Hutbay is commited to ensuring your property search is safe as possible. Scams and other internet fraud are a reality of online and offline shopping. We try as best as we can to provide a safe online community to everyone using hutbay. However, it is vital for you to always be careful of giving personal and financial information or when dealing in any financial-related transcations. Hutbay wants you to stay safe no matter where your online experience takes you.
Know thy enemy
Due to the open nature of the internet, and the fact that it is difficult to control, it is essential to keep yourself abreast of common, easy-to-spot tricks used by scammers and how to avoid them. Once fraud is committed, correcting it can be a long arduous process, if not impossible.
Go through the following guide but know that we do not claim that abiding to these guide alone will keep you from scammers or even keep you safe from being scammed. The onus lies on you to be generaly careful when online and offline, and to adopt best practice at all time, especially on financial transactions.
- Too-good to be true deal
Scammers are expert in appealing to our love for getting the best bargain at the best price. And they will do this in a way so enticing to the unwary user; the only way of avoiding this scam is to do your research and to question and confirm the veracity of every deal. Example of this scam is charging below industry’s commission fee, listing a property at a price far below the price of other property in the surrounds.
- Prompting you to close a deal too soon
Financial transaction, especially on real estate, should be run through a series of user-predefineed checklist and doing this takes time. Dont rush to pay for a property, even when the agent or marketer tells you the property will go away if you dont pay on time. Take your time, verify everything possible, do inspection and confirmation before making your decision.Neither should you respond to any unsolicited email asking you to reset your password or login to your bank account. Banks will never ask you for this. Again, if in doubt, call your bank official phone to confirm or visit their nearest branch.
- Request for financial information
Sensitive information like your bank details or login details to any website should be closely guided when browsing online. Verify if you are dealing with a trusted source with traceable physical address or a business duly registered in Nigeria with the appropriate authorities. Never disclose you banking information. If in doubt, call your bank official phone to confirm.
- Request for payment by cash or by wire funds
This is a red flag especially when both parties haven’t met personally. Most scams are carried out through wire funds (Western Union, MoneyGram, etc). Stories such as “I’m not in the country; I’ll need you to wire me the money” should never be a reason to send money via wire funds. And please do not accept wire funds that you did not initiate.
- Paying into a foreign bank account or personal account
If the company claims to be doing business in Nigeria, they must have a bank account in Nigeria. Never pay into a foreign “company’s” bank account or a person’s personal bank account. It is risky and very prone to fraud. In all scenarios, payment for a product or service should be into a corporate account in any of the banks in Nigeria.
- Long-distance landlords or agents
Identity veification on the internet can be very hard. Most times, users pretend to be where they are not with the express aim of defrauding a victim and running into thin air. So, extreme measures must be taken when anyone claim to be contacting you from abroad. Remember, no payment by cash, nor by wire funds, nor into personal bank account, nor into non-corporate account, nor into any foreign bank account.
- Unsolicited emails and sob-stories
Scammers prey on people’s sense of compassion, greed or ignorance. One of their successful tricks is to send you an email involving stories related to a family or financial issue and the gain if you help out. These emails are often unsolicited and they may come from even a loved-one’s email (Note: you can send email using any email address you want!). Be careful, always be careful. It is better to err on the side of caution than to become a victim, a situation from which so many never recover from.
Hutbay is committed to your online safety and to ensure you take advantage of the wonderful opportunities modern technologies afford. But we don’t want you to be taken advantaged off, so please, be careful when you are on any website, the kind of software you install on you computers or phone and in sharing your financial information.
To report a fraud, contact any of the appropriate government agencies.