There is always an inherent risk in buying and selling things with people across the country. The Idea behind this article is to help you protect yourself from scams and deadbeat sellers.
Remember - ASR is not responsible for bad transactions, and we will not track down dead-beat buyers/sellers for you.
The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips to avoid scams:
* Confirm the buyer's name, street address and telephone number.
* Don't accept a check or money order for more than the selling amount.
* Consider alternative methods of payment such as an escrow or online payment service.
* If you accept a check, insist on one drawn on a local bank or a bank with a local branch.
* If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately.
* If a buyer attempts to pay with a winning check from a foreign lottery, end the transaction immediately.
* Resist pressure from the buyer to act immediately. An offer good today should be good after the check clears.
* If you want to accept payments other than Pay-Pal, go with USPS Money orders. They are the hardest to forge, and doing so is a federal crime.
Cashier's Check Scams
In a typical scenario, a buyer â€” who usually inquires from overseas â€” arranges to pay for an item with a cashier's check or certified check in an amount that's more than the item's purchase price. The buyer justifies this by saying a previous sale fell through or the extra money is needed to pay for shipping expenses or customs fees.
The buyer then asks the seller to wire the difference either to him or to the shipping company to cover expenses. Or a buyer will send a cashier's check as a down payment, then decide to back out of the deal and ask for the money back.
When asked to wire money, just say no. It's never a good idea to wire money to someone you don't know because it's an untraceable transaction. Stop negotiating with anyone who proposes this kind of bargain.
Safe Buying and Selling Tips
Never accept trades. This is by far the easiest and most common way people get ripped off. If you do engage in a trade clearly write out what is expected of both parties. Before going forward, both parties should agree to the list of goods to be exchanged. Always get up to date images of everything you are trading.
Dealing locally is best. Be more wary if the buyer is currently out of the country or resides overseas or far from where the goods are located. Be extremely wary if the seller flat out refuses to talk on the phone or claims they cannot talk on the phone.
Avoid complicated payment schemes. Be suspicious of a payment process that involves many steps. One popular scam involves sending you a cashier's check for more than the purchase amount and asking you to wire the difference back to the buyer. These cashier's checks are almost always counterfeit and your bank will hold you liable. Any overpayment you wire back to the buyer will come directly out of your pocket.
Verify payment. Do not ship goods to the buyer until the buyer's check has cleared or you have otherwise received full payment for your item. You should always verify the authenticity of any cashier's or certified check with the issuing bank. Do not rely on the phone number printed on the check; look it up yourself. The bank can verify its routing number, describe the specific security features of its checks and even verify that there are sufficient funds to cover the check. Never accept a check for more than your asking price.
Know your buyer. Ask for their E-Bay ID and check their feedback, search the forums here and look for complaints. laslty use the classifieds feedback feature.
Ship safely. You can never over-do your packaging. It is far better to have too many packing peanuts, than have your goods arrive broken.