Safety Tips - How to avoid scams and fraud
Here are some tips to avoid fraud or scam anywhere on the Internet
Please understand that Freeegive is not involved in any fraud or scam transactions and can not police the actions of our many users. We have compiled a list of resources to help our advertisers and users of Freegive identify and avoid Internet based scams.
Importing Pets, Monkeys or Parrot eggs?
Please do not respond to "adopt a pet" ads where you are asked to send money for shipping the pet from abroad or from a far away location, all these ads are scams and we will delete all ads and accounts when we find this type of ad. If you are buying a pet, please view the pet before parting with any money, never buy from overseas, never send money by Western Union, it is like sending cash and can not be traced. Please be aware that telephone numbers starting 0704 and 0703 can be used to direct calls to an international number, if you dial a 0704 type number please take extra care, listen if it is a UK ringing tone, if there is an echo on the line then there is a good chance that you could be ringing a scammer abroad.
Never provide your personal or banking information
Do not give out personal, credit card or online account details (e.g. social insurance number, bank account number) over the Internet/email. We advise only buying and selling with people you can meet. Fraudsters don't meet people, that's how they get caught!
Just Pay Shipping Scam
Do not respond to any ad that offers free goods or pets and asks for you to pay just the shipping, nearly always this is a scam.
Please be aware of emails originating from overseas, wanting you to export your goods for sale. Nearly always, these are a scam of some kind. The majority of scams that are tend to be from criminals based in Nigeria or Cameroon, or are using Nigerian/Cameroon bank accounts. Remember: If it sounds to good to true, then it usually is!
What is West African "419" fraud?
Advance fee fraud or '419' fraud (named after the relevant section of the Nigerian Criminal Code) is a popular crime with the West African criminal element. There are a myriad of schemes and scams - mail, faxed and telephone promises designed to facilitate victims parting with money. All involve requests to help move large sums of money with the promise of a substantial share of the cash in return.
You receive an offer for more money than advertised?
Another popular scam is to be sent a cheque for more money than the goods are advertised for, you are then asked to forward the difference to the purchaser of your goods.
The Metropolitan Police web site
Deal with people in your area
How the scam works is that the cheque you are sent is fraudulent, usually drawn on a foreign bank account, or is a stolen cheque. After you bank the cheque, the scammer/fraudster will ask you to send back the difference as soon as possible. A week or so later, your bank will inform you that the cheque is false and your bank account will be debited, therefore loosing your money.
Never release your goods until the bank has confirmed that the cheque or bankers draft has completely cleared.
Be suspicious if you are overpaid for products and a number of credit card numbers are used. The scammer is expecting you to/will transfer the refund; either paying for the freight before then discovering the cheque they sent out to you has bounced or before realising the money order/credit cards details they produced were phoney.
The vast majority of scammers will contact you from another country or somewhere far away. The best way to avoid scams is to deal locally, in person.
When meeting someone for the first time
- Nevertheless, it's very important to take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline.
Were you a victim of an online scam?
- When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
- Never send money to anyone. Freegive Ads Classified Directory is for face to face trading only.
- Never give your bank details to anyone.
- Meet in daylight preferably.
- Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe.
- Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.
- Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items.
- Tell a friend or family member where you're going.
- Take your cell phone along if you have one.
- Consider having a friend accompany you.
- Trust your instincts.
Taking these simple precautions helps make Freegive safer for everyone.
Please report to us any attempted fraud or suspicious emails, ads, or other activity by Freegive users. We do not want scammers/fraudsters using the Freegive web site, please report all fraudsters if you receive an email from them.
Buying and selling
In case of fraud or illegal activity, we also recommend that you report it to the Police.
Renting a property
- Never send your goods or money to anyone.
- If someone says they are out of the country and they want to send you money for shipping goods to them, it's probably a scam!
- How the scam works: They send you a fake cheque or a fake email from some kind of payment system such as paypal hoping you will send the goods before the cheque clears or before you notice the payment confirmation email is not legitimate.
- Don't carry large sums of cash on your own. Take a friend with you to purchase the item.
- Be suspicious of people who claim to be out of the country.
- Be suspicious if a deal is too good to be true. Don't let greed get the better of you! :-)
- Meet the seller in a public place if possible.
Meeting someone from Freegive (Personals/Dating/Friends)
- If a landlord says they are out of the country and want you to send the money as a deposit, it's most probably a scam!
- How the scam works: You send the money, there is no property to rent so you lose your money.
- Another Scam: They ask you to send money to someone you trust to prove you have money to rent the flat. They want you to use a system such as Western Union. You send the money to your friend or family member. They then ask for you to prove it by showing your payment receipt. You scan the receipt and send it to them by email or fax. They can then duplicate the receipt and claim the money with the serial numbers on the receipt.
- If a potental tennant says they are out of the country and want to send you a deposit for the property before viewing it, it's most probably a scam.
How the scam works: They send you a fake cheque for more money than you require (you want £1000, they send £1500). When you tell them they paid too much, they say "ok, send me £500 back". If you send the £500 back before finding out the cheque is fake, you'll lose your money.
- Meet in a public place such as a bar or coffee shop.
- Tell a friend you are meeting someone from Freegive and say the time you expect to be back.
- Get a phone number of the person you wish to meet and speak to them before you meet.
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