Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lifehacker tells you how to avoid Kijiji scams, one of my favourite web sites, has an article on avoiding scams in the online classifieds.

Here's a short clip from the article:

Your intuition is your best weapon against getting conned in a sale. While it's unlikely it'll happen in the first place, you'll know when you're talking to someone who makes you uncomfortable. While a little discomfort will often rule out some safe buyers/sellers that you just find off-putting, unless you're selling some rare item you should be able to be picky and still find someone you're comfortable selling to or buying from. Ultimately, you just need to be patient.

If you have a prospective buyer/seller in mind, just get to know him or her a little bit. Ask to talk on the phone. If you're interested in the item they're selling, ask a few questions about it. Questions about usage often lead to answers with personal information. You can use this opportunity to ask a couple of questions about the seller to get to know them a little bit. If you're the seller, encourage the buyer to ask questions about the item. Make them feel comfortable, let them know a little bit about you, and try to find out a little bit about them. This can seem a little awkward but you can often find ways to ask a few questions. You're going to be setting a place to meet, so it's not unreasonable to ask (approximately) where they live and/or work. You can use this information to mention something you like in that area or even let them know you've never been there before. You can ask what the area is like, how far it is from your location, and so on. This shouldn't be a long discussion, but devoting about a minute of your conversation to ask a few questions will help you gain some comfort in dealing with the buyer or seller.
Lots of good advice in the follow-up comments, too. Check it out at Lifehacker.

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