Below are just a few suggestions and precautions for those buying and selling on this site (and any other online website for that matter). There are risks which you assume when doing business with someone over the internet but there are some steps you can take to minimize your chances of getting ripped off:
- Whenever taking part in any kind of business transaction always USE COMMON SENSE. This should be pretty obvious but a lot of people seem to forget it when they see something they just have to have. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is and if you have a feeling that something just isn't legitimate, you're probably right. You should always meet face to face to finalize a deal.
- Whenever possible use a payment method such as a certified escrow service, a credit card or paypal with buyer/seller protection enabled rather than a check or money order. If the transaction does go sour, you'll have a better chance of recovering your losses.
- Ask for references from other people who you know that have already done business with anyone you are thinking of buying from or selling to. This can help you get a general idea of the character of the person before you commit to any deal with them. Also, make sure you check through the Feedback forum to see if there have been any posts made about the person.
- Be extra cautious of anyone that has joined the forum recently and has a very low post count, especially someone that contacts you by PM and has never made a single post. If they haven't made any quality posts, they aren't going to have a reputation (good or bad) on the site and you'll have a much harder time knowing what type of person you're getting involved with.
- You should always check people out as thoroughly as possible before doing business with them. Make sure you get an e-mail address, a home phone number, a work phone number, a cell phone number, a home address, and whatever other contact information you can think of. Verify the information they've given you.
- You can check out phone numbers and addresses on sites like people.yahoo.com and anywho.com. If you want to verify the general area of a phone number that isn't listed check out fonefinder.net.
- If you think the address given to you might be a mail drop (which are commonly used by scam artists) you can check that out as well here: www.finaid.com/scholarships/maildropsearch.phtml
- Many counties throughout the United States also list property records online. You can easily find out the owner of the address given to you at www.skipease.com/property.html. If there is no online database, you can call the tax assessor for the county to find out who owns the property. It's all public information.
- A number of online searches to find out more information on individuals is available at black book online.
- Always make sure the info they give you checks out before you proceed with a transaction.