CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - You have heard the term "Buyer Beware" before. But did you know that when it comes to selling goods online it is also "Seller Beware"?
On a given day, 10 million people are on eBay. Another auction site, Craigslist, has 50 Million people who use it. Cybercriminals are part of that number.
We have one viewer who was renting her house and she narrowly avoided being a victim. Former White House cybersecurity expert Theresa Payton explains how you can spot and avoid the scam and has provided tips on what to do if you have been a victim.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON HOW TO SPOT THE SCAM
The "Owner" is far away
The "Owner" has an emergency which means they are offering lower than market rent or selling price
The "Owner" asks for money order, cashier's check or a wire transfer
Refusal to meet with you face to face or to allow you to tour the property before renting it
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
- Never wire funds via a wire service
- If you are not dealing with a well known real estate firm, verify that this a legitimate rental by talking to the owner of record after checking the County Property records
- Ask for references
- Never give out financial information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers without validating the owner
- Craigslist recommends that meeting in person will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on Craigslist (they recommend choosing a public location for safety reasons)
- Type the property address into your favorite search engine to look at other hits and compare the information
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A VICTIM
- Email details to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the URL to the scam and the 10-digit post ID number in the message
- Reporting Fraud to CraigsList for Investigation - hints from www.ehow.com:
Click on the Craigslist ad in question. Ads are single-line text links in various categories. Clicking on a text link will open up the ad.
Click on the appropriate "flag" link. Flags are text links located in a box in the upper right-hand corner. Possibilities for flagging are "miscategorized," "prohibited," "spam/overpost," and "best of craigslist."
For cases of suspected fraud, click "prohibited." This will alert the Craigslist team to investigate this ad.
If you suspect fraud as a result of a Craigslist seller emailing you, go back to the ad and flag it.
- Reporting Suspicious Emails: Forward the questionable email to email@example.com, along with an explanation as to why you would like them to research it.
- FTC: Report the scam to the FTC by calling 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) or Emailing them at www.FTCComplaintAssistant.gov
- FBI: Report the scam to the FBI's Internet Complaint Center, IC3 at: www.IC3.gov
- CREDIT REPORTING: If you gave them any personal information, please contact your bank. You may want to consider Credit Report monitoring service.
- STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Contact the State Attorney General's office. For NC call 919.716.640 or go to http://www.ncdoj.gov/Consumer/2-2-12-File-a-Complaint.aspx. For SC call 803-734-3970 or go to http://www.scattorneygeneral.org/fraud/index.html
Craigslist Scam Advice: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams