Don’t get scammed!
Sad but true, there are scammers out there. Here are ways to avoid them:
Only deal with people that you can meet in person.
Make sure you’ve actually seen the item that you’re purchasing.
Do not give out your financial information, including bank account numbers, social security numbers, BitCoin passwords, or eBay/PayPal information.
You should never wire funds using Western Union, Moneygram, or another wire service – a request to do is a scammer red flag.
Fake money orders and cashiers checks are a common scammers tool – be aware that banks will hold you responsible when a fake is discovered.
ZipCodeFlea has no involvement in any transaction that takes place – we have nothing to do with handling payments, providing escrow, buyer protection, seller certification, etc…
Do not get involved in deals that involve shipping or escrow services.
Don’t submit to a credit or background check without meeting a job interviewer or other agent in person.
Here’s who to notify about fraud or scam attempts:
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center
- FTC Video: How to report scams to the FTC
- FTC online complaint form
- FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
- Consumer Sentinel/Military (for reports from services members or their families)
- SIIA Software and Content Piracy reporting
Resources for Ohio residents
- Ohio Attorney General Consumer Complaints
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or 888-495-8501 (toll-free)
If you believe you have defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
In the event you suspect that a ZipCodeFlea post may be part of a scam, please notify us immediately!
Here’s how to recognize a scam
Most scams will involve one or more of the following:
- An inquiry from someone who is far away — often they’re located in another country.
- Western Union, Money Gram, cashier’s check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a “guarantee” of some sort
- They are unable, or refuse to meet you face-to-face before executing a transaction.
Examples of Scams
1. A person claims ZipCodeFlea will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR will handle or provide protection for a payment:
- This is a fraudulent claim – ZipCodeFlea does not have any role in any transaction.
- The scammer may send an official looking (but fake) email that appears to come from ZipCodeFlea, which offers a guarantee, certifying a seller, handling payments.
2. A distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier’s check:
- You receive an email that offers to buy your item sight unseen.
- Next, a cashier’s check is offered for your sale item as a deposit for an item or for your services.
- The value of the cashier’s check often far exceeds your item – the scammer offers to “trust” you, and then asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service.
- Be aware that banks will often cash fake checks, and then hold you responsible when the check fails to clear – this sometimes includes criminal prosecution.
- A third party is often involved (such as shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc.).
3. Someone requests a wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
- Some popular “scam bait” items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, and other high-value items.
- Often, these cams claim that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before they can withdraw your money – this is false: once you’ve wired money, it is gone.
- Common countries include: Nigeria, Romania, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Netherlands — but note they could be anywhere.
- An apartment listing may be local, but the landlord/owner is “travelling” or “relocating” and needs you to wire money to them abroad.
- A deal often seems too good to be true, the price is too low, or the rent is below market, etc.
4. A distant person offers to send you a money order and then have you wire money:
- This is always a scam — the cashier’s check is fake.
- Sometimes this accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes it doesn’t.
- The scammer often asks for your name, address, etc… for printing on the fake check.
- The deal often seems too good to be true.
5. A distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service:
- Most online escrow sites are fraudulent, and are operated by scammers.
- To learn more, search Google on “fake escrow” or “escrow fraud.”
6. A distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which they will ship goods:
- They says they trust you with the partial payment.
- They may say they have already shipped the goods.
- Once again, the deal often sounds too good to be true.
7. A foreign company offers you a job receiving payments from customers, then wiring them the funds:
- This foreign company may claim it is unable to receive payments from its customers directly.
- You are often offered a percentage of payments received.
- This kind of “position” may be posted as a job, or offered to you via email.
Be alert, aware, and use common sense!!!