February 12, 2012

Internet holds potential dangers for the naive

Millions of people every day use the Internet to buy and sell goods.

It's a tremendous boon to buyers, who have a wider array of products to choose from and can more easily find deals. It's also great for sellers, who have more potential customers and an inexpensive way to advertise their goods.

The system, however, is not without its flaws.

Take my own recent experience as one example. A longtime eBay user when buying or selling small items, I decided to try posting a big-ticket item — my beloved Jeep — on a certain nationwide free classified site, just to see what would happen.

Within minutes I had responses from a handful of interested buyers.

One person liked the look of my vehicle so much that he wanted to wire the money immediately, if I would just send him my bank account number and the security code on my credit card.

Another was willing to send me an extra $1,000 — in a cashier's check drawn on the Congo United National Bank — to pay for a deluxe wax job and a couple of week's storage. Oh, and would I mind mailing him back any remaining funds, in the form of crisp $100 bills?

One guy wondered if I was willing to make a trade instead of a sale. Said he had a slice of yellowcake uranium. All I had to do was bring a lead-lined container and meet him in the alley behind the coffee shop at 2:18 a.m. Come alone.

The last to respond wanted to know what I was wearing, and if I smelled like violets.

That's when it hit me that the Internet might not be a completely secure place to be. I mean, a person less savvy easily could have given up his bank account numbers to a scam artist … and totally missed out on that sweetheart deal from the gentleman in the Congo.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time