Safety Tips for Users of Internet Classifieds

As more people use the internet to find the best deals to buy merchandise, they have also unfortunately fallen prey to internet predators. These predators use classified ad websites to lure potential buyers/sellers to locations. Once they arrive, victims are robbed of their money or merchandise. These predators also use other internet scams to take your money or identity.

Here are safety tips to prevent you from falling victim to these internet predators:


  • Deal locally; Avoid long distance or overseas transactions.
  • Never wire funds via money transfer services/money wire services – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
  • Never send money to a P.O. Box address
  • Beware of Counterfeit cashier checks & money orders. Banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fraud is discovered weeks later.
  • Never give out financial information (bank account number, social security number, credit card number, etc.).
  • Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services and know that only a scammer will “guarantee” your transaction.
  • Counterfeit (knockoffs) & stolen merchandise are commonly sold via the internet.


Internet crime schemes that steal millions of dollars each year from victims continue to plague the Internet. The following is a listing of some of these schemes. For more information logon to & click on the link Internet Crime Schemes for a detailed explanation of each scheme.

  • Counterfeit Cashier’s Check
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Debt Elimination
  • Employment/Business Opportunities
  • Escrow Services Fraud
  • Identity Theft
  • Internet Extortion
  • Investment Fraud
  • Lotteries Nigerian Letter or “419”
  • Phishing/Spoofing
  • Ponzi/Pyramid
  • Reshipping
  • Spam
  • Third Party Receiver of Funds


  • Avoid personal meetings for money/merchandise exchanges.

If meeting in person is absolutely necessary…

  • Avoid locations that you are unfamiliar with.
  • Agree to meet in a public place with heavy pedestrian traffic flow.
  • Avoid going alone.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you should be back.
  • Once at the location, survey the area before you meet. If things don’t “look or feel” right then leave. Trust your instincts!
  • Once at the location don’t agree to go to another location, it could be a setup.

Remember, if it looks too good to be true it probably is!!! Don’t become a victim!!!