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Holiday Safety Announcement

Dec 15, 2013

    1. Hello Den of Angels!

      We are very much into the holiday season. However, it is important to remember to be vigilant while you enjoy and celebrate with family and friends. Every year, we see a seasonal rise in successful scamming and phishing attempts.

      It might just be that "If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is." If the asking price seems unusually low, there is a possibility that the doll is a recast... or may not even exist! When buying a doll from another individual, on or off-site, please be safe and do your research. Here are a few tips to keep safe in your transactions:

      • Research feedback thoroughly! You can use feedback from DoA, eBay, Etsy, and other doll forums. A person's buying behaviour might differ from their seller behaviour, so be sure to pay close attention to the type relevant to your situation.
      • Require owner photos; don't just trust company photos to accurately show the doll that you will be receiving. You can also go a step further and request specific photos, such as the doll with a piece of paper saying the seller's username and your username. Make sure that all of the photos seem to be of the same doll! It doesn't hurt to do a quick search to make sure that the pictures your seller is using aren't just random pictures from the first page of a Google image search.
      • Only send payments using methods that feel safe to you. Sending concealed cash or a money order leaves you with little recourse if you get scammed. Be aware that sending "personal payments" through Paypal can be dangerous; they are non-refundable under any circumstance and come with zero buyer protection!
      • Keep track of your purchases. Sometimes it can be easy to lose track of items when many purchases are made in a short time frame. Keep a detailed log of any items you buy, the date payments were made, tracking numbers, and most of all, be aware of your window of safety within Paypal's Terms of Service.

      It's also helpful to skim DoA's Problem Transactions forum from time to time to see what sorts of scams are going on; the more you know, the better you are able to protect yourself!

      Many of us will be ordering dolls for holiday events, and some of the payment and shipping methods we use can make us more likely to fall for phishing scams. Though these aren't doll specific, here are some of the popular phishing scams that you may see over the holidays.

      • US Postal Service, UPS/FedEx/DHL/etc: You may receive an email claiming that you have a package waiting for you, often with some wording that makes it seem as though it will be returned to the sender (or destroyed!) if you don't take action. This email will usually have an attachment that supposedly gives more information about the package, but downloading this will install a virus on your computer. When you're waiting for a doll to ship, it can be very easy to be taken in by a malicious email like this.
      • Paypal: You may get an email that appears to be from Paypal that either references potential fraudulent charges, a lock on your account, or even just a payment that you have supposedly sent. The link will either lead your to a virus-laden site or to a clone of the real website that will steal your username and password when you try to log in! While the email may look very authentic, a valid Paypal email will ALWAYS address you by first and last name.

      There are 3 main ways that malicious emails can target you - 1) asking you to reply with sensitive information 2) asking you to download a file that contains a virus or 3) asking you to click a link that will either lead you to an information-harvesting clone of a legitimate site or a virus-infected page.

      The most obvious malicious emails come from companies you don't recognize – banks or companies where you do not hold accounts, etc. If you don't know what something is and they are asking you to click a link, take a minute or two to do a quick Google search!

      It gets trickier when the email appears to come from a company that you know. However, a company that has legitimate business with you will normally address you by name. An email that starts "Dear Valued Customer" or "Dear (email address)" may be suspect, particularly if they are trying to get you to give information or follow links. A legitimate company will never ask you to verify personal information, such as credit card numbers, by email. Pay attention to the URLs of company links as well! Check for extra letters or strange domain names, such as "payments-amazon.com" or "accounts.paypal.com." If you have any doubts that email may be suspect, open a new browser window and go to the website by typing in the URL or by going through a link from Google; do not click the link in the email. You can always alert the company to this by contacting them directly on their website and asking through a safe Q/A board whether or not they have sent you an email.

      If you have any other scams/phishing information, or even just tips for buying and selling safely, please feel free to share in this thread.

      :gingerbreadman The Den of Angels Staff wish you a safe and happy holiday season! :gingerbreadman