Craigslist is a website with thousands of classified advertisements for sourcing anything from items, housing, gigs, sales, services to devoted jobs. In fact, Craigslist is the largest online classified ads section not just in the U.S. but in the world. Currently, it is available in approximately 500 cities and in 70 countries globally.
Just like any other website dealing with classified advertisements and forums, it’s vulnerability to internet scams cannot be over-emphasized. There is always a lurking danger that awaits a potential client looking to buy, trade, search for a job, or any other form of engagement that involves sourcing from the Craigslist website.
It is imperative for anyone looking to buy or sell in this platform to be aware of how scammers unleash these tricks on unsuspecting users. What is however notable about these scams is that they follow a similar pattern which is replicated in other trading platforms such as eBay. Learn the common patterns and tricks which will enable you to recognize and not fall victim to any of them.
Common Scams and How to Spot them
Craigslist Vehicle Scams
Car sales have become a booming business with people looking to engage in buying and selling of cars. With the high demand and so many transactions and exchanges going on, scammers have took notice, and now postings fraudulently has increased on the site. This proves to be a nightmare in the urban areas where the sales are very active.
How to Identify Craigslist Vehicle Scam
There are several signs that that enticing car sale posting you’re viewing isn’t genuine. They include:
- Any posting without the contact details of the purported seller.
- If the seller insists on using the Western Union platform to transact.
If you notice either of these two signs, beware. A genuine seller should provide valid contact details and provide a variety of verified payment options.
Craigslist Scam Tickets
Selling and purchasing tickets is available on Craigslist. This includes tickets for popular events and festivals, airline tickets, and sporting tickets.
How to Identify Craigslist Scam Tickets
With some events costing thousands of dollars per ticket, this is bound to present an opportunity for scammers. So, how do you know that the ticket you’re about to purchase is another Craigslist scam? Well, the ticket is highly likely to be a scam if:
- They are proposing the transaction take place privately rather than publicly.
- They are selling tickets that look differently from the original tickets. You have to know what the original tickets look like though.
- They are selling tickets at a much lower price than the normal price. Cheap tickets can only mean that they are either counterfeit or they are stolen.
Money Orders and Check Scams on Craigslist
The scam is more commonly initiated through an email bearing grammatical errors and drafted in an odd manner. It will involve catchy phrases disguised as an official tone. The language is designed in a way that it will attract and excite you into a confused state. Nigeria 419 is an example of a very well-known scam email. They will use your trusted institutions’ documents and labels to convince you.
You have to approach this with caution due to the possibility of being scammed through receiving counterfeit money or the transaction can be manipulated from the other end to bounce back to the sender. You should always verify with your banking institution about the money received, and if it requires for you to spare a few days so that the money can register as received, the better.
How to Identify Money and Checks Scam
- When a relatively simple sale requires an inclusion of a “business partner”.
- Payment after delivery by clients from far countries.
Craigslist Escrow Services Scam
As a seller or a buyer, how well do you recognize the client you are about to conduct business with or the product you want to purchase is the right one? This is why the Third-party Escrows services were introduced to be able to protect sellers and buyers from scams when making transactions. However, the scammers have come up with a way to disguise as Escrows taking advantage to dupe unsuspecting people.
How to Identify an Escrow Service Scam
- Through searching for the business name and domain of the Escrow service with a search engine so you know whether they are legit.
- If the only way to contact them is via email or phone and no physical offices, then there is a possibility that they are a scam.
Purchase Protection Program Scam
When you inquire about an item through your email, you receive an acknowledging email of a confirmed purchase from Craigslist. This statement should raise a red flag that you are about to be scammed. Craigslist does not offer the “purchase protection program” and it does not either offer any form of transaction backing. At the Craigslist posting, there are some alert boxes that a buyer or a seller is required to pay attention to because they warn about any possible scams on Craigslist
How to Spot a Purchase Protection Program Scam on Craigslist
- If you receive an invoice-like document.
- If you get a statement like that claims to offer program protection it is possibly a scam
Stay Safe on Craigslist
The number of website platforms offering trading opportunities is on the rise. It is also true that the number of people who are being scammed every day through the ways mentioned above is also increasing. Being scammed doesn’t mean that you can’t recover what was stolen from you. You can always get help if you know exactly where to get it from.
If you are a victim of a Craigslist scam, the private investigators at Beau Dietl & Associates can help. Get in touch with us today.