Scammers love "Want To Buy" ads. This type of transaction is an easy way to separate a mark from their money, simply by claiming to have the item posted in a WTB ad.

This is especially true for WTB ads for parts that might be expected to be ship-able, as most of these transactions are conducted entirely over the internet.

When dealing with someone who responds to a "Want to Buy" ad -- especially via PM (Private Message) -- watch out for these red flags:

• If the "seller" asks you to use PayPal's Friends and Family feature, STOP! This is fraud! DO NOT mark the transaction Friends and Family under any circumstances, no matter how much pressure the "seller" applies. If you use Friends and Family, There Is No Recourse If You Are Scammed!. Always always always use the Goods and Services option when paying for goods and services. If the "seller" will not agree, they are a scammer. Walk away from the deal.

• Any "seller" who says "I got these parts from jess" (or something similar) is lying to you. Report it immediately to jess or a moderator. The user will be instantly banned. And walk away from the deal.

• Check the "seller's" post history. If they have just a few posts that are mostly just "Nice bike!" or some other insubstantial post history, think twice about sending this person any money. If they don't have any appreciable history on MV, then they have nothing to lose by scamming you. Walk away from the deal.

• Google any and all email addresses that the "seller" uses. Chances are that they will use the address on more than one site before generating a fresh identity, and scam reports on other sites will generally show up in a google search. If you get a whiff of dishonesty about an email address, walk away from the deal.

• If someone contacts you via PM about a Want-to-Buy ad and helpfully suggests that some third party (with a supplied email address) has the item you are looking for, they are probably (though not definitively) running a scam. In reality, the third party probably does not exist and the person contacting you via PM probably controls the provided email address. It's a trap. Walk away.

Be careful out there, folks. Scammers want your money, and if you don't keep your guard up, they will get it.