All Posts Tagged: personal fraud
It’s that time of year for spring cleaning. But you want this to be about cleaning out your garage, not for online thieves to clean out your bank account.
When I listed a computer for sale on craigslist.com recently, I quickly found a buyer and agreed on a price. The deal went smoothly, but I did start to think about how a transaction could easily go wrong for a seller who is not careful.
Here are a few tips to help safeguard yourself and reap the monetary benefits of that thorough clean-out.1. Payment – Be careful about how you are paid for your item. Generally, cash is king, particularly for lower-value items. The U.S. Currency Education Program has some good resources to help you tell whether cash is genuine (I normally look for the watermarks). Personal checks, gift cards, and even online payment services can all have issues. Checks can be forged, gift cards and online payment emails can be faked. Educate yourself on these common Craigslist and eBay scams – there are many of them. Always ask for the phone number of a potential buyer to set up the transaction, and don’t give out additional personal details until you feel comfortable doing so. It’s better to share a mobile number rather than your home phone number. 2. Location – Be very careful about inviting people to your home to collect their goods. If you must meet your buyer at home, have someone with you or make a friend aware that the transaction is happening and when. It’s better to meet your buyer in a public place. You might choose a supermarket or police station parking lot, which generally have video surveillance. Of course this could be tricky if you are trying to sell your 30-cubic-foot refrigerator; but in that case, ask a friend to be with you and put the large item outside or in your garage. 3. Personal information – To reduce the risk of identity theft when selling anything with personal data on it, erase the data. Mobile phones and tablets can generally be wiped clean by going into settings or preferences and resetting the device to the original/factory settings, but each operating system can be slightly different. For scrubbing computers, take a look at my earlier post. Read More ›