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Scams

We hate scammers, and actively try to thwart there efforts to scam our users. That said it is impossible to monitor there activities. So we ask you to be vigilant, follow the guidance below and bring to our attention any issues.

You can avoid potential scammers by following these common-sense rules:

  • DEAL LOCALLY WITH PEOPLE YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on Free Ads.
  • NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
  • FAKE CASHIER CHEQUES/CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
  • WE ARE NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and do not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
  • NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, passport copies,eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
  • AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION.
  • IF THE OFFER SEEMS TOO GOOD TO MISS - It will be a scam!
  • IF THE WHOLE PROCESS SEEMS COMPLICATED - It will be a scam!

 

Examples of Scams

1. Someone claims that Free Ads will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that Free Ads will handle or provide protection for a payment.

  • These claims are fraudulent, as Free Ads does not have any role in any transaction.
  • Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from our site, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services -- all such emails are fakes!

2. distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check/cheque

  • you receive an email (examples below) offering to buy your item, or rent your apartment, sight unseen.
  • cashier's check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for an apartment, or for just about anything else of value.
  • value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - scammer offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
  • banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases!
  • scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)

3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:

  • Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, plasma TVs, cell phones, tickets - but could be almost anything
  • Often claim that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired money, it is GONE.
  • Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, USA, UK, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere. The scammers do tend to operate cross border - meaning a scammer based in the UK will contact someone in the USA, and a scammer in the USA will contact someone in Europe. They know the police will not be bothered to try collecting small amounts.
  • Apartment listing may be local, but landlord/owner is "traveling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money to them abroad
  • Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, rent is below market, etc

4. distant person offers to send you a money order and then have you wire money:

  • this is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience - the cashier's check is FAKE
  • sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not
  • scammer often asks for your name, address, etc for printing on the fake check/cheque
  • deal often seems too good to be true

5. distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service.

  • most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT, operated by scammers
  • for more info, do a google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud"

6. distant seller asks for a partial payment up front, after which he will ship goods

  • he says he trusts you with the partial payment
  • he may say he has already shipped the goods
  • deal often sounds too good to be true

7. foreign company offers you a job receiving payments from customers, then wiring funds

  • foreign company may claim it is unable to receive payments from its customers directly
  • you are typically offered a percentage of payments received
  • this kind of "position" may be posted as a job, or offered to you via email

Actual scam emails sent to sellers

Hello ,
Thanks for your mail back concerning the inquiry mail i sent to you.
The price,condition also the pics i viewed is okay by me .And my client
confirm there is no problem about the price($975 ) ,my client do pays with
a {USA}cashier check,he has agreed to mail out as bank cashiers check of
$3500. to you on my behalf to cover the shippment fees.About the shippment,
that we be taken care by my me & my personal assistant,my personal assistant
will be using his shipper to do the quick processing of the shipping of
the(1987 Toyota Celica) to my client.
So all you are to do after you will received the check in your mail,
Just take out your sale amount and refer the remaining money to my shipper
immediately through the westernunion or the money gramm outlet so to get the
money fast and start the fast arrangement for the pickup of the
(1987 Toyota Celica).Since you are the original owner of this item,and i
am buying the item directly from you i will like you to write your full name
to be on the check,with the mailing address which my client will be using
to issued out the check to you.I do wish to trust you by refering the rest
balance back to my shipper and also your fast doing to this transaction.
I will like to hear fromyou if this is okay by you and you are ready to
process ,if you aready to sale your item and promise refering the rest
balance to my shipper immediately you received the check so can start the
quick arrangement for the pickup. Any body that want to buy this item
this item just tell therm that it as been sold. I will like to copmplete
this transaction befor the new year. I be at my computer waiting to see
your epky to my payment method mailed.
THANKS AND MAIL ME BACK WITH YOUR DETAIL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

>   Thanks for getting back to me,i will be
>purchasing the motorbike Like i said earlier i am based in the
>netherlands(holland).there won't be any probs about the shipment,after
>payment ,the pick up will be made at your place. i have made arrangements
>with the prepaid shipping company. As regards payment,this is what i am
>going to do;I have a client in ENGLAND who is owing me 5800POUNDS i would
>instruct him to make out a money order/certifiedcheck to you in that
>amount and as soon as it clears your bank. you can now deduct your money
>from it and send me my balance,i will using use part of the money to pay
>for the shipping and other expenses .you will then send my balance by via
>western union money transfer.Although the value of the check is more than
>the asking price but i think i should be able to trust you with my
>balance. The reason why i am doing this is that it would take a check
>sent from over here in HOLLAND 21days to clearover there,whereas a check
>sent from the US would clear tops within 48hrs. So i would like you to
>deduct the western union charges from my balance.So if my terms are
>acceptableto you,i would like you to give me your fullname,address and
>phone number so that i can instruct my client to make out the check to
>you. Pls get back to me as soon as you get this mail so that we can
>round things up in a timely fashion..i willbe trusting in this business
>transaction.

> Good day
> i am an auto dealer based in TAIWAN,i am interested in buying your
> ( 1989 Jetta GL 4 door )I will like to know if you would accept
> acertified cashier check for the payment of the,i also need to
> know the price and your full name and address including your
> phone is also needed in which payment will be sent to . i have a
> shipping company who takes cares of my shippment .So don't bother
> about the shippment.I will also like to know if is still in good
> condition and
> shape.urgent response is needed for procedure of payment of the (
> 1989 Jetta GL 4 door )
> REGARD

> Thanks for your mail,Since the cost of your bike is $800 i just contacted
my client about the cost of your bike and it present condition and he said
there is no problem about that.So my client said he will be issuing you a
Certified Check of $4000 while you wire 3000 to me through Western Union
Money Trasfer and you deduct the cost of your bike $800 and keep the
remaining $200 which my client said you should take for the terms of
Transaction and Agreement between you and my client.So i will like you to
send me your full contact information to where my client will be sending you
> the Certified Check like this:
> name.........
> full address.............
> city...............
> state.............
> country..........
> zipcode............
> cell/office/home phone number.......................
> I will look forward to the requested information as soon as possible so
that the check can be sent out to you immediately And do get back to me
with the Pics of the bike so tha! t my client will be Able to see What he
is paying off.Get back to me immediately. Looking torwards your
> respond,
> Best Regards.

Good day
i am an auto dealer based in TAIWAN,i am interested in buying your
( Comic book collection - 500 comics )I will like to know if you
would accept acertified cashier check for the payment of the,i also
need to knowthe price and your full name and address including your phone
is alsoneeded in which payment will be sent to . i have a shipping
company who takes cares of my shippment .So don't bother about the
shippment.I will also like to know if is still in good condition
and shape.urgent response is needed for procedure of payment of the (
Comic book collection - 500 comics )
REGARD

 

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