I have several things we need to address here, so please bear with me. I'll try to be brief and concise.
FIRST -- The Classifieds Module is going to be closed and removed in one week's time. This is separate from (and redundant to) the For Sale Forum. This is an official notice that one week from today (September 30th) the Classifieds will be no more. Any members interested in seeing what is available there should look soon. Any members with current ads listed in the Classifieds are welcomed to repost them in the For Sale Forum.
SECOND -- I need to remind people to please read the Rules for Posting Ads on our site. Lately, we've had a rash of people advertising outside of the designated areas, and/or breaking other rules within the Ad Forum. The Staff is considering adding new Infractions for those who can't be bothered with these rules.
THIRD -- At this time, we are not going to set a minimum post limit for utilizing the For Sale Forum. We greatly appreciate the input from our membership and we understand the frustrations that can come from finding a scammer in our midst. We will continue to keep a watchful eye on the situation and the matter will stay on the table for future review as necessary.
FOURTH (and last, I promise!) -- On the matter of scammers sliding in under the radar... The entire staff of BP.net takes this extremely seriously and we are constantly watching and doing all we can to keep these sorts of folks off our site. If someone slips in before we know of them, we do not hesitate to remove ads the moment we learn of their intentions. We would rather err on the side of caution and reinstate an ad with a full apology if we make a mistake than to allow a suspected scammer to remain in full view a minute longer than necessary. We watch the BOI...we maintain numerous connections throughout the herping world...and we do our best to get to know our members here. But the larger and faster we grow, the more difficult it becomes to keep up with every single person....and the easier it becomes for someone new to slip in with ill intentions.
While we will continue to do all that we can and feel is right to protect our members from the scammers.....we are not omniscient nor omnipresent. It is up to each and every person who views and considers an ad to realize that every single online transaction they make involves risk. It is up to each person to do all they can to mitigate and minimize that risk.
First and foremost...try to know the person you want to buy from. But if a stranger has something you really want...then do your research.
---Search theBOI using screen names, business names, personal names, and e-mail addresses.
---Also use Google to see if any praises or complaints about that person have been brought up at other sites outside the BOI.
---Ask around to see if anyone knows them and can vouch for them.
---Examine the "deal" closely. If it is too good to be true...then it most likely is. The more "fantastic" the deal, the more closely it should be examined before taking that plunge.
---Insist on complete communication with full names and addresses. If someone wants your money but won't tell you who they are or where they live...something is wrong!
---Get everything documented. If you make a deal over the phone, confirm it with a written e-mail and insist on a reply so they can't say they never got the e-mail. If they are a legitimate business, they will not mind doing a little extra to cover your butt and theirs.
These are just a few suggestions to help protect yourself. Realize that every transaction involves risk...for both parties. Sellers are as often ripped off by buyers as the other way around. Don't be afraid to take the steps necessary to protect yourself...and if the other party refuses to cooperate in those steps, then either take that as a sign of a bad deal....OR....be willing to accept the high risk of getting ripped off on the deal you can't refuse.
If you ever feel that someone advertising on BP.net is scamming...or if a member responds to a sale or trade ad and seems suspicious...don't hesitate to bring this to the attention of the Staff. We will take the matter seriously and thoroughly investigate.
"True self control is waiting for the movie to start to eat your popcorn."
"Why would the movie eat my popcorn???"