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Protect Yourself in the Classifieds

Posted by Ludachris, Jan 14, 2018

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  1. Ludachris

    Ludachris Founder & Zookeeper

    Joined Nov 12, 2001
    Roseville, California
    We've recently stripped away some of the posting restrictions that prevented new members from posting in our Classifieds. This means the onus is now on you, the member, to do more to try and protect yourself against bad buyers/sellers. Here are some tips to help you do that. If you do your due diligence nearly all fraudulent transactions can be avoided.

    NOTE: DSMtuners is not responsible for the outcome of any transactions that originate in the DSMtuners.com classifieds or elsewhere on the site. We are not liable for fraud committed by buyers or sellers, so it is imperative that all parties do their homework before sending any money or merchandise. DSMtuners cooperates with law enforcement and participates fully in any investigative proceedings.

    For Buyers: Before buying, ask for pictures of the item to be taken with a custom sign. Use PayPal, and DO NOT send money “as a gift.” Offer to pay the extra 3%, or skip the deal. A legitimate seller will understand the need for buyer protection. Make sure PayPal indicates they are a verified seller. Discuss beforehand how long the seller needs to ship the item – Give seller 2 days to provide a tracking number, unless other arrangements have been made.

    For Sellers: Make sure you are PREPARED to sell and ship immediately. DSMtuners DOES NOT tolerate scammers – We WILL SHARE your personal information if the evidence suggests you have committed fraud. Sellers would also be wise to photograph the item for sale with a handwritten sign – The sign should include the date and your DSMtuners user ID. This is a great way to protect yourself from a shady buyer.


    Doing your OWN homework in an internet/ long distance transaction is vital. When answering an ad, get all information that you can about the seller. Be sure to read the instructions completely before acting in any way. Be extremely careful dealing with Probationary Members on the site, as they are largely unknown quantities in our community. They either have not been members very long or have a very limited participation history on the site. Trust them at your own risk.

    The info that you need is as follows:

    1. Home/work phone number. It is easy to reverse trace, where a cell number is not. If you get a cell number, casually bring up the conversation of cell service. Is theirs good, what package and carrier? Record and save the information both of home and cell.

    2. Get the seller’s street address and mailing address if different (ask if it is the same). Record and save the information.

    3. It is helpful to get the seller’s work address and phone number through casual conversation. Record the information and save.

    4. Find out the seller’s internet provider. The conversation could go like this: “Can you e-mail me a picture of the part? Then again, my server is so crappy lately it is a wonder that I get any e-mail at all. Who do you have for service? Is it as slow as _____?” Record and save the information.

    5. When sending payment, use a money order with enough room to put your name and address as well as the name and address of the seller. It is vital that you get a money order that allows you to put a description of what the money order is for. Keep a photocopy and receipt of the money order.

    6. Send payment via USPS and use delivery confirmation. This allows tracking the shipment. This way the perp cannot claim the funds were not received and this provides proof of USPS involvement. Keep the receipt.

    7. Keep a record of all phone calls (phone bills would be great), keep all e-mails and print them out in paper form as well as a backup disk.

    8. Keep a record of the for sale ad location (URL), and make a printed copy/disk backup. Some use Skitch and Evernote for this (everyone should have these two utilities, they’re so functional and handy). Download photos from the listing in case you need to reference them later, for instance if what you receive is different from what was shown in photos. This helps in the event the other party deletes the photos from the listing - we can't recover deleted attachments, though we do have the ability to view old pre-edited text from the ad.

    9. Leave Buyer/Seller ratings once you complete your transaction with a member on the site. Go to their user profile (here's mine for example), click on their Trading Stats tab and click the "Leave Feedback" text link at the bottom of the list of ratings. This will let others know whether or not to trust this member. Instead of posting threads in the forum complaining about scammers, use this tool so that other members, and staff, can easily identify scammers.

    We may ban members who receive multiple negative feedback ratings, especially if the member doesn't have many positive ratings in their profile. You should never have more negative ratings than you do positive ratings.


    Here are some additional tips from the National Fraud Information Center website regarding fraudulent internet transactions:


    Do your homework, pay attention to the warning signs of fraud, and don’t get overly excited about that “deal” until it’s done… All these steps will help you avoid being victimized by a fraudulent buyer or seller.

    Once you’ve got all this down, feel free to browse our classifieds section, or maybe list something that’s taking up space in the garage!
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018

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