The good old days when Bay Area residents could go find a great
deal on old furniture, apartments, jobs, etc on Craigslist are gone.
Now Craigslist has become a behemoth that covers many cities, and countries and has become seriously infested with many scammers. Over the next few pages I will give you dozens of great tips to know how to spot scams on Craigslist, and how to avoid scams on Craigslist.
On any given day, you can go search for a used vehicle and what will you find? Lets take for example a quick scan and we find a 2003 Dodge Caravan, 45,000 miles, selling
for $2,900. Similar vehicles sell for $8,000. Wow, that is a great
deal. So we send a quick email to the seller and he responds from
his email email@example.com.
Turns out he's in the army and can't take phone calls, but that's
ok, he'll have a third party escrow BuyerProtector.us ship the
car to you and send along an invoice. He also states that we have 5
days to return the car if we're not fully satisfied. Seems like a
great deal. In the mean time he sends the invoice for the $2,900.
Wait a minute! I thought the invoice was coming with the car? See
anything wrong here?
Some of you more trusting, or more greedy readers may not. After all there is a really nice carrot hanging on the end of that stick, right? An $8,000 car for $2,900? See a scam yet? This is one of the most basic Craigslist scams. I knew you would see it. It's really quite simple, he gets the money and you never get a car. This is your basic phishing scam. The only effort these crooks had to put into this was to create a phony email, that looks legit. How many people are going to question a soldier? The email redirects to any server he wants in any part of the world. Any part outside the scope of the US laws of coarse.
The other part of the scam is to create a legit sounding third party escrow like the one he was trying to use BuyerProtector.us based on the real BuyerGuardian.com. If you ever come across a situation where someone is using a third party escrow, you can bet your life it's a scam. The old, "I can't meet you in person" or "I travel a lot" or whatever other excuses they have are just scams. The worst part is that no matter what Craigslist staff does to stop these scammers they will never succeed. Why, because no matter what road blocks you put up, those will only hurt honest people. The scammers have a huge resource base and are changing their techniques all the time. Craigslist hurts more the average Joe trying to sell his product or services than they will ever hurt scammers in Africa, Haytti, Russia or any place else.
You on the other hand can protect yourself better than Craigslist ever can. A few simple rules to follow to avoid being scammed are:
1- If they contact you , ask yourself WHY? Are you really so lucky?
2- If they can't talk to you on the phone be very leery. Are they concerned you'll spot their accent as not being local?
3- NEVER send money ahead of receiving your product or service.
4- Check it out online line any place else and see if someone else may have come across the same scam.
5- If this is all just to much trouble for you and you really don't want to be scammed, just avoid Craigslist all together. It's like safe sex, if you don't do it, you won't get burned. Because if you do get scammed, you can forget about getting any help from Craigslist or the US government. You can kiss that money good-by.