Scams In Newspapers A Constant Battle

Newspapers are not immune to scams.

In fact, police say classified advertisements across the country are commonplace for potential scams – both online and in print.

For newspapers, catching the con before it can reach readers is key.

“We try to be as diligent as possible when it comes to identifying these scams through advertisements,” said Michael Bird, publisher of The Post-Journal. “I would say that we get 10 or more a week that are scams.”

“We get emails all the time that turn out to be a scam,” Bird continued. “Some of them are for a puppy or for someone looking for a personal assistant.”

In most cases, according to police, a seller will have an item at a low price to entice potential victims. Once payment is received, the seller will disappear; items can range from rental properties, used cars and livestock.

“I think it’s important to understand that we are looking for these scams on a daily basis,” Bird said. “We try to find the ones that are trying to get into the paper and are not legitimate.”

According to the FBI, the best way to avoid a scam involving the sale of goods is to understand the obligations of a buyer and seller before a purchase is made. Also to consider: Examine feedback of the seller for online sales; determine method of payment, and at which point does the seller request payment; and, if possible, purchase items with a credit card, which allows a dispute in the event of a scam.

Scammers posing as reporters also have been documented. Bird stressed reporters never will ask for Social Security numbers or other personal identification beyond the scope of the story.

“People can always call us directly if they have any questions or concerns,” Bird said, noting The Post-Journal’s phone number is 487-1111.