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Tips to stay safer online


If at all possible try to deal locally with persons you can meet face to face. When not possible, following these rules can help you avoid problem transactions:

  • Be cautious when dealing with any potential buyers or sellers and investigate them to the best of your ability. The great majority of online customers and sellers are honorable, but sometimes a little background search can prevent heartache later.
  • Do not wire funds to a potential seller and do not agree to cash a check or refund a portion of payment to anyone unless you know that person well. Never send money via Western Union, These types of listings are always a scam!
  • If appropriate, ask for references from sellers. If possible, try to gain as much contact information as possible (phone number, address, website, email) and try to confirm information before sending payment.
  • Money orders and cashier checks can be faked. To prevent banks holding you accountable for fraudulent payments, hold off sending merchandise until the funds have cleared your bank.
  • There are a great many honorable buyers overseas, but due to a growing number of scams, be extra diligent when dealing with foreign customers and particularly those purchasing on a “client’s behalf”.
  • Avoid giving out financial information (social security, bank account numbers, etc.).
  • Always try to personally inspect the item before you pay for it, if possible.
  • Always try to communicate through in-house messaging. If the seller does not want to talk via phone, our in-house messaging, or in person, you may want to think twice about dealing with them.
  • Remember, if an offer or a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!


Scams to watch for -- While there are variations, here’s a basic description: consumers find a vehicle they like—often at a below-market price—on a legitimate website. The buyer contacts the seller, usually through an e-mail address in the ad, to indicate their interest. The seller responds via e-mail, often with a hard-luck story about why they want to sell the vehicle and at such a good price.In the e-mail, the seller asks the buyer to move the transaction to the website of another online company….for security reasons….and then offers a buyer protection plan in the name of a major Internet company. Through the new website, the buyer receives an invoice and is instructed to wire the funds for the vehicle to an account somewhere. In a new twist, sometimes the criminals pose as company representatives in a live chat to answer questions from buyers.

Once the funds are wired, the buyer may be asked by the seller to fax a receipt to show that the transaction has taken place. And then the seller and buyer agree upon a time for the delivery of the vehicle.

What actually happens: The ad the consumer sees is either completely phony or was hijacked from another website. The buyer is asked to move from a legitimate website to a spoofed website, where it’s easier for the criminal to conduct business. The buyer protection plan offered as part of the deal is bogus. And the buyer is asked to fax the seller proof of the transaction so the crooks know when the funds are available for stealing. And by the time buyers realize they’ve been scammed, the criminals—and the money—are long gone.

Red flags for consumers:

  • Cars are advertised at too-good-to-be true prices;
  • Sellers want to move transactions from the original website to another site;
  • Sellers claim that a buyer protection program offered by a major Internet company covers an auto transaction conducted outside that company’s website;
  • Sellers refuse to meet in person or allow potential buyers to inspect the car ahead of time;
  • Sellers who say they want to sell the car because they’re in the U.S. military about to be deployed, are moving, the car belonged to someone who recently died, or a similar story;
  • Sellers who ask for funds to be wired ahead of time.


The best way to avoid being scammed is to simply never buy a dog, cat or other animal as a pet that you haven't met in person. While the Internet can be a valuable tool for finding a responsible breeder or breed rescue group, please make sure to follow these tips when using the Internet to find a puppy or other animal:

  • Always visit. Responsible breeders and rescue groups will be more than happy to offer you a tour.
  • Always pick your puppy up at the kennel. Do not have the puppy shipped or meet at a random location.
  • Always check references, including others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the veterinarian the breeder works with.
  • Be sure to deal directly with a breeder, not a broker.
  • Never send Western Union or money order payments.
  • If you are told that there will be no refunds for a sick puppy, you are most probably dealing with a puppy mill. A reputable breeder or rescue group will always take the puppy back, regardless of the reason.

Real Estate

Rental Scam - You can’t believe your good fortune—you find a rental home in a nice area at an unbelievably low rate. The landlord asks that you wire him two months’ worth of rent. You arrive at the home on the agreed-upon date, but there’s just one small problem—the house is not actually for rent and its owners know nothing about your agreement.

How to avoid being victimized:

  • Only deal with landlords or renters who are local;
  • Be suspicious if you’re asked to only use a wire transfer service;
  • Beware of e-mail correspondence from the “landlord” that’s written in poor or broken English;
  • Research the average rental rates in that area and be suspicious if the rate is significantly lower;
  • Don’t give out personal information, like social security, bank account, or credit card numbers.

Courtesy -

Per section 3604(c) of the Federal Fair Housing Act it is illegal to state a discriminatory preference in any ad.

If you come across a post that contains discriminatory language, please use our "report ad" link. In general, the law prohibits the stating of any preference towards or against any individual based on the following criteria:

  • Race or Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Gender/Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Handicap / Disability

For more information consult:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") Department of Justice


Regardless of the interview format, following the basic steps below can help you maximize your chances of success.

  • Know the Organization: Before the interview, take time to learn about the organization by researching its Web site, annual report, organizational structure, mission statement and any other resources that may be at your disposal.
  • Be Prepared: In addition to learning about your potential employer, review your resume and/or job application. Additionally, carry a few copies with you to the interview. This will allow you to more easily provide information that may be required or complete an application form if one is necessary and was not already provided. Also, discuss anticipated questions and rehearse the interview ahead of time with a friend or family member.
  • Stay Focused: Listen carefully to each question before formulating your answer and communicate clearly. For a telephone interview, plan ahead of time to be in a quiet environment free of potential distractions. In the case of a video conference interview, look attentively into the camera or screen when the questions are being asked.
  • Be Enthusiastic: Show that you are interested not only in the job for which you are applying, but also in the overall business or organization.
  • Be Honest: Explain what you can offer in terms of skills, knowledge, strengths and experience, including any volunteer work you may have done. If you do not have experience in a certain area, say so, but indicate your willingness and ability to learn new skills. Do not embellish the truth; simply present yourself as a positive person with skills to offer.
  • Don’t Talk Too Much…or Too Little: Provide concise answers to the questions. One-word answers or terse responses that provide little real information should be avoided. At the same time, do not ramble. Also, remember that the interviewer, not the applicant, determines when the interview is over.
  • Be Yourself: Do not put on an act. You will feel more relaxed and will better assist the interviewers in learning about your skills and knowledge if you present yourself sincerely.
  • Dress For Success: You do not get a second chance to make a good first impression. Therefore, dress appropriately for the type of job for which you are applying. Looking your best shows you are serious about the job and may also make you feel more confident.
  • Follow Up: Always ask the interviewer a few questions to demonstrate your interest in the position. In addition, send a thank you note shortly after the interview, expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to learn more about the job and the organization.
  • Stay Positive: Do not give up if you do not get a job immediately. Rather, view each interview as a learning experience that will eventually help you land the job you want. After each interview, think about the things you did well, as well as the areas where you think you could improve, regardless of the outcome.

Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor

Reporting an ad

The "Report" function can be found at the top of each listing and ad on our site. We encourage users to report listings that seem like they might be fraud, spam, pornographic in nature, or engaging in illegal activities, such as discrimination or trademark violations. When you report an ad it will sent to our administrative department and the ad and/or user will be removed if found in violation of our Terms of Use.

For more information on how to stay safe online, visit any of the links below:

Federal Bureau of Investigation - Avoiding Internet Fraud

Better Business Bureau - Tips for Consumers

OnGuard Online -FCC's Online Shopping Tips