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Don’t Get Scammed: Three Warning Signs From a Pro

He knows what he's talking about.

Image source: Craigslist

Planning on buying or selling anything online in the near future? There are some warning signs to watch out for to make sure you don't become the victim of a scam.

Larry Mitchell, a professional collector in Kentucky, offered a few red flags to WCPO-TV:

1. The buyer is too busy to come and see the item you're selling.

2. The seller doesn't let you see the item you want to buy in person.

3. The buyer sends you a check to cash for payment.

Image source: Craigslist Image source: Craigslist

Mitchell, who buys and sells both online and at yard sales and flea markets, pointed out that it's much harder to spot a scam on the Internet since you can't physically see the item you're looking at buying — or the person selling it.

He said he's encountered a scam or two of his own, and gave one example to help online users better understand the risks.

"Let's say I'm selling a refrigerator for $400," Mitchell told WCPO-TV. "Someone will contact me by text or email and will ask me if it's for sale."

Mitchell showed an email from a potential "buyer" who claimed she couldn't come over to look at the refrigerator because she just had a baby.

"So she says keep the $400 for the refrigerator and send [an] additional $1,100 to the shipper," Mitchell explained.

There's just one problem: there's no shipper.

Mitchell said scammers have also been known to send fake emails that resemble the ones you might be used to receiving from online payment services or auction sites like PayPal or eBay, luring you to hand over your credit or debit card information.

So how can you know if something is legitimate? Craigslist offers a few things to be aware of on its site. PayPal and eBay offer similar information here and here.

(H/T: WCPO-TV)

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Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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