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Don't Be Stupid!     Beware of Internet Fraud and Scams! is designed to connect LOCAL BUYERS with LOCAL SELLERS. Transactions with people located outside of the USA can be risky. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!

Use caution and common sense when buying or selling your items:

  • Conduct business only with local buyers and sellers! MOST non-local inquiries on MINIMERCHANT.COM will be scammers
  • Never wire funds to a distant buyer via Western Union or any other carrier
  • Be wary if the other party wants to use an escrow service such as BidPay or Squaretrade
  • Never give out personal financial information (checking account number, SSN, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
  • Don't Be Stupid! Trust your instincts! BUYER & SELLER BEWARE!

If you think you have been scammed, contact the non-emergency number for your local police department.

If you suspect that an item listed for sale on may be part of a scam, please email the details to "Russ at" or call Russ @ 209.603.0083.

How to recognize a scam

Most scams meet or involve one or more of the following:

  • Long-distance buyer or seller
  • Offer includes a cashier's check, postal money order, Western Union or escrow service (BidPay, Squaretrade, etc.)
  • Refusal to meet face-to-face

Types of Scams you may encounter online

1. Seller indicates will guarantee the transaction through the MiniMerchant Buyer & Seller Protection Program

  • There is no such program. does not have a role in your transaction
  • Seller will request a down payment and will provide detailed documentation of the "protection program"
2. Buyer wants to give you a cashier's check in exchange for your item
  • You receive an odd email offering to buy your item site unseen
  • Cashier's check is offered for your sale item as a deposit
  • Value of cashier's check exceeds asking price of your item - buyer then asks you to send the balance via money transfer service
  • Banks will sometimes cash these bogus checks and hold you responsible when the check fails to clear
  • Scam may involve a 3rd party, business associate or shipping agent.
3. Seller offers to send you a cashier's check and then have you wire money
  • Don't believe this, it is probably a scam and 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
4. Seller wants to use an online escrow service
  • Most online escrow sites are fradulent and are operated by scammers
5. Seller asks for a partial payment upfront after which he/she will ship merchandise
  • He/she says they trust you with the partial payment
  • He/she may say they have already shipped the items
  • Offer sounds unbelievable or to good to be true

Websites that may help you learn about internet scams

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