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

    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: , , robbery, ,   

    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 9:06 am on May 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , prepaid VISA card, robbery, stun gun   

    Bizarre OfferUp robbery in Oregon 

    Bizarre OfferUp robbery in Oregon

    A man and a girl were violently robbed in Tualatin, Oregon, after responding to an OfferUp ad for two cell phones. The buyers were instructed to bring the money in the form of a $1200 prepaid VISA card. When the card wouldn’t work the buyers and sellers went to a grocery store to try and withdraw money from the card which also didn’t work for some reason. Usually, when it comes to transactions like this through marketplace apps, prepaid VISA cards are used more for over the phone type scams.

    Possibly out of frustration, the sellers allegedly used a stun gun on the man and held the girl at knifepoint robbing them of whatever possessions the buyers had on them. At the time of this post, the suspects have yet to be apprehended. There was obviously some malice of forethought here since the sellers ended up robbing the buyers, but there were some red flags that something was not right with this proposed transaction.

    First off, anytime someone gives some kind of prerequisite on how they want to receive payment in a face to face transaction, there’s probably a scam in play especially when it comes to any type of prepaid VISA or gift card. Secondly, you should never travel to a secondary location on anyone’s insistence. Thieves usually use this tactic to get their victims away from the public eye and have resulted in tragic consequences. Lastly, meeting in a public place just isn’t the safeguard it once was as scammers and thieves have become increasingly bolder in recent years when it comes to their crimes. You should always insist on meeting at a police station as more police departments are encouraging people to use their monitored parking lots and lobbies as meeting places for these kinds of transactions. If the person you’re dealing with doesn’t want to meet their then more than likely they’re up to some kind of scheme where you could lose your money, be hurt, or worse.

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

    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 12:05 pm on December 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , robbery   

    Everything old is new again: Facebook Marketplace used for robberies 

    Everything old is new again: Facebook Marketplace used for robberies

    Back in October, we posted on this blog about how Facebook’s new Marketplace feature was not only rife for abuse, but that the abuses were already taking place. These were some of the same abuses that have plagued craigslist for years.

    Now, industry watchdog The AIM Group, is reporting that Facebook Marketplace is now suffering from an even bigger problem that is also reminiscent of craigslist, robbery. At least two armed robberies have occurred and in one incident a victim was stabbed while being robbed. If history is any indicator, it won’t be too long before the media is calling someone the ‘Facebook Marketplace Killer’. By AIM Group’s own estimate there have been 105 murders related to craigslist as of October, 2016. With as many users as Facebook has, they could potentially dwarf that unfortunate number.

    The problem with Facebook Marketplace is the same that craigslist has always had and that’s the lack of moderation. Facebook is making the same mistake as craigslist by relying on the community to police the ads rather than having in-house moderation. While human curation isn’t the be all and end all to keeping its users safe it can go so much farther than relying on an untrained community. Unfortunately, Facebook has a history of mishandling any kind of human editing staff. With its brand and userbase, Facebook has the potential to be even a bigger criminal hive than craigslist ever was.

     
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