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Personal Safety Tips


The overwhelming majority of IbnMall users are trustworthy and well-intentioned.

With billions of human interactions facilitated through IbnMall, the incidence of violent crime has been extremely low.

Nevertheless, it's very important to take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline.

When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
 

  • Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe
  • Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home
  • Be especially careful when 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


Taking these simple precautions helps make IbnMall safer for everyone. For more information about personal safety online, check out these resources:
http://getsafeonline.org
http://wiredsafety.org

Scam & Fraud

You can sidestep would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules:
 

  • DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on IbnMall.
  • NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
  • FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
  • IBNMall IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
  • NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
  • AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION.
  • DO NOT RENT HOUSING WITHOUT SEEING THE INTERIOR, OR PURCHASE EXPENSIVE ITEMS SIGHT-UNSEEN - in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.
  • DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT CHECKS OR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR A JOB OR FOR HOUSING UNTIL YOU HAVE MET THE INTERVIEWER OR LANDLORD/AGENT IN PERSON.



 


Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department. If you suspect that a IbnMall post may be part of a scam, please send us the details

 


Recognizing scams

Most scams involve one or more of the following:

  • inquiry from someone far away, often in another country
  • Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee"
  • inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consummating transaction



 


Examples of Scams

1. Someone claims that IbnMall will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that IbnMall will handle or provide protection for the payment.

  • These claims are fraudulent, as IbnMall does not have any role in any transaction.
  • Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from IbnMall, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services -all such emails are fakes!

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

  • You receive an email (examples below) offering to buy your item, or rent your apartment, sight unseen.
  • 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 - scammer offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
  • Banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases!
  • Scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)

3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:

  • Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, and other high value items
  • Often claim that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired money, it is GONE.
  • Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere
  • Apartment listing may be local, but landlord/owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money to them abroad
  • Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, rent is below market, etc

4. Distant person offers to send you a 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, 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 he 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

  • foreign company may claim it is unable to receive payments from its customers directly
  • 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




 
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