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Holiday Bargain Hunters Beware of the Classified Con Artist

With purse strings tightened, shoppers nationwide are turning to online classifieds in search of great deals. For the most part, shopping with online classifieds is completely safe. Most people want to do right by their neighbors and local communities. Consumers should be cautious, however. Online con artists are becoming more widespread and creative using online classifieds as a scam tactic, particularly during the holidays when they prey on unsuspecting shoppers who often want to purchase “just-in-time” for Christmas.

Here at Oodle, safety is a top priority and we’ve taken a strong stance to combat the classifieds’ SPAM in our network, which includes Facebook Marketplace, Oodle.com, Walmart.com and more than 200 other sites. In fact, our classifieds service uses proprietary fraud detection software to scan each and every listing before it can enter our network. As a result, we remove thousands of fraudulent listings each week.

Our support team is also armed with proprietary moderation tools for tracking down suspicious behavior and new scams. 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. You can also visit safety.oodle.com for news and information about the latest scams.

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. Because it takes your bank up to three weeks to bounce a fraudulent check, all seems good. In the meantime, the scammer asks you to send the difference to their “shipping agent,” or themselves.

· Just pay-for-shipping scam: This scam targets the buyer. The alleged seller requests that the shipping costs to 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 an interested party “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.

Just-in-time for Christmas scam: This scam targets holiday shoppers looking for gifts (often pets) that will arrive just-in-time for Christmas. Because the seller is somewhere else, the buyer needs to send them the money in advance. And the buyer never gets the item.

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.

One Response to “Holiday Bargain Hunters Beware of the Classified Con Artist”

  1. December 11th, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Jameel says:

    Thankyou for the information.

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