What is a Craigslist Scam?

Craigslist provides a complicated platform where people are allowed to deal with things devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community service, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums. In spite of the convenience brought by Craigslist, Craigslist scams are always met on it as well. After all, where there’s money concerned, there are scams.

What is a Craigslist scam?

Generally speaking, any behavior to cheat people on their money on Craigslist is called a Craigslist scam. Most scam attempts have one or more of the following features:

  • Email or text from someone that is not local to your area
  • Vague initial inquiry
  • Poor grammar/spelling is generated during the process of communication
  • Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction
  • Other payments are suggested, or other item fees are required like Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, Paypal, Zelle, shipping, escrow service, or a “guarantee”

Common Craigslist Scams

Apartment or House Rental Scams

Landlord scammers usually cook up a house or apartment with a perfect rental (apparently lower than the market price). Moreover, some buyers always compete for the bargain, leading you to believe that you should make an instant decision so as not to miss it. As soon as a deposit is paid, the scammer will win.

Auto Dealing Scams

Buying a car from an individual saves hundreds or thousands of dollars so Craigslist provides an opportunity to let it take place. Unfortunately, scammers think the same. The most ordinary auto dealing scam occurs just because of fake “money” that possibly comes from a fake check, order, or bill. A seller gives the car as a check is seen. As soon as the check is found to be fake, it’s too late to retrieve the car. It also occurs when a transfer wire is concerned.

Fake Craigslist Guarantee

Fake Craigslist guarantee scams typically work something like this. After making first contact with the seller, the buyer receives an official-looking email that appears to come from Craigslist. The email assures the buyer that Craigslist has researched the seller and approved the transaction as safe. The buyer must pay for this service by wiring money or providing payment card information through a “secure” payment portal. The entire exercise is a setup to take the buyer’s money or steal their credit card. Craigslist does not offer buyer protection, so any offer of such a service is fraudulent.

Craigslist Employment Scam

If a foreign company is offering to pay you simply for receiving payments from US-based customers on their behalf, this is a fraud aimed at acquiring your bank and personal information. When evaluating Craigslist job postings, try to research the company to make sure it is reputable. Does the company have a US-based headquarters? Is this job also posted on their career page or other sites? If someone offers to hire you with no background check or interview, it may be a Craigslist scam.

Fake Ticket or Event Pass Scam

Craigslist is a great place to look for tickets to sold-out concerts, sporting events, and other exclusive outings for which tickets aren’t available through regular channels. Unfortunately, many offers of tickets and event passes for sale on Craigslist are fraudulent. When genuine, these credentials are worth many hundreds or even thousands of dollars — for example, season tickets and sideline passes for an NFL franchise — and the seller prices them accordingly. But when the buyer tries to use them, they’re told that the tickets aren’t real.

Phony Escrow Sites

Craigslist buyers should also be wary of phony escrow sites. Escrow companies are used to holding money during a transaction, and only transfer the money once a deal has been satisfied. They are commonly used in the buying and selling of homes or other expensive purchases. A seller offering to use an escrow company to hold the money may make a buyer feel more at ease. However, they will often link to illegitimate websites. These fake escrow sites look like the real thing but have been created by criminals and scammers to steal your money and personally-identifying information.

How to avoid Craigslist scams?

You will not be trapped in Craigslist scams if you know the warning signs to watch out for. It is a good mantra to follow as told “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is” when buying or selling on the site. Once you know the common red flags to look for, you can avoid many scams.

  • Only deal locally with people you can meet in person for the transaction
  • Don’t wire funds or use electronic payments until the product is in your possession.
  • Don’t accept cashier/certified checks or money orders.
  • Don’t use your primary telephone number if possible. Use the second phone number app like Easyline to protect your data security on Craigslist
  • Don’t give out personal information online (bank account, social security, PayPal, etc.).
  • Don’t let the lucrative deals blind your wise judgments and proceed with caution.
  • Don’t accept cashier/certified checks or money orders.
  • Don’t send payment to anyone you haven’t met in person.

Craigslist is a helpful marketplace that facilitates the easy exchange of used goods in many communities. If you know what to look for to avoid these common Craigslist scams, you can buy or sell what you need there and use the site as the local swap meet it was intended to be. In addition to using it with caution, it’s an effective way to get a second phone number-Easyline specially designed for small businesses and individuals concerned about the data breach. Follow these guidelines to help stay safe on Craigslist.

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