Deal locally, face-to-face —follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
- Do not provide payment to anyone you have not met in person.
- Beware offers involving shipping – deal with locals you can meet in person.
- Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union) – anyone who asks you to is a scammer.
- Don’t accept cashier/certified checks or money orders – banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible.
- Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a “guarantee”.
- Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, paypal account, etc).
- Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing “deal” may not exist.
- Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.
- “Dodge City Chat voicemails” – Any message asking you to access or check “ Dodge City Chat voicemails” or “ Dodge City Chat voice messages” is fraudulent – no such service exists.
Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
- and hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
- or 888-495-8501 (toll-free)
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
If you suspect that a Dodge City Chat post may be connected to a scam, please send us the details.
Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following:
- Email or text from someone that is not local to your area.
- Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about “the item.” Poor grammar/spelling.
- Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, Paypal, Zelle, shipping, escrow service, or a “guarantee.”
- Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction.
Examples of Scams
1. Someone claims your transaction is guaranteed, that a buyer/seller is officially certified, OR that a third party of any kind will handle or provide protection for a payment:
- These claims are fraudulent, as transactions are between users only.
- The scammer will often send an official looking (but fake) email that appears to come from Dodge City Chat or another third party, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, or pretending to handle payments.
2. Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier’s check:
- You receive an email or text (examples below) offering to buy your item, pay for your services in advance, or rent your apartment, sight unseen and without meeting you in person.
- A cashier’s check is offered for your sale item as a deposit for an apartment or for your services.
- Value of cashier’s check often far exceeds your item—scammer offers to “trust” you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service.
- Banks will cash fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, sometimes including criminal prosecution.
- Scams often pretend to involve a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate, etc.).
3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
- Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, or rent is below market, etc.
- Scam “bait” items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, other high value items.
- Scammer may (falsely) claim a confirmation code from you is needed before he can withdraw your money.
- Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, UK, Netherlands—but could be anywhere.
- Rental may be local, but owner is “travelling” or “relocating” and needs you to wire money abroad.
- Scammer may pretend to be unable to speak by phone (scammers prefer to operate by text/email).