Craigslist is known worldwide for their classifieds for just about anything - from toys to furniture, however just as common are the Craigslist scams.
a few simple clicks and an email address, anyone can post wanted and 'for
sale' items. However, everyone needs to be aware and distinguish valid and
scam posts in Craigslist.
There are many ways that scammers operate on Craigslist. The most common of the Craigslist scams is the fake check.
It usually starts with someone showing sincere interest in a high price item you have listed. Sometimes they may haggle with the price to appear to be a legitimate buyer, but often they will simply accept your asking price. But, they will have some excuse as to why they cannot just come purchase the item directly from you.
Some may say they are on vacation or away on business, while others may just
say they live in another area or another state and would like to send you a
check and have the item shipped to them. Or, they could claim to have
someone else come pick the item up later.
Next, they either send you a fake check for the item that will eventually be rejected by your bank after they have taken the item, or they will request that you give them your name, address, and phone number so they can fill out a cashier’s check to you.
In this first case they are trying to get the item for free. The fake check
will eventually be dishonored by your bank, leaving you with an overdrawn
account and no item. In the second case, they are not interested in your
item at all.
They want your personal information to use for illegal purposes. Escrow companies are now becoming a popular Craigslist scam. Many people have been using escrow services as a way of ensuring transactions dealing with larger amounts of money are safe for both the buyer and the seller.
The problem is many of these little known escrow companies are owned
by the scammer on one end of the transaction.
In this case, a scammer will set up the escrow account and list an expensive item on Craigslist for a very low, tempting price. When they rope in unsuspecting buyers, they instruct them to use the escrow account to ensure everything goes smooth.
The victims go to the website for the scammer’s escrow account [not knowing it is owned by the seller] and put in their personal information, including bank account or credit card number.
The scammer, or “seller,” then has their personal information and access to their credit card or bank account and simply disappears to use it.
Craigslist provides the following advice on avoiding scams to anyone using
The three most common signs of Craigslist scams are:
The main Craigslist Scams are:
If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.
If you happen to see something on Craigslist that looks scammy, you should
send an email to "email@example.com" and give them as much detail as you
can about the listing.
Make sure you include the URL (or 8 digit post ID number) in your email. If you're selling something and you think a scammer has expressed interest, forward it to "firstname.lastname@example.org".