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Holiday Bargain Hunters: Beware of the Classifieds’ Con Artist

With purse strings tightened, shoppers nationwide are turning to online classifieds in search of great deals.  For the most part, shopping online classifieds is completely safe.  Most people want to do right by their neighbors and local communities. However, consumers should be cautious as online con artists are becoming more widespread and creative using online classifieds as a scam tactic.

Here at Oodle, safety is a top priority and we’ve taken a strong stance to combat the classifieds’ SPAM. In fact, our classifieds’

service uses proprietary fraud detection software to scan each and every listing before it can enter our network. In addition, our support team is armed with moderation tools for tracking down suspicious behavior and new scams.

In addition to everything Oodle is doing, the consumer can avoid most problems simply by following some common sense tips for buying and selling.  To learn more about how you can keep yourself safe from online scams and fraud, we’ve published an online safety guide in conjunction with the Better Business Bureau.

Here are a few of the most popular scams we’ve seen in our safety queue this holiday season:

  • Overpayment scam: This is a scam targeting the seller.  The alleged buyer states that he will send a money order over asking price to cover shipping costs. Here’s the hitch: he needs the buyer’s personal information, including address, bank account numbers, etc. to send the money order. This scammer does not want your money; he wants your identity.
  • Just pay-for-shipping scam: This scam targets the buyer. The alleged seller requests that the shipping costs be paid in advance. A sample scam listing might offer a pet up for “adoption” to a good home. While this may appear perfectly legitimate, a suspect scammer will likely suggest that the potential adoptee “act fast” and that the “puppy has recently been taken to Nigeria.” We’ve seen this scam in many other categories, including electronics and merchandise.

If you do happen to run into a fraudster or are suspicious of a certain listing, tell us about it so we can spread the word.

Happy holidays and safe shopping.

2 Responses to “Holiday Bargain Hunters: Beware of the Classifieds’ Con Artist”

  1. December 20th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Anthony says:

    Great stuff…thanks for the info….one think I notice is that some individual will ask the same question on multiple items, I guess they just looking for personal info.

    One big eBay / PayPal scam that will kill your business if you are not careful is to watch out for some buyers who will steal your merchandise.

    This is how they do it…PayPal got a very stupid policy that if a buyer purchase an item and not happy with the item, he can return the item and his or her money will be refunded, all the buy as to do is provide tracking number that they return the item.

    They will buy a $500 camera, file a claim that they don’t like it or they purchase the wrong item…They will send back a empty package to the seller with a stone in it and supply tracking number to Paypal, All PayPal looking for is the tracking number to proved the buyer return back the item.
    I supply to PayPal tracking info that shows I sent a 5 LB package to the customer and the customer return a 3lb package to me. PayPal still return the buyer my money.

    The Buyer got back they $500 and a free camera….

  2. December 21st, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Chrissy says:

    Thanks for the scam tips! I only have one more to add!

    A book I recently finished called The Worst Kind of Lies , by John Patrick Lamont.
    Super great read and helps you become more aware of the scams that are out there.

    I enjoyed this book and it’s got my eye open now!

    Thanks for your tips and have a very Merry Christmas!

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