Posting in the lounge as there doesn't appear to be a better place for something like this. I am always browsing the shitlist threads on this site and it amazes me how many people are prepared to blindly send quite large sums of money to random strangers they meet on a forum. Many of the situations could be avoided by just doing some simple checks to ensure that the person you are dealing with is reputable. I have the utmost admiration for the moderators who oversee the shitlists as I could not see myself having the patience to deal with a large number of posts in there. The mods must be thinking on many occasions “Oh, here we go again”. So what should you be doing to avoid being scammed? Whilst there is no foolproof method to avoid being ripped off you can at least minimise the risks by checking a few simple details about the person who makes contact with you to offer their product/service. First and foremost click on the username of the member and look at their profile. The key points to look for: Join date, how long have they been a member? (It doesn’t mean they cannot be trusted if they only joined last week) Post count and post type. If they have 13 posts all saying “I can do this” then you should be at least wary, particularly if they are saying they can provide 1000s of youtube views, design a logo, offer guest blog posts and anything else random. Deals they may have done with other members. Don’t be afraid to contact the other member concerned to ask how their deal with xxxxxx member went. Be aware that the potential scammer may have multiple accounts though. These simple checks will give you an idea of the members activity on this forum, you should also check their username by searching it in Google. If you search a members username and no results are returned they may simply be new or they may use different usernames to scam. You may find that they have used the same name on various forums however. If this is the case, check their profiles on the other forum to see what their activity is like there. Proceed with caution with your deal though if they have been banned from other sites! Ask for their skype. If they want to deal with you they will probably want to take their business to the privacy of skype but even if they don’t ask for their skype anyway. Why? Because you can search their skype username on Google to see if they have scammed anyone else. If you search their skype and results come back on either BHW or other sites check out the results. These will help you build up a picture of their previous business activities. If their skype is associated with a previously banned member DO NOT DEAL WITH THEM. They were banned for a reason and should not be active on this site, also report them to the moderators as a previously banned member. Ask for their email address. As with their skype username you can very often find out lots of information by searching for a members email address. They may have posted it publicly before and you can find out similar information by searching for their email address as with their skype. Do they have a website? If they have a website, ask to see it. This is purely to obtain the URL so you can perform some checks. They may give you a fake website that does not belong to them, a simple method to check this is a whois search. Now you may be thinking, what if they have domain privacy? Well if they actually own the website you can send an email to the email address listed in the whois search and it will be forwarded to their email. Ask them to respond to the email you have sent them so you can verify ownership. Once you have done this you can then search Google for their URL and see if the website has been linked to any scam reports. Amazing offers! This is one of the simplest ways to spot a scam and you should always be wary of anyone offering something that is too good to be true. If they are offering a huge Instagram account in a popular niche with 10s of 1000s of followers for $50 then run for the hills. As we always say: If it sounds too good to be true then it most probably is! Ask them for the names of people they have dealt with previously. This one may be a little trickier due to the nature of some services, confidentiality plays a big part in this. They may be more than happy to share the names of a couple of clients which you can then check out. If they do and the members they share are reputable then contact them to verify the service you are looking to purchase. If all they share are people with 1 or 2 posts here and there then you should be suspicious as it may be the same member attempting to appear reputable. How do they want to be paid? If they insist on bitcoin or wire transfer and will not consider any other methods then personally I wouldn’t consider dealing with that person. With these methods of payment you have absolutely no comeback whatsoever if the deal goes bad. Similarly, if they state they will accept PayPal but insist on friends and family payment simply tell them NO! If they want to avoid the fees associated with receiving the money through PayPal then they should negotiate this separately with you. Easy rule to remember, they are not your friend, they are not your family. They are a total stranger asking you for money and to be perfectly honest no reputable business person would ever ask you to send money via friends and family payment and you never should in a business transaction. Even if they are willing to accept normal payments through PayPal, this is still not without risks. You should consider funding the transaction with a credit card so that you have some level of cover from your credit card provider if PayPal decides against you because of the type of service you buy. From the perspective of the seller, unfortunately payment methods are one problem area which leave you open to potential scams from bad buyers. This is just a risk you have to take because the protection is always on the side of the purchaser. There are no foolproof methods to avoid being scammed and scammers are getting more and more creative every day. If you just perform a few simple checks you can minimise the risks and avoid losing large sums of money. If at any point during a transaction you are getting a bad feeling about it then you should proceed with caution or back out of the deal. If the sums of cash in question are substantial then you should consider using an escrow service because your money will be held securely until both parties have completed their obligations in the deal. The fees may be a little high but it will lessen the risk. It may seem like a lot of work but the above checks will literally only take a few minutes each and they could save you a small fortune. If you have any more tips please share below so people can benefit from them.