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USFamilyMall > Classified Ads
BEWARE OF SCAMS!

Most people who use usfamilymall classified ads have great stories to tell about their experiences with buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords and such, but we also receive occasional reports of scams and fraud. We've found that one of the best ways to avoid this problem is to keep all transactions local -- whenever possible, don't do business with anyone who is not in your local area.

Use caution and common sense when dealing with any financial transaction:

  • DEAL ONLY WITH LOCAL BUYERS AND SELLERS! Most non-local inquiries on usfamilymall are scams.
  • NEVER wire funds to a distant buyer, via Western Union or any other carrier
  • Be wary if the other party wants to use an escrow service such as BidPay or Squaretrade
  • NEVER give out personal financial information (checking account number, SSN, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
  • trust your instincts, and always remember the most important rule -- BUYER BEWARE
If you think you have been scammed, contact the non-emergency number for your local police department -- they may be able to offer advice about your options.




Who should I notify about fraud?
  • FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
  • FTC online complaint form (www.ftc.gov)
  • Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501
  • Internet Fraud Complaint Center (www.ifccfbi.gov/)

If you suspect that an item posted for sale on usfamilymall may be part of a scam, please email the details to "abuse@usfamily.net".




Recognizing scams
Most scams meet involve one or more of the following:

  • long-distance buyer or seller
  • offer includes a cashier's check, postal money order, Western Union, or escrow service (BidPay, Squaretrade, etc.)
  • refusal to meet face-to-face




Types of Scams
1. distant seller indicates USFamily.Net will guarantee the transaction through the USFamily.Net Protection Program

  • This program does not exist!!!! USFamily.Net does not have any role in any transaction.
  • Seller will request a down payment, and will provide detailed documentation of the "protection program".
2. distant buyer offers a high-value (but fake) cashier's check in exchange for your item
  • you receive an odd email (actual examples sent to sellers below) offering to buy your item site unseen.
  • cashier's check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for an apartment, or just about anything else.
  • value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - buyer asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
  • banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR
  • scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)
3. distant seller requests payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
  • seller often claims that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired money, it is GONE.
  • common items currently: laptops, plasma TVs, cell phones, tickets - but could be almost anything
  • common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, Ukraine, Spain, UK, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere
  • deal often seems too good to be true
4. distant seller offers to send you a cashier's check and then have you wire money:
  • this is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience - the cashier's check is FAKE
  • sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not
  • scammer often asks for your name, address, etc for printing on the fake check
  • deal often seems too good to be true
5. distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service.
  • most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT, operated by scammers
  • for more info, do a google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud"
  • if you must do business with a distant seller, insist on a legitimate service, such as www.escrow.com
6. distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship goods.
  • he says he trusts you with the partial payment
  • he may say he has already shipped the goods
  • deal often sounds too good to be true

Other Resources

U.S. Postal Service warning


Actual examples of scam emails sent to usfamilymall sellers


Hello ,
Thanks for your mail back concerning the inquiry mail i sent to you. 
The price,condition also the pics i viewed is okay by me .And my client 
confirm there is no problem about the price($975 ) ,my client do pays with 
a {USA}cashier check,he has agreed to mail out as bank cashiers check of 
$3500. to you on my behalf to cover the shippment fees.About the shippment, 
that we be taken care by my me & my personal assistant,my personal assistant 
will be using his shipper to do the quick processing of the shipping of 
the(1987 Toyota Celica) to my client.
So all you are to do after you will received the check in your mail, 
Just take out your sale amount and refer the remaining money to my shipper 
immediately through the westernunion or the money gramm outlet so to get the 
money fast and start the fast arrangement for the pickup of the 
(1987 Toyota Celica).Since you are the original owner of this item,and i 
am buying the item directly from you i will like you to write your full name 
to be on the check,with the mailing address which my client will be using 
to issued out the check to you.I do wish to trust you by refering the rest 
balance back to my shipper and also your fast doing to this transaction.
I will like to hear fromyou if this is okay by you and you are ready to 
process ,if you aready to sale your item and promise refering the rest 
balance to my shipper immediately you received the check so can start the 
quick arrangement for the pickup. Any body that want to buy this item 
this item just tell therm that it as been sold. I will like to copmplete 
this transaction befor the new year. I be at my computer waiting to see 
your epky to my payment method mailed.
THANKS AND MAIL ME BACK WITH YOUR DETAIL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

##########

>   Thanks for getting back to me,i will be
>purchasing the motorbike Like i said earlier i am based in the
>netherlands(holland).there won't be any probs about the shipment,after
>payment ,the pick up will be made at your place. i have made arrangements
>with the prepaid shipping company. As regards payment,this is what i am
>going to do;I have a client in ENGLAND who is owing me 5800POUNDS i would
>instruct him to make out a money order/certifiedcheck to you in that
>amount and as soon as it clears your bank. you can now deduct your money
>from it and send me my balance,i will using use part of the money to pay
>for the shipping and other expenses .you will then send my balance by via
>western union money transfer.Although the value of the check is more than
>the asking price but i think i should be able to trust you with my
>balance. The reason why i am doing this is that it would take a check
>sent from over here in HOLLAND 21days to clearover there,whereas a check
>sent from the US would clear tops within 48hrs. So i would like you to
>deduct the western union charges from my balance.So if my terms are
>acceptableto you,i would like you to give me your fullname,address and
>phone number so that i can instruct my client to make out the check to
>you.  Pls get back to me as soon as you get this mail so that we can
>round things up in a timely fashion..i willbe trusting in this business
>transaction.

###########

> Good day
> i am an auto dealer based in TAIWAN,i am interested in buying your
> ( 1989 Jetta GL 4 door  )I will like to know if you would accept
> acertified cashier check for the payment of the,i also need to
> know the price and your full name and address including your
> phone is also needed in which payment will be sent to . i have a
> shipping company who takes cares of my shippment .So don't bother
> about the shippment.I will also like to know if is still in good
> condition and
> shape.urgent response is needed for procedure of payment of the (
> 1989 Jetta GL 4 door )
> REGARD

#############

> Thanks for your mail,Since the cost of your bike is $800 i just contacted
my client about the cost of your bike and it present condition and he said
there is no problem about that.So my client said he will be issuing you a
Certified Check of $4000 while you wire 3000 to me through Western Union
Money Trasfer and you deduct the cost of your bike $800 and keep the
remaining $200 which my client said you should take for the terms of
Transaction and Agreement between you and my client.So i will like you to
send me your full contact information to where my client will be sending you
> the Certified Check like this:
> name.........
> full address.............
> city...............
> state.............
> country..........
> zipcode............
> cell/office/home phone number.......................
> I will look forward to the requested information as soon as  possible so
that the check can be sent out to you immediately  And do get back to me
with the Pics of the bike so tha! t my client will  be Able to see What he
is paying off.Get back to me immediately. Looking torwards your
> respond,
> Best Regards.

###########

Good day
i am an auto dealer based in TAIWAN,i am interested in buying your
( Comic book collection - 500 comics  )I will like to know if you
would accept acertified cashier check for the payment of the,i also
need to knowthe price and your full name and address including your phone
is alsoneeded in which payment will be sent to . i have a shipping
company who takes cares of my shippment .So don't bother about the
shippment.I will also like to know if is still in good condition
and shape.urgent response is needed for procedure of payment of the (
Comic book collection - 500 comics )
REGARD


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