- Consider your
safety first. Whether buying or selling a product online, you will most
likely not know the person with whom you are transacting. Take the
following precautions to protect your safety: Arrange to meet in a
public place; tell others where you are going, who you will be meeting
and when you expect to return; ask a friend, family member or coworker
to join you; bring a cell phone; if the situation seems suspicious or
potentially dangerous, move to a safe location as quickly as possible.
of Internet payment services that you are asked to access through a
link or in the body of an email. Remember that links can be masked, and
logos and trademarks can be faked online. If you intend to use what you
believe is a well-known Internet payment service, visit that company’s
website yourself, rather than trust the information that another party
- Don’t be rushed. If someone really wants to do
business with you, they will wait until you are ready to make a
legitimate transaction. Furthermore, if an individual wishes to make
changes to the terms of the transaction, such as where and how the
payment is sent, do not let your eagerness to complete the transaction
blind you to potential problems.
- Be wary of wiring money to a
party that you don’t know. Many people mistakenly think that wire
transfers, like personal checks, can be canceled at anytime. This is not
true. If you wire money via Western Union or MoneyGram, it’s impossible
to retrieve the money once it’s picked up at the other end. Because it
can be picked up anywhere in the world, the money is virtually
untraceable. Once money is wired overseas, United States law enforcement
agencies may have little recourse in recovering lost funds.
checks are NOT the same as cash. Counterfeit checks can look very
authentic. Just because the money appears to be available in your
account doesn’t mean that the check has cleared and is legitimate.
Federal rules require banks to make deposits “available” to consumers
quickly, often the following business day. A check takes a long time to
clear. It may take a bank weeks to discover that the deposited check was
fraudulent. The bank may still bounce the check if it’s a forgery. Once
a victim wires funds onward from such a check, he or she may be liable
to the bank for the amount wired.
- Typically the bank will not
cover the loss, and expects the victim to pay the difference. If you the
check and verify its legitimacy by contacting the issuing bank. Do not
use the contact information that appears on the check. Do a little leg
work and obtain the contact information independently through legitimate
- Always be wary of someone who wants to pay more
than your asking price or who wants to sell you an item at an
unbelievably low price. A deal that sounds too good to be true probably
- Be wary of “third parties” or “agents.” If a third party is
actually owed any money, their client should be making the payment, not
you. Do not wire money to a third party.
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