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Avoiding Scams When Paying Offline
How to avoid scams, when paying offline?

Deal locally, face-to-face and follow the rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.

• Do not send payment to anyone you have not met in person.

• Beware offers involving shipping. Deal with people you can meet in person.

• Never wire funds to anyone who asks you. They are scammers.

• Don't accept cashier/certified checks or money orders. When you go to the banks and cash fakes, then hold you responsible.

• Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a "guarantee".

• Never give out financial info (bank account, credit card, i.d, PayPal account, etc)

• Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen because that amazing "deal" may not exist.

• Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.

If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.

If you suspect that a filao.mu post may be connected to a scam, please send us the details.

How to recognize scams?

Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following:

Getting email or text from someone that is not local to your area.

Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about "the item" you listed. Poor grammar/spelling.

Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, pay pal, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."

Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction.

Examples of Scams

1. Someone claims your transaction is guaranteed, that a buyer/seller is officially certified, OR that a third party of any kind will handle or provide protection for a payment:

These claims are fraudulent, as transactions are between users only.

The scammer will send an official looking (but fake) email that appears to come from filao.mu or another third party, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, or pretending to handle payments.

2. Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check:

You receive an email or text offering to buy your item, pay for your services in advance, or rent your apartment, sight unseen and without meeting you in person.

A 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. Scammers offer to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service.

Banks will cash the fake checks and then hold you responsible when the checks fail to clear, sometimes including criminal prosecution.

Scams often pretend to involve a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate, etc.).

3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union Moneygram:

Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, or rent is below market, etc.

Scam "bait" items include cell phones,laptops,TVs, apartments other high value items.

Scammer may (falsely) claim a confirmation code from you is needed before he can withdraw your money.

Rental may be local, but owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money abroad.

Scammer may pretend to be unable to speak by phone (scammers prefer to operate by text/email).

4. Distant person offers to send you a cashier's check or 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 and 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 they 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:

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.