Safety & Avoiding Scams

Personal Safety:
When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
– Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe, bank, or shopping center.
– Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.
– Be especially careful buying/selling high value items.
– Tell a friend or family member where you’re going.
– Take your cell phone along if you have one.
– Consider having a friend accompany you.
– Trust your instincts.

Avoiding Scams:
– Deal locally, face-to-face – follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
– Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person.
– Beware offers involving shipping – deal with locals you can meet in person.
– Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union, Paytm, NEFT, IMPS, RTGS) – anyone who asks you to is a scammer.
– Don’t accept cashier/certified checks or money orders – banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible.
– Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a “guarantee”.
– Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, paypal account, etc).
– Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing “deal” may not exist.
– Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.
– Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following:
Email or text from someone that is not local to your area.
Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about “the item.” Poor grammar/spelling.
Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, paypal, shipping, escrow service, or a “guarantee.”
Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction.

For more information about personal safety online, check out these resources:

If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department. If you suspect that a PublicBuySell post may be connected to a scam, please send us the details via Contact Us.