Today, most people spend a considerable amount of time on their computers each day. Instead of going out shopping, many consumers prefer to stay at home and shop from the privacy of their own home. Defrauders are aware of this.
Although most of the bigger sites are generally safe with safeguards for consumers who enter their personal information including bank account numbers and their address, there are still many scams that occur online in connection with buying and selling goods.
Craigslist is a site that offers a tremendous service to its viewers connecting those seeking opportunities and those looking to provide opportunities. Craigslist is a very comprehensive site operating in several countries, and has a very user-friendly layout. However, there are generally an inordinate amount of scams on the website on a daily basis.
Before purchasing or selling items on Craigslist, pay attention to the ad. Ads with poor grammar and syntax are red flags. Many fraudsters are from foreign countries, or just do not take the time to write proper ads. Anyone who is serious about contracting with someone will generally care about the appearance of the ad. Also watch for people that never want to meet face to face. Craigslist now features a prominent warning to deal with people locally because fraudsters try to do everything remotely in order to avoid getting caught.
Before making a purchase or selling to someone via an ad, make sure to research. If you are in the market for a car, search the Internet for all relevant information so you are prepared to scrutinize the other party’s offer. Make sure to see the product before purchasing it. It is easy to take a gamble when buying clothes online from a big retailer, because there is recourse to return it. For a bigger purchase from another individual, it is better to preview the purchase before you agree to buy it.
Remember to create some sort of contract. It does not have to be a contract drafted by an attorney, although having a professional create the agreement is always a good idea to ensure proper protection. At the very least, the contract has to state the important aspects of the transaction, the parties, what is being agreed to, what both parties are getting and giving up, and any other agreements you want memorialized. It is a lot easier to walk into court with a signed written contract if something goes wrong, than to rely on a verbal agreement, which is your word against the other party’s.
Never give out personal information online and make the actual purchase in person. If the seller says they will drive the vehicle to you after they receive payment in the mail, immediately withdraw from the transaction.
Finally, make sure you really are on the website you believe you are on. Internet hackers are capable of transferring traffic to another site to get access to your personal information.
If you have been a victim of a fraudulent transaction online, contact an attorney who can help you.