Updated on Oct/12/2021
We are committed to creating a user-friendly environment, where our users can post and reply to ads and other messages freely and without concern. What follows are a number of tips and techniques you should keep in mind to protect yourself and your privacy online, whether you are using our site or some other site on the Internet. (Some of these suggestions "repeat"
because they apply in multiple situations.) This list is not exhaustive and you should not use it as a substitute for your own common sense. As always, the best protection is to use good judgment and trust your instincts.
RESPONDING TO AN AD Do not wire money, or send a check, for an apartment you have not seen to a person you have never met.
Do not give out personal information about yourself, such as your social security number,
without verifying that a job posting is legitimate. Meet people in a public place.
PLACING AN AD
Online advertising allows us to quickly and effectively reach as many people as possible that are interested in what we are selling or offering. It is important to remember that you may not know the people responding to your ad, so be careful.
SCAMS AND FRAUD No matter where we are or what we are doing, a handful of people can make it difficult for everyone. This is true in the online advertising area as well. Use the same common sense you would use in the real world when reading an ad. If it is too good to be true, it is a scam. Please read about these common scam types to educate yourself.
Over the past 15 years, "trafficking in persons" and "human trafficking" have been used as umbrella terms for activities involved when someone obtains or holds a person in compelled service.
The United States government considers trafficking in persons to include all of the criminal conduct involved in forced labor and sex trafficking, essentially the conduct involved in reducing or holding someone in compelled service. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act as amended (TVPA) and consistent with the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol),
individuals may be trafficking victims regardless of whether they once consented, participated in a crime as a direct result of being trafficked, were transported into the exploitative situation, or were simply born into a state of servitude. Despite a term that seems to connote movement, at the heart of the phenomenon of trafficking in persons are the many forms of enslavement, not the activities involved in international transportation.
For more information on Human Trafficking, please visit Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
To report a potential victim of Human Trafficking, or if you are a victim yourself or you know someone whom you suspect may be, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline at 1-888- 3737-888, or visit: Report a Tip | Polaris Project |
Combating Human Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children helps not only locate missing kids, but also helps children that are victims of sexual exploitation of any kind. If you have seen a missing child, or a child that is being victimized, please take action and make a report to the CyberTipline: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. For more information on the National Center, please visit: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Avoiding Scams Deal locally, face-to-face—follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
•Do not provide 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) - 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.
Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
•Internet Fraud Complaint Center
•FTC complaint form and hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
•Consumer Sentinel/Military (for armed service members and families)
•SIIA Software and Content Piracy reporting
•Ohio Attorney General Consumer Complaints
•New York Attorney General, Avoid Online Investment Fraud Canada
•Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or 888-495-8501 (toll-free)
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
If you suspect that a bennyspage post may be connected to a scam, please send us the details via our chat system.
Recognizing scams 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, Zelle, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."
•Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction. Examples of Scams 1. Someone claims your transaction is guaranteed, that a buyer/seller is officially certified, OR that a third party of any kind will handle or provide protection for a payment:
•These claims are fraudulent, as transactions are between users only.
•The scammer will often send an official looking (but fake) email that appears to come from bennyspage or another third party, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, or pretending to handle payments.
2. Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check:
•You receive an email or text (examples below) offering to buy your item, pay for your services in advance, or rent your apartment, sight unseen and without meeting you in person.
•A 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 cash fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, sometimes including criminal prosecution.
•Scams often pretend to involve a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate, etc.).
3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
•Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, or rent is below market, etc.
•Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, other high value items.
•Scammer may (falsely) claim a confirmation code from you is needed before he can withdraw your money.
•Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, UK, Netherlands—but could be anywhere.
•Rental may be local, but owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money abroad.
•Scammer may pretend to be unable to speak by phone (scammers prefer to operate by text/email).
4. Distant person offers to send you a cashier's check or 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 and 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 they 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.