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Southeastern Virginia & Northeastern North Carolina
Connecticut BBB Helps Consumers Avoid Getting Burned by Hot Items Online
July 08, 2013

Stolen Goods are Being Sold through Internet Classified Ads and Auction Sites

Wallingford, CT - July 8, 2013 - The price may be right, but Better Business Bureau is cautioning consumers that they may unwittingly end up buying stolen merchandise through online auction and classified ad sites.

The list of stolen property for sale ranges from smart phones to vehicles, and the items being fenced were stolen from individuals, schools, businesses, government offices and even the military.

The problem is so prevalent that some law enforcement agencies have conducted sting operations to track down people who fence hot merchandise.  However, the best way to avoid problems associated with stolen property, is to use a checklist before buying and look for the red flags.

Beware of stock merchandise photos – These can conceal damage, missing accessories and alteration of products’ serial numbers.

Use secure payment methods – Credit cards and services such as PayPal offer a layer of protection for buyers.  Preloaded credit cards and wired money transfers do not.

Check with manufacturer for high-end items – You can check with the manufacturers of expensive items to see whether an item’s serial number indicates it was stolen and reported to the police.

Ask questions about an unusually low asking price – Classified ad sellers will offer goods at reasonable prices, but criminals want quick cash and may offer unrealistically low prices.

Be careful when meeting a seller who has posted an online classified ad – Only meet in a public place, preferably during daylight.

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