Woodlands Online Classifieds – Updated Tips on Staying Safe
By: Woodlands Online | Published 08/22/2022
THE WOODLANDS, TX – In our digital world, buying and selling goods online has become the norm. However, there are some who wish to take advantage of the online marketplace.
We here at Woodlands Online pride ourselves on providing a safe and convenient way to buy and sell goods online by utilizing the latest in anti-malware, spybot, phishing, spamming, virusware, and ransomware products and processes, but unfortunately even with constant vigilance, there are those bad actors who will always try to sneak onto the site in an effort to overcome our best efforts.
Below are some scams that are hitting online classified pages such as ours. We will update this page whenever possible (REV 1/3/23):
“I've sent you too much money; just send me back the difference.”
A popular scam is to send an amount of money significantly over the asking price of the item(s) in question. The sender will then blame a secretary or a misunderstanding and request the seller to reimburse them the difference in the amount. Sometimes the scammer will ask for a Venmo/PayPal payment; sometimes they'll have you send them a check or money order; or sometimes they'll have you purchase gift cards in the amount "due" then have you send them photos of the front and back of these cards. Don't fall for it. A red flag is someone sending you a check without them even seeing the items listed in person. Another red flag is when they urge you to hurry. Instead, should you receive a check, alert your bank when you are depositing it, and ensure it clears before send the items to the buyer (this may take up to a few days, but a reputable buyer will understand).
“I’m moving and will send you a cashier’s check.”
Many times, a person acting like an interested buyer will contact the seller, via email or phone, asking about an item. Once they know that the item is still available, they will state that they are either moving or out of state and will offer to send a certified or cashier's check for an amount higher than the seller's asking price. They will instruct the seller to cash the check. They'll also state that they will have a moving company pick up the item. This is a classic scam scenario. The certified or cashier's check will be fraudulent and by the time the bank figures this out, the seller would have lost their money.
“I’m sending you a Google verification number.”
Scammers look for people selling items online and message them as if they are an interested buyer. The criminals proceed to have a Google verification code sent to the seller. They then ask the seller to share the code to verify that they are a real seller. However, it is a Google Voice scam, and the scammer is looking for the victim to share the code with them to use it to create a new Google Voice phone number tied to the seller’s number. Scammers are after your Google Voice phone number and information so they can make another Google Voice account in your name to defraud other people with it.
In order to protect yourself from this type of scam, take the following tips into consideration:
Always deal locally, face-to-face in a public setting is ideal.
Never respond to an inquiry where the buyer states that they will send a certified or cashier's check for more than your asking price, and have a moving company pick up the item.
Though communicating via phone or text message is convenient, we recommend that you contact via email instead, providing a record of the communication.
As always, we are here to answer any questions you may have or if you feel you were contacted by one of these actors. You can contact us by clicking here.