While Craigslist can be a great place to pick up a used couch or buy some second-hand sports equipment, it can also be a place to get conned with more Craigslist scams popping up all the time. It is important to recognize the signs of a Craigslist scam so you don’t become the latest victim of an Internet scammer.
One Craigslist scam is the popular apartment scam, where a “landlord” posts a listing describing an unbelievable bargain price for an apartment with great amenities and in a perfect location. The “landlord” then proceeds to collect as many deposits for the apartment as he can, before disappearing and leaving potential renters to find out that it was never the “landlord’s” apartment to rent in the first place. Another version of this scam involves a middleman. This is when a person claims to be acting on behalf of the owner, who is out of town, and the person collects a deposit before disappearing and leaving the potential renter to discover the home/apartment was never for rent in the first place.
To avoid these Craiglist scams, it is important to always verify that the landlord is either the owner of the home or apartment, or represents the company who owns the home or apartment.
There are also scams out there that target landlords. One is a scam where a would-be renter sends a deposit but realizes they have sent too much money. The scammer then explains to the landlord that paying too much has put him into financial trouble and asks the landlord to wire the excess funds back to him immediately. The landlord wires the money, before realizing that the initial check is not valid.
To avoid this Craiglist scam, make sure to follow up on all renter’s references and credit checks and do not accept more money than is required.
There are also Craigslist scams involving selling a vehicle. These include a buyer paying with a fake cashier’s check or money order, and like the apartment scam, the buyer pays too much money and asks for the excess funds to be wired back immediately. Of course, the seller later finds out that the initial payment was a fake. Another scam is when a scammer senses a potential buyer’s hesitation so he offers to have the buyer wire funds to a company, such as Western Union, where it will be kept into an escrow account. However, an email is sent to the buyer from a spoof email account, and the funds are then wired to a fake escrow account.
Remember, to avoid being scammed when buying a car on Craigslist, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. When possible, always try to meet the seller in person. And proceed in caution when the sellers seems to be in a hurry to get the deal done immediately.
In addition to these Craigslist scams, others can include listings for fake jobs that ask the new employee to cover some costs with their own cash, fake Craigslist websites, and ticket scams where people are sold fake tickets to concerts.
So while shopping for a bargain can be a blast on Craigslist, it is important to always be vigilant and look out for Craigslist scams.