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

In General

DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on

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. 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.)


Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?

U.S. Federal

If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.

Recognizing scams

Most scams involve one or more of the following:

  • An 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 consumating transaction

Examples of Scams

  1. Someone claims that will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that will handle or provide protection for a payment.
    • These claims are fraudulent, as does not have any role in any transaction.
    • Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services -- all such emails are fakes!
  2. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
    • The seller 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 originate from anywhere.
    • The deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, etc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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".
  5. Distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship goods
    • The seller says he trusts you with the partial payment.
    • The seller may say he has already shipped the goods.
    • The deal often sounds too good to be true.

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.Leonardo da Vinci
The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? —it is the same the angels breathe.Mark Twain
There is no sport equal to that which aviators enjoy while being carried through the air on great white wings.Wilbur Wright
You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky.Amelia Earhart
To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.Otto Lilienthal
Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle.Igor Sikorsky
I was sold on flying as soon as I had a taste for it.John Glenn
I have the normal desire, experienced by everybody who's ever flown an airplane with a certain amount of zoom capability, to go a little bit higher and a little bit faster.Gordon Cooper

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