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Mar 27 / tannus

Nigerian scams…

online scam self defense

Popular classified ad web sites like Craigslist and Kijiji are being searched through by scam artists. Scammers may contact a person who is either attempting to buy or sell items on the ad site, and attempt to the scam. Many of the same elements as the Nigerian 419 scams are often used, including persons conducting transactions from outside the country, sending realistic looking bank checks, sending more money than is owed, and requesting that money be wired back to the scammer.

Another scam that has been used recently is where the scammer will contact someone selling an item and ask them to ship the item to a location outside the US or Canada (typically in Nigeria). The seller then sends the item and provides the tracking number, after which the scammer never provides payment.

If you are offering a room or apartment for rent the scammer may pose as someone moving in to their area from overseas. They will  ask if they can secure their occupancy with a deposit. The deposit check that they send will be a fake check for more than the amount requested for a deposit. Later, the scammer will ask for a refund of the difference between the check they sent and the agreed upon amount. The fake check will bounce and the victim has lost whatever money they “refunded” to the scammer.

Use some simple, common-sense online “self defense” techniques here.

1) anything “Nigerian” should be an immediate red-flag

2) people aren’t going to drastically over pay you for your product or apartment for rent – stop and think about it for a minute.

3) using Western Union to wire money back to the scammer will result in you losing your money – Western Union can not get it back for you.  The police can not do anything to help you. Donate your money to a charitable organisation instead!

4) sell locally and avoid the headaches!

The main thing is to just stop when you get an email offering you more money than you’re asking for your product or apartment – think about it for a few minutes – then hit delete on the email you just received!

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