Please take a few minutes to read this page. It may save you from getting scammed.
BST TIPS for Both Parties:
- VERIFY FEEDBACK! When dealing with new members, ask for references and make sure you VERIFY their identity and feedback wherever their feedback originated from – NOT by e-mail or by Instant Messaging. DO NOT send money or the package out until the person verifies the authenticity of the feedback. Be cautious when they provide you with Heatware, it's harder to verify.
- Stay away from TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE deals. Ask yourself this: If I get scammed by this member, will it hurt if I lose this much money? Or will I be better off paying a little extra but get it locally and in person???
- REFRAIN from shipping deals altogether whenever possible. The Fraud Forum will show you how many shipping deals have gone bad. If you really must, make sure to take down the trader's contact information. Google the name, IM/e-mail address or phone number you were provided, in case it's associated with other scams on the Internet.
- BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS when dealing with members with a low post count or zero feedback. We understand everyone has to start somewhere, but we have to be careful just the same.
- Beware of feedback that was left by another one or more new member(s). We've had scammers create multiple new accounts and leave positive feedbacks for one's self in order to gain trust from other members.
- DO NOT contact banned members by e-mail or by IM to continue a BST deal unless you're trying to follow-up on a payment or a shipment you've already made.
- If you are contacted by e-mail or by Instant Messaging, be sure to verify that the sender IS the member at Howard Forums. Send the HoFo member a PM to confirm that he/she has sent you that e-mail or IM. Don't buy into excuses like "My PM box doesn't work" or "I get e-mails much faster" or "I hardly come here to check my PM box". For verification purposes, the member should make time for it.
- Beware of misleading names: We also have had cases where scammers created usernames nearly identical to a reputable seller here and then used the legit member's feedback thread as theirs. As an example, a zero is substituted for the upper case "O". For illustration purposes, it may be created as M0DERATOR HF 14 instead of the proper MODERATOR HF 14.
- AVOID INTERNATIONAL DEALS. There is a growing list of countries who actively lure trusting traders into fraudulent transactions.
- Avoid meeting in isolated places; opt for high-traffic public places instead. There have been a few cases where the member was held up when meeting at a dark and isolated location. Taking a friend during a meet helps.
- ALWAYS pay with a Credit Card when using PayPal so that in the event you get scammed, you can request a charge back from them.
- NEVER send Western Union payments when buying stuff online. Money Orders and EMT payments DO NOT offer the buyer any protection, so use it wisely.
- C.O.D can only be as reliable as a person's reputation. Remember, once you pay and sign for the package, the contents (or lack thereof) is yours to keep.
- A VERIFIED PayPal address helps. Keep in mind though that some countries are not able to confirm their PayPal address.
- When selling/trading phones, keep a copy of your IMEI or ESN. If the buyer claims to not have received it, you can report it as lost with the major carriers and will render it useless. It's also possible the buyer can claim it doesn't work and switch it with a defective unit he owns when he ships it back. Actually, this applies to anything with serial numbers.
- COUNTERFEIT MONEY Always take the time to inspect every bill received, before the buyer leaves. Here are some sites that may help you detect counterfeit bills:
Bank of Canada's Guide to CANADIAN Currency Security Features
Authentic vs. Counterfeit AMERICAN Currency
Click here for the partial LIST OF SCAMMERS
It would be a good idea for you to visit the FRAUD FORUM for news or updates on scams happening here and around the Internet.
If you suspect you've been scammed or have spotted a possible scam, please create a thread in the PRIVATE RESOLUTION FORUM as early as possible and provide all details leading up to the scam.
In addition to the above, if you suspect a member is a scammer, kindly send a PM to the following moderators (just copy all the names and semi-colons in red and paste into the Recipient Username(s) box): Moderator HF 14; Moderator HF 15; Moderator HF 16; Moderator HF 30 — but please, send the PM for possible scams only, not for dispute resolutions. Use the PR Forum link if you were defrauded by someone.
Here's the bottom line...Scammers will only succeed in ripping you off IF YOU LET THEM.
Thanks for taking the time to read all this. The rest is up to you.