Online Safety Tips

Safety

We are committed to creating a user-friendly environment, where our users can post and reply to ads and other messages freely and without concern. What follows are a number of general tips and techniques you should keep in mind to protect yourself and your privacy online. This list is not exhaustive and you should not use it as a substitute for your own common sense. As always, the best protection is to use good judgment and trust your instincts.

Responding to an Ad

It is important to remember when you are responding to an ad in which you have never met the person behind the ad before, to use caution.

  • Do not wire money, or send a check to a person you have never met.
  • Do not give out personal information about yourself, such as your social security number.
  • If meeting people, only meet in a public place. Do not go alone; bring a friend.

Placing an Ad

Online advertising allows you to quickly and effectively reach as many people as possible that are interested in what you might be selling, promoting or offering. It is important to remember that you may not know the people responding to your ad, so be careful.

  • Do not include personal information in an ad, such as your full name or exact address, and do not post images or content that are prohibited by our Terms of Use or Privacy Policy, like nudity or messages relating to illegal activities.
  • Talk to people on the phone before giving them information, like your address, and trust your instincts.
  • If someone is willing to meet with you in person, make sure you are not alone when they arrive.
  • Meet people in a public place.

Safety Tips

  • Do not give money to an individual claiming to be a victim of a personal situation or disaster if you do not know them.
  • Do not give money to an organization if you have not heard of it.
  • Do not wire money, or send a check to a person you have never met.
  • Do not give out personal information about yourself, such as your social security number.
  • Meet people in a public place. Preferably a safe trade station.

Scams and Fraud

No matter where we are or what we are doing, a handful of people can make it difficult for everyone. This is true in the online advertising area as well. Use the same common sense you would use in the real world when reading an ad. If it is too good to be true, it is a scam.

Resources:

Money Order/Wire Transfer Scam

Avoid scams by following these guidelines:

  • If the person you are dealing with is not local to you and does not want to meet, it is probably a scam.
  • Never wire funds. Anyone requesting a wire transfer is probably a scammer.
  • Keep in mind that fake cashiers checks and money orders are common tools for scam artists. You may even be held responsible for legal and financial ramifications if you attempt to process fraudulent checks or money orders. Money order fraud is specifically not reimbursed by most institutions and the victim is required to go through local police to attempt to recover lost funds.
  • Free Escort Ads is not involved in ANY transaction, does not handle payments, nor offer guarantees or buyer protection.
  • Never give out any of your personal financial information. Anyone requesting this is probably a scammer.
  • Deals involving shipping or escrow services are usually fraudulent. NO ONE CAN GUARANTEE YOUR TRANSACTION.
  • IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE; IT IS!

Recognizing common scams

Wiring money is like sending cash. The sender has no protections against loss.

  • DO NOT wire money to strangers or sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment.
  • DO NOT send money to someone you do not know. Try to deal locally and in person if possible. Do not send cash or use a wire transfer service.
  • DO NOT respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial information.
  • DO NOT agree to deposit a check from someone you do not know and then wire money back.

By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You are responsible for the checks you deposit. When a check turns out to be a fake, it’s you who is responsible for paying back the bank.

Know where an offer comes from and who you are dealing with.

Most scams involve one or more of the following:

  • Inquiry from someone far away.
  • Wire transfers, cashier’s checks, money orders, shipping, escrow services or “guarantees”.
  • Refusal to meet face to face before transaction.

To Report Scams and Frauds:

  • To file a complaint online: ftccomplaintassistant.gov
  • FTC toll free hotline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261
  • Canadian phone busters hotline: 1-888-495-8501
  • Non-emergency number for your local police department
  • Email: abuse@freeescortads.com

Tips

  • Be cautious when it comes to work-from-home opportunities, especially ones that do not require experience or time.
  • Be cautious of opportunities that require you to pay for materials or supplies.
  • Figure out if the company is legitimate through the Better Business Bureau (for US-based companies) or WHOIS/Domain Tools (for international companies). Also look at the FTC’s recommendations.
  • Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
  • If you think you may be a victim of one of these scams, contact your financial institution immediately. Report any suspicious work-from-home offers or activities to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

(Above information about “work from home” scams is compiled from IC3 PDF.)

Disaster Scams

Some fraudsters will prey on your desire to help others. Do not give money to an individual claiming to be the victim of a personal situation or disaster if you do not know them.

Human Trafficking

Over the past 15 years, “trafficking in persons” and “human trafficking” have been used as umbrella terms for activities involved when someone obtains or holds a person in compelled service.

The United States government considers trafficking in persons to include all of the criminal conduct involved in forced labor and sex trafficking, essentially the conduct involved in reducing or holding someone in compelled service. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act as amended (TVPA) and consistent with the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol), individuals may be trafficking victims regardless of whether they once consented, participated in a crime as a direct result of being trafficked, were transported into the exploitative situation, or were simply born into a state of servitude. Despite a term that seems to connote movement, at the heart of the phenomenon of trafficking in persons are the many forms of enslavement, not the activities involved in international transportation.

For more information on Human Trafficking, please visit Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

To report a potential victim of Human Trafficking, or if you are a victim yourself or you know someone whom you suspect may be, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline at 1-888-3737-888, or visit: Report a Tip | Polaris Project | Combating Human Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery.

Child Exploitation

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children helps not only locate missing kids, but also helps children that are victims of sexual exploitation of any kind.

If you have seen a missing child, or a child that is being victimized, please take action and make a report to the CyberTipline: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

For more information on the National Center, please visit: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Resources

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