Avoiding Scams and Fraud

Deal locally, face-to-face - follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.

  • Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union) - anyone who asks you to is a scammer.
  • Beware fake cashier's checks & money orders - banks will hold you responsible.
  • Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a "guarantee".
  • Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, eBay/Paypal, etc).
  • Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing "deal" may not exist.
  • Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.

Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?

United States


If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.

If you suspect that a MutinySports post may be connected to a scam, please send us the details.

Recognizing scams

Most scams involve one or more of the following:

  • Inquiry from someone far away, often in another country.
  • Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."
  • Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consumating transaction.

Examples of Scams

  1. Someone claims your transaction is guaranteed, that a buyer/seller is officially certified, or that a third party of any kind will handle or provide protection for a payment:
    • These claims are fraudulent, as transaction are between users only.
    • The scammer will often send an official looking (but fake) email that appears to come from MutinySports or another third party, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, or pretending to handle payments.
  2. Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check:
    • You receive an email (examples below) offering to buy your item, pay for your services in advance, or rent your apartment, sight unseen and without meeting you in person.
    • A cashier's check is offered for your sale item as a deposit for an apartment or for your services.
    • Value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item—scammer offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service.
    • Banks will cash fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, sometimes including criminal prosecution.
    • Scams often pretend to involve a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate, etc.).
  3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
    • Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, or rent is below market, etc.
    • Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, other high value items.
    • Scammer may (falsely) claim a confirmation code from you is needed before he can withdraw your money.
    • Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, UK, Netherlands—but could be anywhere.
    • Rental may be local, but owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money abroad.
    • Scammer may pretends to be deaf, mute, or unable to speak by phone (scammers prefer to operate by email).
  4. Distant person offers to send you a cashier's check or money order and then have you wire money:
    • This is ALWAYS a scam in our experience—the cashier's check is FAKE.
    • Sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not.
    • Scammer often asks for your name, address, etc. for printing on the fake check.
    • Deal often seems too good to be true.
  5. Distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service:
    • Most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT and operated by scammers.
    • For more info, do a google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud."
  6. Distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship goods:
    • He says he trusts you with the partial payment.
    • He may say he has already shipped the goods.
    • Deal often sounds too good to be true.
  7. Foreign company offers you a job receiving payments from customers, then wiring funds:
    • Foreign company may claim it is unable to receive payments from its customers directly.
    • You are typically offered a percentage of payments received.
    • This kind of "position" may be posted as a job, or offered to you via email.