Everyone wants to be savvy and avoid online fraud. With so many cons out there it's a little hard to know what to look for. It can seem like someone is coming up with some new way to take money from honest people every day. The bad news is that someone somewhere in the world is probably doing exactly that. Fortunately, you don't have to 'just take it,' especially when it comes to scams on Craigslist Tyler. Craigslist has always tried to help warn people about potential theft. They work with local and national law enforcement whenever possible. However, as a consumer, you should be taking steps to protect yourself. Get familiar with the more common scams and keep an eye out for new ones:
1. The Vehicle Wrap Scam
It's hard to know who is on the up-and-up these days, but it seems as though Craigslist gets more than their share of those who are sketchy or downright predatory. The Car Wrap Scam is a Tyler Craigslist Scam you may want to watch out for. The details in all of these schemes can change but in general, the concept is the same. The car wrap scheme was perpetrated against a local man who was just looking to pick up a little extra side work for his small business. He posted on CL seeking work like so many of us do. Instead of getting a call from someone who wanted to hire him for business reasons he got a rather unusual offer.
At first, this makes perfect sense because he drives around all day for work. The respondent asked him to have a car wrap done to advertise their business. In exchange, he'd be paid every week. There are companies that pay drivers to advertise their products, though most of them are huge corporations. In need of some extra cash the man agrees and is told he will get a check in the mail for deposit. Part of the check he is to send to the company to do the car wrap, and the rest he can keep as his first week's pay. This doesn't seem so bad, but the check comes in an envelope from a different state than the address on the check itself. So he goes digging to see why. It's a scam.
If he deposited the check and forwarded the money, all $1,700 of it, to the fake company that would not be doing a wrap on his car, then he'd be out almost two thousand dollars of his own money because he'd owe the bank when the check turned out to be false. These predators rely on people in need and use a loophole in banking to get money that doesn't exist sent to them. Because it takes longer to verify a check than to clear one, the person whose account the money goes through is temporarily spending money they don't actually possess. Fortunately, he caught on in time, but you don't want to get caught spending money that doesn't exist.
2. The Bait-and-Switch
In 2012 a couple came up with what they probably thought was an ingenious scam to get some free money. They posted an ad about an iPad for sale. They didn't have an iPad, or if they did they certainly had no intention of selling it. However, people responded unknowingly. Ipads are always in demand after all. They would arrange to meet in a parking lot. The victims, thinking they were going to buy a new iPad would, in good faith, go get some cash for the sale. They'd show up and receive a wrapped and tied bag the size and shape of an iPad. Being decent people, they would then hand over the cash and go to inspect the merchandise that required some unwrapping to see.
Unfortunately, the bags only held notebooks, and not the kind from Dell, just regular paper notebooks. In the meantime, the seller would have run off. After a handful of similar police reports, the local authorities caught up to the scammers. It goes to show that greed doesn't pay, at least not forever. Still, quite a few Tyler residents were out some cash and it's likely they didn't get it back. Even when a Craigslist criminal gets caught, that doesn't guarantee justice for the victims.
3. The Holiday Job Scam
A local college student who was just trying to get by ran into a job seekers scam during the holidays. She was looking for a job and had been responding to posts on Craigslist. Eventually, she came across a nice employer who told her that while he'd filled the position he had originally advertised, he did need a personal secretary. Naturally, there was a catch. He claimed he was out of town and couldn't meet right away. He did, however, need her to start right away and help him handle some business. The grateful job seeker took the opportunity and agreed.
Not unlike the car-wrap scam, the young woman was given checks. In her case, it was several of them. She deposited them and sent out the money he asked to "pay clients," for him. Not long after her bank informed her the checks were forged. Sadly the story gets worse for this young woman. Because she paid out about eight thousand dollars, the bank demanded repayment. Failure to do so could result in a lawsuit or worse for her and she was forced to pay for getting scammed.
4. The Background Check Scam
People fall for this quick and dirty scam all the time. Job seekers see a post for a desirable position and respond. The poster then demands they send a small amount of money for a background check. The job seeker agrees and sends off some of their own money. Predictably, the money and the job poster disappear. These cons aren't making a fortune, but they can get away with it very easily. Some victims may even think they failed the check or the poster hired someone more desirable. They don't realize they've been had. Even when they do it can go unreported because the amounts are small.
5. National Babysitter Scam
This isn't specific to the Tyler area, it happens everywhere to nannies and babysitters. A job ad goes up and anyone who wants the work responds. Typically, this is for a babysitter, but sometimes it's elder care or pet care. They are selected for the 'job,' and negotiations commence. There is always a sob story. The job poster lives out of town and they need more than just a caretaker. They need to send money ahead for a wheelchair because the child or elder is disabled. Sometimes it's to have the nanny forward money for rent and then they'll get keys to the apartment, or they need to go grocery shopping so the poster can have food in the fridge when they arrive.
The gist is that they need your name and information to send you money. Like the car wrap scheme, they will ask you to pay out money, but they also have your private information to try and use later. The moral of these stories are all the same, be careful on Craigslist. Plenty of good and decent people post there every day, but they aren't alone. If something seems too good, it is. If someone wants to meet somewhere unusual, don't go. Don't take checks, sign up on links strangers email you for anything or accept/send money unless you can verify the source.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker