Fraud and Scams
You can sidestep would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules:
- DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on LiveSimon.
- 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.
- LIVESIMIN IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does 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, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
- AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION.
- DO NOT RENT HOUSING WITHOUT SEEING THE INTERIOR, OR PURCHASE EXPENSIVE ITEMS SIGHT-UNSEEN - in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.
- 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.
Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
- 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 Ohio residents
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
If you suspect that a LiveSimon post may be part of a scam, please Contact us with the details.
Most scams involve one or more of the following:
- inquiry from someone far away, often in another country
- Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee"
- inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consummating transaction
Examples of Scams
1. Someone claims that LiveSimon will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that LiveSimon will handle or provide protection for a payment.
- These claims are fraudulent, as LiveSimon does not have any role in any transaction.
- Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from LiveSimon, 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
- 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 your services.
- 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, TVs, cell phones, tickets, and other high value items
- 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, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere
- 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
- 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 upfront, 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 LiveSimon users:
Thanks,i am a U.S. Navy as a nuclear reactor operator on board the USS
Donald Cook out of Norfolk VA (DDG-75). i am at sea right now so l
wont be able to check the item so whats the present condition, because
am buying this for my son as a surprise gift so am willing to offer
you the amount you required. I can only pay through PayPal at the
moment as i don't have access to my bank account online(i don't have
internet banking with it), but i have it attached to my PayPal
account, and this is why i insisted on using PayPal to pay, all i will
need is your PayPal email address to pay for it,Present condition and
some pictures of it.But if you don't have a PayPal account yet, you
can set one up at www.paypal.com it cant take you less than 3mins to
do that, i will be expecting your PayPal email so l can pay. I have a
pick up agent that will come for the pick up after payment has been
sorted. l will be waiting for your reply asap
Sweet, that sounds good. My fiancé James is the one who will be buying it for me. We worked it out so that he’s buying the car, if I pay for the cost of the policy. I can definitely afford it, but he still wants me to give him a basic estimate of the cost before he goes ahead and buys it.
I’m at the office, and they allow internet usage to corporate websites only. Can you do a big favor for me, and go to Auto Quotes and run a basic quote for me, so I have something to show him? We're local, with no tickets or accidents. If you could just let me know what the monthly rate is and we’ll come by after work today, if that’s OK with you.
Thanks and look forward to meeting up!