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 Avoiding Fraud 

Avoiding fraud
at and elsewhere on the Internet

Here at we believe that buying items locally — where you can inspect the item, meet the seller and pay at the time of pickup or delivery — is the surest and safest way to conduct business. For items purchased at a distance, we strongly suggest taking the following measures to protect yourself from fraudulent sellers:

Ask for the seller’s address and telephone number

While this arcticle pertains to online auctions in particular, the same principals hold true for classified ads and any monetary transaction on the Internet.
Once you have negotiated the price and have decided to buy the item, ask for the seller's phone number and call them at a random time to make sure they are receiving the calls. Honest sellers should be able to provide this information. Having a seller who has a registered telephone number at the other end makes the seller more trackable and less likely to be a fraud.

Use a payment method with fraud protection

fraudWe highly advise against sending payment via wire transfer. Many fraudulent sellers only accept money by wire transfer, Money Gram, or bank transfer because buyers cannot get their money back and sellers cannot be tracked. If you are within the United States and must pay by money order, we suggest using a postal money order. Postal money orders can be investigated, while other money orders cannot.

Never send money by Western Union, MoneyGram or wire transfer, or mail cash. These payment types are untraceable and do not offer any form of buyer protection—which is why fraudsters ask you to use them. If you are buying something that needs to be shipped, use a major credit card or an online payment service like PayPal instead, because they give you some buyer protection. Escrow services such as also offer protection.

Never send your bank or checking account information to anyone. This information may provide a way for someone to take money directly from your account. Normally, banks do not offer protection if money is properly transferred out of your account.

Credit cards a good bet

When it comes to buyer protection and seller convenience, credit cards are one of the best methods to do business over the Internet. Many credit cards offer a 60-day protection on each sale, while others offer even more protection for online purchases.

If you wish to protect your credit card number, many services (such as VISA, Discover, and American Express) offer temporary numbers to make one-time purchases online. These temporary numbers may expire after one use or may hold limited funds. Please contact your credit card company to find out how they can protect you with online purchases.

Payment service (such as PayPal) protection is limited

Many sellers and buyers use payment services such PayPal. These services allow sellers to accept credit cards, checks, and money orders online, making it convenient for buyers to keep their payment information private. Each payment service has different regulations regarding fraud protection. We suggest contacting your preferred payment service to learn what forms of protection they offer.

Escrow and C.O.D. offer you the most protection

Using an escrow service is the safest way for a buyer and seller to complete a transaction. recommends for all transactions above $500, and for all situations where you feel uncertain about a seller. In general, escrow services receive and validate payment from the buyer, and then prompt the seller to send the item to the buyer. When the buyer receives the item, the escrow service sends the seller payment after the buyer has inspected the item.

Some shipping services offer Cash On Delivery (C.O.D.), providing buyers the ability to pay when they receive the item from the seller. The buyer pays the shipping company at the time of delivery, then that payment is sent to the seller. C.O.D. is slightly less desirable than escrow because the buyer typically has no means of inspecting the item before paying.

Both escrow and C.O.D. will add costs to a transaction (typically under 10%), and may increase the time it takes you to receive your item, but they provide an additional level of protection.

Use our system

When communicating with sellers on, always use the "Contact Seller" link on the Item Detail Page. An email will be sent out to the seller with your email address and all transactions will be conducted between you and the seller directly via our system. This way, if we are notified of a seller's fraudulent activity, we will have your contact information to reach you and provide you with the information. Since our marketplace is always free for buyers, there should be little incentive to take communications off line.

Know what you are buying

The old saying, "Buyer Beware," holds true in any purchasing situation. Before making an offer to a seller, ask questions to learn more about what they are selling. You can send a seller a pre-sale note, then make your offer when you are comfortable with purchasing the item. We also recommend checking retail prices and other members' prices for comparison purposes. Remember, if the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

In particular, be careful when purchasing high-tech goods, especially when prices are far below retail. Certain high-end items such as flat-panel displays, notebook computers, and cell phones are likely targets for scammers. In many cases, it's appropriate to ask for a serial number before sending payment.

Track your shipment

Most major shipping companies allow people to track shipments while they are in transit. We recommended getting a tracking number from the seller, so you can monitor your item in transit. Make sure you are familiar with the seller's shipper, and be aware that there are fake shipping companies on the web which pretend to track a false shipment.

Avoid sellers or buyers from other countries

Selling or buying something such as a car or couch internationally through a classified ad is impractical and expensive; most people trying to do business with you from abroad are fraudsters. In particular, be careful of sellers from West Africa or Eastern Europe, as a rash of fraud has eminated from these regions recently.

About us is an advertising platform . We are not part of the final transaction between a buyer and seller. We do not provide any financing. We do not guarantee payments between parties. will NEVER ask for your password or financial information by email, phone or physical mail. If you get an email that looks like it’s from ibidfree, but asks you for personal information, please contact member support.

If you feel a seller or buyer is acting fraudulently, please contact ibidfree immediately.

For more information, you may refer to the Federal Trade Commission's E-Commerce & Internet Consumer Information section at or Internet Fraud Complaint Center at

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Transmitted: 6/8/2023 1:51:09 AM
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