- Do not send payment to anyone you have not met in person.
- Beware of Online Romance scams
- Don’t wire money (e.g. Western Union) to anyone you met online who asks you to send them money or support them financial. 9 out of 10 they are scammers.
- Don't accept cashier/certified checks or money orders – on sales of your item sold here at Advert Buzz, it could be fake, even if bank cash it for you, long-run you’ll be ask by the bank to pay back the money and the bank will hold you responsible.
- Transactions are between users only; no third party provides a "guarantee".
- Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, PayPal account, etc).
- Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing "deal" may not exist.
- Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.
- When making payment or receiving payment for item purchase online – Ensure you’re meeting the individual in a public place and/or an open place. Day time transaction is better. Make sure you inspect the item before handling the payment to avoid any problem.
Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
FTC complaint form and hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
If you suspect that a Advert Buzz post may be connected to a scam, please contact us with the detail of the ad.
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.
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 legitimate company or 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 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 may cash the 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 where the scammers are originated include: Russian, India, Ghana, 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.
5). Distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service:
- Most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT and operated by scammers.
- For more info, do a google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud."
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.
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.