Thursday, June 7, 2012

Scams to avoid on iNetGiant.

At iNetGiant, your goal is for you to be safe whenever you are doing business online. We have built safety procedures and checks into our site, but that does not mean that the occasional scammer will not get through. To protect yourself from being taken advantage of, you need to learn how to spot and avoid common online scams.

Vehicle Scams

If you are shopping for a vehicle, make sure you see it before you buy it, no matter how good of a deal it sounds like or how nice the pictures are. If you are not allowed to see the item in person before sending money, then avoid the purchase. Also, watch for “deals” that seem too good to be true. The “seller” may not have a vehicle at all, and may ask for money upfront, only to disappear without delivering the vehicle. Do not be swayed by fancy logos, as these are easy to copy or create.

Email Scams

Sometimes, scammers will try to work their program through email. Email scams typically have a logo or appear to be legitimately from a company, even iNetGiant. They will have a link in them that appears to be to your account, yet when you click on the link your information is harvested by identity thieves. Keep in mind that these email scams tend to create a sense of urgency, such as by saying your account will be closed or you will lose your item.

You can protect yourself by not clicking on any links that appear to be from us or one of our sellers. Rather, type our web address into the address bar and see if the information is valid directly on our site. Perform your transactions in person at a local meeting place.

Electronics Scams

If someone is posting brand new electronics for a deeply discounted price, do not bite. These items could be stolen, or the seller could be using stock photos to advertise something he does not actually have. This is particularly true if all business will be done over chat or via email.

Job Scams

If you are applying for a job and the “interviewer” wants you to send money upfront or wants you to cash a check for them that is not your paycheck, be careful. This might be a scam. By cashing the check, which may end up bouncing, you could lose thousands. Also, you could be sucked into a pyramid scheme type investment program, which is illegal.

Pet Scams

Like the other scams, scams involving pets often involve having the animal shipped or delivered. You pay, then they never send the animal. Always arrange to meet with the seller, and try to do so locally. Also, be cautious about sellers who are offering rare or normally expensive pets for a cheap price. The animal may be unhealthy or it may be a scam.

Rental Scams

Advertisements offering a venue or home for rent can be scams. People will often take pictures of homes, place them on classifieds site, accept a rental deposit and then disappear. Usually, these will have cheap prices. The scammer will offer to send the keys after you send the deposit, but he keys will never arrive.

Similarly, renters can try to scam those offering properties for rent. These people often claim they are living overseas and offer to send a rent and deposit check, then ask for the money back as soon as you have deposited the check. The check will bounce, but if you have sent the money back, you will have no recourse to get your funds.

Buyer Scams

Sellers are not the only ones who can try to scam people. “Buyers” may offer to buy your item and then send a check for more than the amount, asking you to send the difference to someone. If you do this, the check will bounce and the “buyer” will have the excess funds directly from your bank account. These buyers will often ask to have the item shipped, usually to an overseas address.

Use these tips, when you are selling on iNetGiant.

When you are selling online through iNetGiant, you need to use precautions to protect yourself from scams and criminal activity. You also need to do everything you can to ensure that the items you are selling are correctly represented. These guidelines will help you sell effectively and safely through our classifieds.

Creating the Ad

  • When you are creating your ad, use photographs and be as descriptive as possible so buyers know what you are offering

  • Make the photographs clear and show any problems or damage to the item clearly.

  • Describe your item accurately so buyers know what they are receiving.

  • Limit the amount of personally identifying information posted in the ad. Use a special email address for this communication, and post your cell phone rather than your home phone if a number is needed.

 Responding to Buyers

  • When a potential buyer contacts you, respond quickly and answer their questions thoroughly.

  • When answering questions, try to determine if you are interested in doing business with this individual.

  • If something strikes you as suspicious, then walk away form the buyer.

  • When talking initially, continue to limit your personal information. Do not disclose personal information until you are comfortable with the buyer.

Meeting to Make the Sale

  • If you have decided to proceed with the sale of your item, then you need to make arrangements to meet with the buyer. Avoid doing this in your home, but opt to meet at a neutral location, preferably in a public place.

  • Avoid doing business with people you cannot meet in person. Often, scammers will send counterfeit checks and ask you to refund them the difference. In this scenario, the check will bounce and you will be left with the missing money and no item.

  • Avoid being alone when meeting with a seller. If you must meet in your home for large items, like furniture or appliances, have a trusted friend at your house at the same time.

  • Prepare for negotiation. Haggling is common when purchasing things from classifieds. Know what your bottom dollar amount is before you meet the seller.

  • Once you sell your item, remove your listing. This saves everyone time and prevents you from receiving ongoing phone calls about the item.

Getting Paid

  • Insist on being paid in cash for smaller items. Personal checks and similar forms of payment are a common ploy used by scammers. Never offer your personal information, such as your bank account, to have money transferred to you. This is never safe.

  • Demand payment in full before surrendering the item. Do not accept over-payment with a refund unless you are simply providing change for a cash payment.

  • If you are selling something large, like a vehicle or piece of furniture, where cash is not practical, allow the buyer to use a cashier’s check. However, these are easy to forge, so arrange to go to the bank with the buyer to have the check made out in your presence.

  • Offer your buyer a receipt. On the receipt, outline the amount, the condition of the item, and any agreements you made. Have both you and the buyer sign the receipt and keep a copy. This protects you if there is nay question in the future. It also may be necessary for proving that you did sell a larger item, like a vehicle. For small items, like children’s clothing, this may not be as important.

Remember, if at any point during this process you begin to feel uncomfortable, walk away. It is far too easy for someone to take advantage of you through classifieds, and you need to trust your instincts to avoid having this happen. Keep safety as your number one priority throughout this process, and you can successfully buy and sell online through iNetGiant.

Everything you need to know about buying safely and easily on iNetGiant.

When buying things online, there are certain guidelines you can follow that will make the process not only easier, but also hopefully safer. As you make plans to purchase an item, keep these tips in mind:

Beginning Communication

When you initiate communication, ask a lot of questions. Asking for photos or details about the history of condition of the item is expected and important.
Do not give out too much personal information at this initial contact. If the individual is a scammer, any personal information you give out is risky.
Try to schedule a phone conversation to establish credibility before you meet to exchange money for goods.
If at any time the seller is evasive, or if you feel uncomfortable, go with your instincts and look elsewhere for the product you need.

Scheduling a Meeting

The best way to pay for and receive your time is to meet in person. Depending on a seller to ship an item is always risky.
Plan the meeting in a public place, during the day.
Bring someone with you who can provide a measure of safety. Your child is not a good choice, but your spouse or a trusted friend would be.
Let someone else know where and when you are meeting the seller. Share any contact information you have on the seller with that individual in case something goes wrong.
Excuse yourself if you start to feel uncomfortable during the meeting.

Inspecting the Item

Do not buy the item before you have had a chance to inspect it thoroughly.
Know what to look for before you arrive. If you are buying something of high value, research the market value and the different qualities you need to look at before your meeting. It can help to bring copies of similar listings to show the seller you know what the value is.
Always see the item before you buy. For merchandise, check the condition carefully in good lighting.
If you are buying a vehicle, ask to have it inspected by a trusted mechanic before you make the final decision on the purchase. Pull a vehicle history report and ask for service records or other receipts from repairs. Also, arrange for a test drive. Always check that the vehicle is registered in the seller’s name.
If you are buying an animal, ask to have your veterinarian check the animal prior to purchase, or look at its veterinary records.
If the item was misrepresented in the listing, walk away. You are under no obligation to make a purchase.

Finalizing the Transaction

Always pay in cash to protect you and the buyer. Personal checks, Moneygrams and Western Union transfers are not a good idea. Never exchange your bank or credit card information with a seller.
If you are making a large purchase that does not lend itself toward cash payment, use a cashier’s check to protect yourself and the seller. This will give your payment credibility for the seller, while protecting your bank account information. You may need to meet a second time to provide payment since you will need to be certain that you want to buy the item before ordering the cashier’s check.
Never give out personally identifiable information, like your Social Security number or credit card account. Sometimes a contact you meet on iNetGiant will have a valid reason for requesting this. For instance, if you are renting a property, the landlord will want to pull a credit check. To get around this, pull a current credit report on your own, black out your Social Security number, and offer this instead.
Again, trust your instincts if you start to feel uncomfortable in any way. Walk away if the seller seems suspicious. There are always other items available.