With social media and many websites evolving and integrating, it’s easy for scammers to take advantage of you. By selling things online, scammers will try to use this information to confuse or trick you into giving them the item or service you’re selling online.

The scam starts when you sell a good or service in a public forum and are targeted by the scammer. This can happen in any public forum, but an example is Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor app. Facebook users can post pictures, information, and details on what they are selling, and other users can view this posting, your profile, and any information that isn’t marked private. After you have been targeted, you might find any of the following scam techniques happening:

  • Receiving a check for an item you listed for sale online.
  • Getting more than listed or agreed-upon amount.
  • Getting a check payment via overnight delivery.
  • Receiving a check with different information than the person buying the item. This includes name or even business information.
  • Additionally, this might open you up to other scams such as:

  • Winning a lottery or drawing you didn’t enter.
  • Being asked to send, ship, or wire money to another county.
  • Finding out you are being deposited a large sum of money in exchange or paying another countries “deposit” or “customs fee”.
  • Getting offered payment to facilitate a money transfer using your personal account. Such as depositing a check or cash into your account, withdrawing funds, and moving to it a person or account elsewhere.
  • Receiving an email asking you to confirm, update, or provide your account information.

The easiest way to prevent this type of fraud is being aware of your situation, who you are selling to, and keeping your personal information private. Don’t share your address publically; use a trusted payment method such as cash, and try to meet the buyer at a public place to make the exchange.

If you have been safe but still find yourself in a possible fraud situation, tell your financial institution and file a police report ASAP.

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