Safety is very important to us, as it should be for you, as well. It is easy to stay safe when you pay attention to the warning signs. Most local classifieds are posted by honest people, yet as online scammers are becoming more creative with their tactics and widespread, consumers need to be aware of how to protect themselves and their families and remember that classifieds transactions should always be done locally.
Personal Safety Tips
A TIP FOR EVERYONE: MEET IN PERSON AND IN PUBLIC
List a cell phone # instead of your home phone # when posting your ad, and use an e-mail address that does not personally identify you, such as; Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo, rather than a home or work e-mail.
When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
-Insist on a public meeting place, such as a café or restaurant and if possible during daylight when other people are around.
-Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.
-Consider having a friend accompany you.
-Tell a friend or family member where you are going.
-Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items.
-Take your cell phone with you if you have one.
-Trust your instincts.
Taking these simple precautions will help make Cosmo Classifieds safer for everyone.
For more information about personal safety online, check out these resources:
Avoiding Scams & Fraud
-DEAL LOCALLY WITH PEOPLE YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on Cosmo Classifieds.
-NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so, is a scammer.
-FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
-COSMO CLASSIFIEDS IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTIONS, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”.
-NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account numbers, social security numbers, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
-AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES, unless you know the person or affiliate that you are dealing with and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.
-DO NOT RENT HOUSING WITHOUT SEEING THE INTERIOR, in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent.
-DO NOT PURCHASE EXPENSIVE ITEMS SIGHT-UNSEEN, such as electronics or phones from sellers who don’t have websites and want to do business through e-mail or chat. You have no guarantee they will send you the item. Only buy items like this in person or on a reputable retail website.
-DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT CHECKS OR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR A JOB OR FOR HOUSING until you have met the interviewer or landlord/agent in person.
Most scams involve one or more of the following:
-If a deal sounds too good to be true, it is, and if a person refuses to let you see the item in person, DO NOT TRUST THEM.
-Western Union, Money Gram, money order, cashier’s check, escrow service, shipping, or a “guarantee”
-Someone inquiring from far away, often from another country, offering to pay more than you are asking…WE SUGGEST YOU DON’T REPLY TO THEM
In addition, scammers may:
-not seem to be cooperative with meeting in person and have excuses as to why they cannot meet.
-have a sense of urgency, making you feel pressured to complete the transaction.
-never seem to answer the phone, or don’t return your calls.
-have a listing that has poor spelling and/or grammar, or the message is poor.
-not send you the additional pictures you have asked for.
-not answer your questions you have about the particular item.
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
If you suspect that a Cosmo Classifieds post may be part of a scam, please send us the details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Internet Fraud Complaint Center
-FTC Video: How to report scams to the FTC
-FTC online complaint form
-FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
-Consumer Sentinel/Military (for reports from services members or their families)
-SIIA Software and Content Piracy reporting
Resources for Illinois residents
-Illinois Attorney General Consumer Complaints
-Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or 888-495-8501 (toll free)