anywhere.
Rental may be local, but owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money abroad.
Scammer may pretend to be unable to speak by phone (scammers prefer to operate by text/email).
4. Distant person offers to send you a cashier's check or money order and then have you wire money:
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.
5. Distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service:
Most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT and operated by scammers.
6. Distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which they will ship goods:
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.
7. Foreign company offers you a job receiving payments from customers, then wiring funds:
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.
Sample scam emails:
That's a good price for each but you will have to send me your full name to be on the check and your full mailing address because I will not
be able to come in person for the payment and the pickup due to the nature of my jobs.I will make use of a mover for the pickup soon after you have the money credited to your account.
I am looking for caring, responsible and experienced Nanny to care for
my 5 yrs old daughter. You must love children and be mature, reliable,
trustworthy, punctual and well presented.The work schedule is weekdays
from 10 a.m. to 5 Pm. Your responsibilities will include: Preparing
meals for my daughter, help organize the house, light housework and
cleaning my daughters room and be of mothers help .. basically i need
someone trusting, loving and caring for my family. If interested contact
me via email or text..
Thanks for your mail,Since the cost of your bike is $800 i just contactedmy client about the cost of your bike and it present condition and he saidthere is no problem about that.So my client said he will be issuing you aCertified Check of $4000 while you wire 3000 to me through Western UnionMoney Trasfer and you deduct the cost of your bike $800 and keep theremaining $200 which my client said you should take for the terms ofTransaction and Agreement between you and my client.So i will like you to send me your full contact information to where my client will be sending you the Certified Check like this: name......... full address............. city............... state............. country.......... zipcode............ cell/office/home phone number....................... I will look forward to the requested information as soon as possible so that the check can be sent out to you immediately And do get back to me with the Pics of the bike so tha! t my client will be Able to see What he is paying off.Get back to me immediately. Looking torwards your respond,
Hi ...this is Abdul from Hyderabad, India(currently from Des Moines, Iowa)..... I am looking for accommodation in Minneapolis ....relocating for a new job position in Edina, Minnesota ...... need it by this coming Monday please call me on ph:515-981-6170