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How to Avoid Getting Scammed When Buying and Selling Online

Online selling sites make it easier than ever to unload items you don’t want any more and buy the slightly used things you need at a steep discount. However, criminals who seek to steal your hard-earned money and personal information also frequent these sites. The Hayward security experts at ADS Guards have a few tips to help you avoid scams so you can buy and sell online safely.

Get to Know the Buyer or Seller

If you aren’t sure about making a financial transaction with someone, ask to speak with him or her on the phone. Chat a little bit and see if the person makes you feel comfortable or not. On local selling sites, you can easily check out someone’s social media profiles and mutual friends you might have in common. If someone avoids talking to you beyond short messages or there’s no trace of the person on social media, you may want to steer clear.

Protect Your Identity

When selling and buying online, never reveal personal information like your social security number, credit card number, or address. The photos you post of the items you sell should be cropped to prevent displaying images that could potentially identify you or your location. 

Be Wary About Payment

Use a safe system like PayPal that doesn’t reveal your personal information when completing online transactions. PayPal also has integrated protections if you are the victim of fraud. Certain payment methods are red flags for fraudulent activity and should be avoided, including Western Union and other wire transfers, cashier’s checks, and personal checks. Never give your banking information to anyone online. 

Learn About Common Scams

Certain sites, including the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission, post alerts about common scams. For example, if you post a big-ticket item for sale on Craigslist, scammers can use a fake PayPal site to mimic a message that makes it look like they have transferred money. You then ship the item, and the cash never clears. Always wait for money to be deposited or checks to clear before shipping an item. In another common scam, an overpayment for an item is sent and you are asked to return the funds. The original check never clears and you’ve lost the money. 

To learn more about avoiding scammers and keeping your personal information and finances safe, reach out to the security experts at ADS Guards. We are a leading provider of security guard patrol services Hayward businesses and residents prefer, and we also offer security for special corporate events. Give us a call today at 1-800-794-1550 for a free quote.