12 Scams of Christmas: Online classifieds
This week our holiday shopping is kicking into high gear and so are cybercriminals, who are getting ready to take advantage of your increased good cheer to spread scams.
Now, we're starting a new On Your Side series, the 12 Scams of Christmas. News 13's Jon Chrisos is counting them down.
Online classified web sites may be a great place to look for holiday gifts, but you'll want to watch out for phony offers that ask for too much personal information or ask you to wire money. So that's why "phony classifieds" leads our list of the 12 Scams of Christmas.
An ad on craigslist for a pocket watch could be legit, but it's full of red flags. The poster says quote: “Trust I am honest” and asks for potential buyers to wire money.
McAfee online security expert, Robert Siciliano, put together a long list of holiday scams - he agrees -- phony classifieds are one of the worst. He says when buying an item from an online classified, pay in cash and don't pay a cent until you have the item.
If you're trying to raise some Christmas cash by selling something online, watch out, you can get taken that way too. You also need to be careful attention to the people who respond to those ads - amazing amount of response you get from scammers. That's what happened to Harry Riddle. He put an ad on Craigslist and got an e-mail from someone interested in buying his boat. The buyer said Riddle needed to go through Pay Pal and if you don't have a Pay Pal account, you need to open a Pay Pal account. That's when the scam began. Riddle started getting correspondence from him, on Pay Pal paper. So, he figured it was pretty well legitimate. He got a confirmation e-mail with the Pay Pal logo showing his account had $5,500 dollars deposited from the buyer. Then the buyer asked him to wire money for shipping and insurance fees, which he did. But the confirmation emails were fakes and riddle, the seller, was out $3,100.
Anybody that’s doing any kind of dealings like that needs to really be on the lookout. The bottom line here, if you're selling something you never should have to pay. Pay Pal says it’s trying to protect customers from scammers. There's this section on the website called, Learn if it's legitimate. You can forward an e-mail to them and they'll tell you if it's real or a scam.
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