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ForbiddenAds Safety Tips

There are unscrupulous people in all walks of life and the internet is no different. At ForbiddenAds we treat every instance of fraud, abuse or spam extremely seriously and do our very best to protect our users and make your visit to ForbiddenAds safe and enjoyable. But we also encourage you to be on your guard and so, to help you stay safe, we have pulled together some key information on things to watch out for and some top tips.

Remember that ForbiddenAds is a local classifieds web site and ads are not reviewed before they go live on the site.

Buying & Selling – top tips for staying safe

  • When buying or selling, you should meet in-person to see the item and exchange money. The purpose of the ForbiddenAds “For Sale” category is to encourage face-to-face, local, trading. For personal ease and safety, always ensure you take someone with you. If you're answering a home service ad, ask the poster to produce identity and proof of qualification before inviting them into your home.
  • Never send your item before receiving the money. This includes never mailing a cheque or using payment services like Bidpay, Western Union or Money Gram to pay for items found on ForbiddenAds.
  • Never send or wire money to sellers or buyers. This includes never mailing a cheque or using payment services like Bidpay, Western Union or Money Gram to pay for items found on ForbiddenAds. It is our belief that these forms of funds transfer are favoured by fraudsters.
  • ForbiddenAds doesn't offer any sort of buyer protection / payment programs. Any emails you receive that talk about such systems are scams, even if they may have the ForbiddenAds logo. If you receive any emails promoting these services, please report it to us.
  • Please also take special care when buying expensive items like mobile phones, laptops, plasma TVs, airline tickets and even tickets for shows/gigs. When buying airline tickets we suggest you take the seller's name and ticket number, check the ticket exists and take responsibility yourself for changing the names.
  • When buying tickets for events please be aware that some tickets may have terms printed on them that limit the ability of the original buyer to sell them to someone else. Some event tickets, e.g. Glastonbury Festival 2007, may also feature a photograph of the original buyer which may mean that anyone other than the original buyer may be refused entry to the event.
  • Never provide your personal or banking information (e.g. credit card number) to others over the Internet.
  • Make yourself aware of common scams and fraud. Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your help in any task.
  • Report it to us any attempted fraud or suspicious emails, ads, or other activity by community members. In case of fraud or illegal activity, we also recommend that you report it to the Police.
  • Use common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Accommodation – top tips for staying safe:

  • View properties in person. ForbiddenAds is a local community site and we encourage face-to-face, local, trading. People willing to rent a property without seeing it/ or the prospective tenant first, even if they claim that it is because they are currently overseas, are unlikely to be legitimate. For personal ease and safety, always ensure you take someone with you, or if you are inviting someone into your home ask to see personal identification first.
  • Never send or wire money to landlords. This includes never mailing a cheque or using payment services like Bidpay, Western Union or Money Gram to pay for items found on ForbiddenAds. It is our belief that these forms of funds transfer are favoured by fraudsters.
  • ForbiddenAds doesn't offer any sort of buyer protection / payment programs. Any emails you receive that talk about such systems are scams, even if they may have the ForbiddenAds logo. If you receive any emails promoting these services, please report it to us.
  • Never provide your personal or banking information (e.g. credit card number) to others over the Internet.
  • Make yourself aware of common scams and fraud. Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your help in any task.
  • Report it to us any attempted fraud or suspicious emails, ads, or other activity by community members. In case of fraud or illegal activity, we also recommend that you report it to the Police.
  • Use common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Dating - top tips for staying safe:

There are unscrupulous people in all walks of life and the internet is no different. At ForbiddenAds we treat every instance of fraud, abuse or spam extremely seriously and do our very best to protect our users and make your visit to ForbiddenAds safe and enjoyable.

  • If you do decide to meet someone through ForbiddenAds, for your own personal peace of mind and safety, we suggest that you meet in a very public place and if possible take someone along with you when you first meet the person. If you do not have a friend with you, then ensure that you tell someone exactly what you are doing, where you are going, when you are expected back, and give contact numbers, etc.
  • Once at your rendezvous, if you feel at all uncomfortable with the situation, then we suggest you politely excuse yourself and leave. Do not feel obliged at any time during the encounter to do anything you are uncomfortable with.
  • The friends/dating/casual categories are designed for individual people to meet others at a level that they are comfortable with. We promote safe practices and strongly advise people to use common sense and express due caution in every situation.
  • For sexual health information and advice take a look at Drthom.com

Jobs - top tips for staying safe:

  • You should find out as much as you can about the company from independent resources before taking up a position. If you are an employer, follow up on references and check on their authenticity.
  • Meet your prospective employers/ employees face to face.
  • You should NOT have to provide your bank account details when applying for a job (this should only be once you have accepted an offer and started with the company). If any jobs ask you for them, please report it to us
  • Unfortunately some scammers do target job seekers so please make yourself aware of the common scams out there. All the usual common sense rules apply - if it looks too good to be true it probably is!

Scam Watch

There are some dodgy people out there, and despite our efforts to keep them from ForbiddenAds and protect you, occasionally a bogus ad or buyer slips through. Read here for some common scams on the net to watch out for.

  • Brand name spoofing / phishing: You get an email that claims to be from ForbiddenAds, eBay, Western Union, or another company and offers buyer protection or an online payment system or perhaps a cash prize. These emails will typically request that you send money or provide personal information. Any emails which combine urgency with some need for personal details should be treated with caution, no matter whom they purport to be from. ForbiddenAds and most other companies will never send out such emails. If you send money via these sites you are likely sending money to the fraudsters.
    If you receive an email alleging to be from a company offering a service then go directly to the company’s official website and look for details of the service.
  • Cheque overpayment: A buyer or seller or prospective tenant will send you a cheque worth more than the value of the items/ rent and then ask for the surplus money to be returned to them or a third party, for example “to pay for shipping”. The cheque will clear into your bank, only to be stopped/refused weeks later. At this point, the Banks/Building Societies will take the full cheque amount back out of your account. Not only will you have lost the goods, you will be out of pocket for the amount of the cheque and the amount you passed on as the difference.
  • Payment for brokerage/importing: A seller claims that there are brokerage fees, import duties, or other such fees required to get an item into the country. Do not pay such fees, as you will most often never get the product and will have lost any money you paid. Again, ForbiddenAds is designed for local, face to face trading.
  • Fake escrow sites: A buyer or seller or prospective tenant/ landlord suggests using an escrow service to complete the transaction. Often these escrow web sites are run by fraudsters (even though they may look "official") and they will take your money and never send you the product.
  • Work from home: Many work from home offers are "pyramid schemes" which require you to recruit other members in order to get paid. For example, an ad may say that you can make 100 an hour by stuffing envelopes. But to make that money, you need to sell the system to others. Other work from home opportunities are fronts for money laundering - key warning sign should be any 'job' that involves you receiving cheques and cashing them. For these reasons we typically don't accept work from home positions on ForbiddenAds.
  • 419 Scams: You get an email saying that your help is needed to take money out of a country and that you will be paid a commission for your help. Eventually they will ask you for money to help them take the large amount of money out of the country and once you pay you will never hear from them again.
  • Pet Shipping Scams A seller will claim to have a pet and will offer to ship them from an overseas location, or even get you to book seats on a plane! These are usually sought after dog breeds such as English Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas. These ads are usually accompanied by ‘staged’ pictures. The pets don't exist and the fraudsters simply try to get you to pay money upfront. Remember: be wary of overseas sellers.

    Other good sources of information to read about common scams on the net are:

Abuse / harassment

We don’t tolerate harassment or abuse of our ForbiddenAds users and take reports of this nature very seriously. If you have experienced abuse or harassment in connection to either an ad on ForbiddenAds or an email received from a ForbiddenAds user then please report it to us.

If you have received an abusive email you might also want to forward the details of the abusive email to the sender's email account provider (i.e., Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL).

How to report scams and fraud:

  • If you see an ad on the ForbiddenAds site that you suspect is Spam, illegal, or otherwise violates ForbiddenAds's policies, please click on the links found under "Report this Ad" in the bottom right of the ad's page. Reporting ads brings the ad to our attention so that we will review and can take it down quickly if appropriate.

  • You can also use the "Report illegal/infringing Ad" link on an ad's page to send an email to the ForbiddenAds staff regarding a certain ad.

  • If you reply to an ad and the person who posted the ad emails you with a suspicious request (eg. asks for money to be sent to them via a payment service), please forward us the email and stop all communications with that person.

  • If you are the victim of fraud, inform ForbiddenAds and your local police service.

If you have any other security questions that aren't answered above, then please contact us.