I want to buy [something] from [a person] over the Internet. How can I avoid getting conned?


From a January 19, 1999 post by Ken Okazak:

"Here's some things you can do to prevent doing business from a scam artist, crook, jerk, con, (uh, I think those are all the words I've seen used on the Trader recently):

1. Do a google or dsm forum search on the person's name . Is he/she an active Club DSM member? What kind of posts does they make? Who has he been associated with? Maybe others have posted about him/her? This alone has given me confidence to buy the first thing I ever bought on the Trader: An exhaust from Al Blaha. Being new, I had NO IDEA who he was. Read some posts from him and saw that other's wrote about him, so I knew he was REAL, people know him, he is an active member of the Club and that his car is fast. :-)

2. Scrutinize heavily people that have free email accounts from companies like Juno, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc... (and even aol to some extent). Why? Because anyone can get an email account and lie when registering for it. Lot's of honest people use these accounts too, so don't get me wrong. But if the email address is from a Corporation, it is likely to be legit...so at least you know the guy has a JOB.

3. Use these free e-mail accounts to your advantage. Register yourself under some assumed name and then pose as another buyer as you are closing a deal. Email him from your other account and ask if the part is still for sale. If the guy says "Yep, it's still available", then you have every reason to believe the guy is a crook.

4. Look the guy up in the Phone book. See if you can find him listed in the Yellow pages. Seeing his name/address there should give you enough confidence that the guy actually exists. Just another piece of evidence...Sometimes you can even find information on them by doing a web search.

5. Ask for references. No explanation needed here.

6. Finally, use iEscrow or one of the many other escrow services that let you perform transactions risk free. They only charge 5% of the purchase price, so if you are still unsure then isn't this worth it?

I have performed most of these checks on everyone who I've ever bought parts from. And you know what? I've never been burned."

QA #425

Last Updated:
2016-06-05 09:09


Cam Dorland | 95 Eagle Talon
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