(Special thank you to icanhascheezburger.com for the above pic which has been slightly edited to reinforce my point.)
Recently I’ve expanded our online presence, we have this shiny new blog, new email addresses, a domain name, and I’m trying to sell everything we don’t need on eBay or Craigslist. One thing is a constant throughout all these areas: scammers.
I can’t tell you how many iPad 2’s I’ve won, how many people want me to pay me to write blog articles for them, or how many people guarantee me that I could rank better in google searches! It’s amazing because at some point, they must turn a profit on those things, and I wonder HOW?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a product of the internet age. I couldn’t live without google. I follow blogs. I prefer emails to human interaction. I have signed up for every “reduce paperwork, receive your documents electronically” that I can possibly find. And we have this blog to keep friends and family informed on our adventures. So, I’m not afraid of someone stealing my bank accounts, and I’m not frantically dialing “LifeLock” to Relentlessly Protect My Identity.
But I just can’t shake this feeling that the internet is one huge scam waiting to happen. Even legitimate people respond to local Craigslist ads with emails like, “Will you deliver this 200 miles out of your way for a $40 item?” Guess what? “NO.” And don’t get offended when I say, “NO.” My ad says, ‘local pick-up only,’ learn to read carefully before you try to purchase things on the internet. Maybe these people are the ones responding to a nice Nigerian Prince who is looking for someone to help him move a large sum of money?
Most recently a guy in Australia tried to purchase my ski boat. (This may come as a shock, but the deal fell through….) The eBay ad clearly stated, ‘US buyers only, buyer responsible for pick-up, cash due at pick-up, etc.’ Yet he felt compelled to purchase the boat, and he got offended when I wouldn’t accept anything other than cash!
And that’s why I’m annoyed, even legitimate people are coming across as frauds. It’s hysterical to read articles on how best to sell things on the internet, the most frequent answer is ‘don’t.’ I want to believe people are honest (just like by boat buyer in Australia), but the overwhelming trend seems to be that they aren’t.
So be careful out there, trust your instincts, and if you ever get an email from me saying that I’m locked up abroad and need money, be sure to call me to confirm. Follow this guy’s example:
And never forget the best use of the internet – poorly captioned images of cats doing funny stuff.