Avoiding Scams & Fraud
You can identify scams by following these common-sense rules:
- Deal locally with people you can meet in person, following this one simple rule you will avoid 99% of scams.
- Never wire funds via Western Union, Moneygram or other wiring service. Anyone who asks you to do so could be a scammer.
- Fake cashier checks & money orders are common. Banks will cash them, then hold you responsible when it is discovered weeks later.
- Never give out financial information (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
- Avoid deals involving shipping or Escrow services.
- With real-estate rental or leases, be careful of proprietors only accepting cash, not wanting a contract or having abnormally small deposits. Some scammers also might not have a vehicle around in case someone takes note of the license plate. Checking with neighbors and the Maricopa County assessor's website to verify the owner of the property is advised.
Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
- FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
- FTC online complaint form ( www.ftc.gov )
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center ( www.ic3.gov )
- Non-emergency number for your local police department.
Most scams involve one or more of the following:
- Inquiry from someone far away, often in another country.
- Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee"
- Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face.
- Bad grammar. And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Example: "I offer you $xx (more than your asking price). So, I would want you to keep all other buyer's off and also delete the advert from the website. Concerning payment my colleague in my hometown will issue you a Cashier check, since i am not home to do that for now. so i will need your ( Full name, full address and Phone number ) before colleague send the payment." This is a scam.