How to Shop Safely and Avoid Scammers
Protect yourself from scammers!
Below are a few tips for how to keep your information and identity safe:
1. Deal only with sellers with whom you can meet in person. Make this your #1 purchasing rule and you will avoid almost all scam attempts.
**If you are interested in purchasing vehicles or parts, this is especially important in order to confirm that the ad or information obtained online from a seller is legitimate and matches the information they have given you.
2. Never wire funds via western union, money gram, or any other wire service. Anyone who asks you to do this is likely a scammer.
3. Fake cashier checks and money orders are common, and banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered. Avoid using these types of payment methods.
4. Willys For Sale is not involved in any transaction, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”.
5. Never give out personal or financial information (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, or any other compromising information about yourself)
6. Avoid deals involving shipping services. Also be aware that only a scammer will “guarantee” your transaction.
7. Be careful when accepting Paypal as a payment method from a buyer – scams have been reported whereby after obtaining the item for sale, the buyer disputes the charge, cancels his/her account and disappears.
Who should I notify about fraudulent activity or scam attempts?
• FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
If you suspect that a Willys For Sale post may be part of a scam, please send us the details about the ad and seller. We do our best to prevent scammers from posting on our website and want to keep our site as safe as possible, so please notify us of any suspicious activity.
Most scams involve one or more of the following:
• inquiry from someone far away, often in another country
• Western Union, Money Gram, cashier’s check, money order, shipping, or a “guarantee”
• inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before completing transaction
1. Someone claims that Willys For Sale will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that Willys For Sale will handle or provide protection for a payment.
• These claims are fraudulent, as Willys For Sale does not have any role in any transaction.
• Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from Willys For Sale, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services — all such emails are inauthentic!
2. Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier’s check.
• you receive an email offering to buy your item sight unseen.
• cashier’s check is offered for your sale item.
• value of cashier’s check often far exceeds your item – scammer offers to “trust” you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
• banks will often cash fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases!
• scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)
3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram.
• Often will claim 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 countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Netherlands – but could be anywhere (Note that there may be a buyer / seller from one of these countries who is NOT a scammer, but be careful, as verifying authenticity will be difficult without meeting face-to-face. Again, the best policy is dealing locally and in person!)
• Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, etc, or buyer offers to pay more than the advertised price.
4. Distant person offers to send you a money order 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 asks for a partial payment up front, 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