Tip of the Week – January 6, 2017 - Consider How You Pay When Making Transactions with Strangers

Cash, checks and credit cards have become somewhat of an old fashion way to pay for transactions – but when compared to the new forms of payment, they are tried and true.

If you’re making a purchase from someone who asks you to pay with Amazon or iTunes gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards or by money transfers – just say, NO!

According to the Federal Trade Commission, scam artists who post cars and other vehicles for sale, are asking would-be buyers to pay through unconventional means, like gift cards.  The would-be buyer purchases the gift card and sends the code to the seller, the seller spends that money but doesn’t produce the car or vehicle.  The would-be buyer is out of big bucks.

“We don’t always know the people or companies we are buying from,” said CSLEA Foundation Chair Kenny Ehrman.  “Error on the side of safety.   Use a credit card when you can, because credit card companies offer fraud protection.   Using wire services or reloadable money cards, or gift cards is much too risky and often is the sign that you’re being scammed.  As an investigator with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, I see my share of fraud involving the sale or transfer of vehicles.  Take special care when purchasing big ticket items from someone you don’t know.”