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  • Geebo 10:01 am on February 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , LetGo, , , ,   

    Just another day of classifieds crime 

    Just another day of classifieds crime

    One might think that after over 20 years of having online classified ads being so prevalent online that most people would become more aware of the pitfalls that have become inherent when using some of the less reputable sites and apps. Here are some of the stories that have happened just over the past 24 hours.

    While not technically a classified site even though it does have Facebook Marketplace, a tired old scam has targeted Facebook messenger uses. It’s the grant scam which promises users large government grants to do with what they wish. The only catch is that you have to pay a fee, usually of at least several hundred dollars, in order to process the grant. Of course, you’re expected to wire the money to whoever is supposedly managing the grants. To be clear, the government does not use Facebook Messenger to offer grants and they never offer grants unsolicited. Also, you should always be suspicious of any transaction that requires you to wire money as once the money is wired it’s virtually untraceable once it’s gone.

    In Youngstown, Ohio, there has been a rash of robberies through the marketplace app LetGo. In these robberies, the buyers are posing as men in their 30s and 40s but when the seller shows up to the meeting place they’re approached by teens who then rob them. The article we linked to does have some good safety tips but leaves out the most important one. Don’t just meet someone during the day in a well-lit and well-traveled area as even there robberies and worse have been committed. Instead, insist on meeting at a local police station. This one simple step goes a long way in discouraging scammers and thieves from trying to take advantage of you.

    In the Kansas City area, one man was swindled out of close to $400 after buying tickets from a supposed seller off of craigslist. The scammer had official looking documentation that carried the Ticketmaster branding, the only problem with that is the arena where the concert was being held doesn’t use Ticketmaster to distribute their tickets. The tickets never appeared and the would-be buyer was out of $400 before buying more legitimate tickets from a reputable dealer. The victim, in this case, was an IT specialist who admits that he should have known better showing that it’s people of all stripes and backgrounds that can fall for a craigslist scam.

    For our next story, we stay in Ohio, Hilliard to be precise where police have discovered a counterfeiting operation that was using OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace transactions to allegedly try to launder the money. In this instance, the phony bills were not theatrical money as has been the more popular counterfeit scam lately. Instead, these bills were manufactured and ranged in denominations from the humble $1 bill to the much more respectable $100 bill. Again, the article we linked to has several tips to prevent yourself from being ripped off by counterfeiters even claiming that the marker test isn’t always reliable as some fake bills will show as genuine when the special anti-counterfeit marker is used. In this case, the bills should have been easy to detect as they had markings on them in one of the Chinese languages.

    While not every marketplace platform is perfect, there are very few that go the extra mile in trying to protect its users. For example, Geebo reviews every ad in order to try to weed out the ads that are obvious scams and setups. Maybe if our competitors were more concerned about user safety they wouldn’t keep cropping up in the daily headlines for all the wrong reasons.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: LetGo, , , ,   

    Safety still a concern among marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo 

    Safety still a concern among marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo

    Just because we haven’t talked about them in a while doesn’t mean that marketplace apps OfferUp and LetGo have gotten any safer. Just within the last 24 hours, there has been a spate of stories that show safety is not guaranteed when using these relatively new apps.

    On Long Island, police recently arrested two men who were arrested for allegedly using LetGo to either rob or swindle their victims. The pair is believed to have used the app at least five times to rob their victims. This particular pair would have their victims meet them in front of a certain housing development because it was reportedly an easy way for the suspects to escape.

    In Richmond, Virginia, a man was recently arrested for allegedly robbing a man of $1000 at gunpoint. The victim thought he would be buying a car from the suspect that he saw on LetGo. The suspect and the victim met at a public transportation parking lot where the suspect said that the car ‘for sale’ was on its way. Instead, the suspect is said to have robbed the man at gunpoint. Luckily, police were nearby and were able to apprehend the suspect.

    Police in Las Vegas arrested a man that they coined ‘the blue bucket bandit’. They named him that because he would stand on top of a blue bucket in order to allegedly steal home security cameras from local residences. The man was arrested after he was spotted trying to sell the stolen equipment on OfferUp. If you unknowingly buy stolen merchandise you probably won’t be charged with a crime but the items will be returned to their rightful owner. Your only course of restitution is to try to get the money back from the thief at which point there’s a better chance you’ll never see the money again.

    Lastly, our most harrowing story comes from Cleveland, Ohio where a woman went to an OfferUp meet up to buy a TV and took her 1-year-old child with her. The man purporting to sell the TV instead robbed the woman at gunpoint and threatened her child if she did not hand over the money. the victim, in this case, met the alleged perpetrator on a public street.

    What most of these stories have in common is that the victims did not take the necessary precautions when meeting someone from these apps. While these apps may have a slicker design than a site like craigslist, that doesn’t make them any safer. While LetGo and OfferUp have better safety precautions than craigslist unless you’re meeting someone at your local police station, you are playing a dangerous game. As we’ve stated many times before, the old rules of just meeting someone in a public and well-lit place with lots of people around don’t work anymore. People using these apps have been killed in broad daylight over the most trivial of items. Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Geebo goes one step further than most other platforms by trying to better protect our users by moderating each ad for such things as scams, stolen goods, and potential setups. We also provide a link in every ad to the SafeTrade Station program.

    We’d rather make an honest living without risking the safety of our userbase.

     
  • Geebo 9:11 am on September 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Joshua Grey, LetGo, , Richmond, ,   

    Young man shot and killed in LetGo robbery in Virginia 

    Young man shot and killed in LetGo robbery in Virginia

    It’s actually been quite some time since I last posted about someone losing their life while using a classifieds app but unfortunately it has happened again. Last week, 23-year-old Joshua Grey was shot and killed after listing his iPhone for sale on the marketplace app LetGo. Joshua was said to have met his assailant alone at a local intersection in Richmond, Virginia. The killer shot Joshua and then took his iPhone. Joshua was able to get to a nearby convenience store where he tragically died from his injuries.

    Police in Richmond have released surveillance video of Joshua’s alleged killer and are looking for the public’s help in bringing the man to justice. The video can be seen here courtesy of WTVR. Police are asking anybody with any information regarding Joshua’s murder to contact Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or at the Richmond Crime Stoppers website. Anyone contacting Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous.

    Again I have to stress that if you use any classifieds site or app it’s imperative that you meet the other person involved in the transaction at a local police department. Many police stations have set up public meeting zones at their locations to better protect those buying and selling through classifieds. Geebo has partnered with Safe Trade Stations to provide our users with a list of safe places to do business. Just meeting someone in a public place during the day is no longer enough as criminals have become more brazen in their violent methods.

    Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Joshua Grey.

     
  • Geebo 9:09 am on July 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: LetGo, , Oune Somsanith   

    Missouri man killed during LetGo transaction 

    Missouri man killed during LetGo transaction

    We’re saddened to bring you this story today. This past Sunday, 45-year-old Oune Somsanith of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was shot and killed in Kansas City, Kansas. Mr. Somsanith made his living by buying electronics off of online marketplaces, fixing them up, then reselling them. On Sunday, Mr. Somsanith went to meet someone he was going to buy an iPhone from through the classified app LetGo. Unfortunately, he never returned from that meeting.

    According to his family, Mr. Somsanith took many precautions when making these transactions such as meeting sellers at a cell phone store to make sure the device had not been reported stolen. If the seller did not want to join him at the store he would not go through with the transaction. He was said to have made many of these transactions without incident in the past. Sadly, Mr. Somsanith leaves behind a wife and five children. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family.

    As of the time of posting this, no suspect has yet to be captured in Mr. Somsanith’s murder.

    Police continue to investigate his death and ask anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

    Even though Mr. Somsanith had many successful and safe transactions, there is always an inherent risk in meeting a buyer or seller for the first time. While Mr. Somsanith’s method of going to the phone stores is an ingenious way of making sure you’re not buying stolen merchandise, those locations are not secure enough to ensure you’re own safety. Over the last few years, thieves and killers have become more brazen when it comes to assaulting their victims. We always recommend completing transactions at a local police department as many police departments now have areas designated for such transactions.

    Our condolences go out to Mr. Somsanith’s friends and family and we hope that his assailant is brought to justice soon.

     
  • Geebo 9:04 am on April 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LetGo, Long Island, rice,   

    LetGo users scammed into buying boxes of rice 

    LetGo users scammed into buying boxes of rice

    Most of us have heard the tip that when you accidentally drop your phone in water, you should then place it in a bag of rice. But what do you do when your phone is a bag of rice? That’s what happened recently to some users of the mobile marketplace app LetGo when they were trying to purchase iPhones.

    In Suffolk County in New York on Long Island, three people were arrested recently for selling iPhone boxes full of rice to people who thought they were buying the renowned smart phone through LetGo. The scammers allegedly claimed that they were selling brand new iPhones still in the box and factory sealed when in reality the boxes were filled with nothing but rice to simulate the weight of an iPhone and its accessories. When police investigated the residence where the operation was taking place, they reportedly found an industrial sealer, a heat gun, and a roll of clear plastic wrap among the packages of rice.

    If you’re buying something from a classifieds site or app always be skeptical of anything listed as sealed in box. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to reseal a box and there have been many stories over the years where people have been sold sealed boxes that have been filled with bricks, carpet samples, and many other bits of detritus. This is yet another reason to use safe exchange zones such as police stations to make your transactions. Not only do these zones go a long way in helping to protect your safety, but they also go a long way in preventing you from getting ripped off.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: LetGo, merger, ,   

    What the Letgo/OfferUp merger story could really mean 

    What the Letgo/OfferUp merger story could really mean

    The online classifieds industry has been abuzz lately with the story of a potential merger between classifieds apps LetGo and OfferUp as reported by Recode. While the talks never went past the approaching stage, Recode seems to think that a merger of the two or an acquisition of OfferUp by LetGo could be inevitable. However, if a merger were to take place, would the emerging business be a successful one?

    According to Recode, the financial situations of either company doesn’t appear to be too rosy. OfferUp has had trouble raising a new round of Funding while LetGo is still focused on building a userbase. If both companies were to merge at present, it seems like it would not benefit either company, leaving the merged company with razor-thin profit shares if any.

    The problem with companies like this are the same ones that many tech start-ups have. Instead of trying to succeed with their own vision, many tech start-ups are simply looking to be bought out by a much larger and successful brand. Since LetGo and OfferUp have had no offers by their bigger competitors they may be looking to consolidate in order to simply keep their heads above water.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LetGo, , , ,   

    Particularly violent month for classifieds 

    Particularly violent month for classifieds

    The month of October was pretty brutal month for the users of classifieds websites and apps. A few of the stories that stood out were the murder of a former policeman and the shooting of a newlywed couple. All the victims believed they were meeting someone to buy or sell something through online classifieds, but instead lost either life or limb.

    It started with a robbery turned murder in Mesa, Arizona, when a man was shot and killed by someone posing as a person who was selling a high-end laptop on OfferUp. That was followed up by the murder of a former Tennessee policeman who thought he was meeting someone to buy his car from craigslist. Bizarrely, an armed robbery set up through LetGo took place at the same site where the officer was killed. Then the month ended up with a newlywed couple from Virgina, being shot and maimed during an OfferUp meeting.

    A number of these transactions took place in broad daylight in public places;. That doesn’t matter anymore as criminals have adapted to the old suggested safety precautions that used to go towards keeping people safe. The best way to keep yourself safe is to insist on making the transaction at a local police station. Many police stations now welcome these transactions so they can be completed in a safe environment.

     
  • Geebo 8:56 am on June 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LetGo,   

    Why haven’t the classifieds murders of two young men caused any concern? 

    Why haven't the murders of two young men rattled the classifieds industry?

    Within the past week two young men who were both full of promise lost their lives after trying to complete transactions through online classifieds. In the first case, 19-year-old Brian Brown was shot and killed in North Miami Beach while trying to sell a Playstation through craigslist. He was getting ready to leave for college in Northern California where he had earned a football scholarship. According to the Craigslist Killings – Craigslist Safety blog, Brown was the 115th person to be killed through some type of craigslist transaction gone wrong.

    In the second case, 21-year-old Zack Finch was shot and killed in Charlotte, North Carolina after trying to buy a cell phone through the classifieds app LetGo. Finch was a star for his university’s baseball team. By this blog’s estimation, Finch is the third person to have been killed while using the LetGo app.

    Both of these men had such promise and unfortunately their lives have been cut short due to greedy and heartless killers who just wanted to make a quick buck regardless the cost of lives. In both cases no arrests have yet to have been made. The bigger question is, why haven’t these two murders, that happened within days of each other to two similar men, not been a cause for concern? People carry on using craigslist and LetGo like nothing has happened and continue to disregard the basic tenets of safety. Both murders occurred in broad daylight in public spaces and as we’ve said in the past, these old rules don’t apply anymore as criminals have become bolder in their crimes in the past few years. Virtually all the big names in the industry have had violent crimes attached to their brand including Backpage, LetGo, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace and of course, craigslist.

    Geebo is very serious about the safety of our users. When you meet someone to either buy or sell an item we highly recommend completing the transaction at a police station during the day. Many police stations now have areas set up just for these transactions. Even then we still recommend taking a friend and letting people know where you’re going and why. While these measures may seem extreme, it’s worth it in the end to see not only our users, but the users of all sites and apps, to come home safely.

     
  • Geebo 9:05 am on May 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LetGo,   

    AIM Group confirms our suspicions about OfferUp and LetGo 

    AIM Group confirms our suspicions about OfferUp and LetGo

    In a recent blog post, classifieds industry watchdog organization the AIM Group, appears to have confirmed some of our suspicions about classifieds apps OfferUp and LetGo. In our blog post about the Forbes article that called us ‘for naught’, we questioned the financial and userbase stats put out by the two apps. While we postulated the use of clickfarms may be involved, AIM Group founder Peter M. Zollman seems to believe the claims of success put out by both apps are fabricated.

    Regarding the claims of monetary success from both apps, Mr. Zollman had this to say…

    OfferUp “says it will handily surpass $20 billion in goods sold this year, with about half coming from car sales.” (To which we reply: “Oh really? And how do you value transactions when they never take place on the site, when listings are reposted over and over, when your users don’t have any transaction capabilities, and when user visits are no indicator of who’s actually buying or selling?” We don’t take estimates of sales on OfferUp, LetGo and similar sites with a grain of salt; we take them as unmitigated baloney, to use the polite term.)

    Mr. Zollman also calls LetGo’s claims that they will facilitate $23.4B in transactions baloney.

    With all due respect, the allegedly fictitious claims made by both apps seem to exhibit a desperate attempt to not only please current investors, but also to try to attract new investors in the ever-increasing shell game that is startup funding.

     
  • Geebo 8:57 am on May 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Forbes, , LetGo,   

    Geebo is not for naught, despite what Forbes may say 

    Geebo is not for naught, despite what Forbes may say

    Recently, Forbes.com published a blog post about startup classifieds apps LetGo and OfferUp and how one of them may be the latest craigslist killer. By that we mean a proverbial David taking on the Goliath of craigslist, and not one of the 100+ murderers that have used craigslist to find their victims. We’ll get to those startups in a moment, but first a comment in the article made about Geebo needs to be addressed.

    Halfway down the page Geebo is dismissed by the Forbes blogger in the following manner…

    Every few years, someone in Silicon Valley looks at Craigslist and thinks he or she can do better. In the late 1990s, the startled newspaper companies tried collaborating with each other on various projects, and in 2000, Geebo launched as the “safe” Craigslist. In 2004, there was Oodle, a well-financed website that later tried to incorporate Facebook identities. All these efforts basically came to naught.

    The Forbes blogger seems to have not done his research as very little what he wrote about Geebo is correct. Geebo was founded in 1999, however, it was not launched as the “safe” alternative to craigslist as he put it. Geebo CEO Greg Collier founded Geebo to provide a better user experience than what was being put out by hard-copy newspapers. Not only that, but at the time of Geebo’s founding Mr. Collier had not even heard of craigslist as it had not yet become the brand that we know today. Mr. Collier even said that he didn’t want Geebo to be anything like craigslist. He also wanted Geebo to have its own users rather than trying to take users away from craigslist. Since that time Geebo has in fact marketed itself as a safer community classifieds. That’s a claim that Geebo takes very seriously considering the number of murders and other crimes that have been committed through the so-called industry leaders craigslist and Backpage. Even relative newcomer LetGo has had a couple of murders committed through its app.

    The rest of the Forbes blog post seems to be nothing more than a love letter to OfferUp. While OfferUp may not be headquartered in Silicon Valley, it still follows the same old Silicon Valley routine. They went to venture capitalists looking for seed money in order to get their startup off the ground. And let’s face it, apps like LetGo and OfferUp are usually founded for one primary reason and that’s to be bought out by a larger company. Geebo has always been a self funded company and has maintained profitability in an industry where many startups don’t even have a monetization plan. In fact Geebo generates more net profit than craigslist per 1 million users.

    Speaking of users, the Forbes post states that LetGo has a userbase of 7.3 million while OfferUp users come in around 6.3 million. Legitimate user numbers can be tricky in determining since a number of companies use click farms overseas to inflate their numbers. These click farms can also be used to scrape content from other sites.

    This isn’t even taking into consideration that Forbes.com isn’t the financial journal of record that it once was. A few years ago they opened up their website to just about anyone who cared to write for them. They have basically become a content farm for the financial sector.

    In conclusion, Geebo has been a successful business in an industry that has seen many proverbial bodies left in its wake. We were here before the startups and we’ll be here after they’re gone. All while maintaining a reputation of being an ethical and safer classifieds.

     
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