If you have an account with Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Bebo or Windows Live Spaces, you can look for Ilyce – she has accounts on all of them and provides helpful tips on those sites.

But these sites are no safer than the rest of the Internet. You never know if the person you’re talking to is a major scam artist.

A Facebook user recently contacted us asking to buy Ilyce’s book “10 Steps to Home Ownership.” We encourage people to buy books through Amazon.com but do not directly sell books, aside from a few on this Web site.

Anyway, turns out the buyer was trying to pull a scam. He didn’t directly respond to Ilyce’s suggestion to go to Amazon.com. Instead, he suggested sending us more money than was needed and have us send him back the difference. This is a common Internet scam.

Here’s his email:
Thanks for getting back to me this soon. I am in need of this item so urgently and I need to get it as soon as possible. I am satisfied with the price and I am ready to make payment immediately. I will be making my payment via money orders or a certified cashier’s check but the payment will be for both the cost of the item and the shipment of the item which will be handle by my shipper. As soon as you receive the payment which will be mailed to you, you deduct the fees for the item and send the rest balance to my shipper information via Western Union / money gram. I will give you the information as soon as you receive the payment and my shipper will contact you for the shipment processes. Let me know if you can handle this perfectly. Of course you can but just let me know. I will like you to email me your Full Name, Address and Mobile Phone Number or Land Phone Number so that the payment can be made very soon.

How ironic that he is requesting this of Ilyce, a personal finance and consumer columnist who has videos that describe scams like this.

If you are selling anything online make sure to watch out for scams like this. You should never have to send someone money back when they purchase from you. Nor should you have to provide personal information like this buyer wanted.

April 14, 2008.