There has been no shortage in the coverage surrounding the troubling conditions in Flint, Michigan. We have all heard about the toxic water conditions there and the health impact associated with it, and there was recent news that the top medical official in the state will be facing criminal charges associated with the water fiasco. If the people of Flint did not already have enough to deal with, they are also being targeted for scams by way of Craigslist. Craigslist can be a great place to sell and buy all types of products and services, but it has become fertile ground for scammers. To help people in the Flint area avoid some of these scams, we have listed five money scams that people should be on the lookout for.
1. The Rental Property Scam
The rental property money scam has become increasingly common over the last couple of years, and it can be executed in a number of different ways. One of the most common ways that scammer executes this scheme is to list a property on Craigslist that they don’t have the right to rent or sell. When a potential renter responds, they collect application fees, deposit, and the first month's rent. By the time that the potential renter has discovered the ruse, it is too late, their money is gone. One woman recently lost $1,200 to this type of scammer.
2. The Check Scam
Another very common scam in the Flint and Mid-Michigan area is the use of fake checks to ruse people out of their hard-earned cash. The way it normally works is that the scammers will respond to an ad for a product for sale. They will agree to the price, but when the check from the buyer is received, it will be far more than the asking price. The scammer will say that they accidentally made the check out for more, and that the seller can simply wire back the extra money. Unfortunately, by the time it is all said and done, the seller finds out that the check is fake, but they have already wired the buyer money from their own account.
3. The House for Sale Scam
This money scam takes the rental property scam to new heights. In the rental scam, it never gets to the point of people moving into the property, but in this scam, there are times when families will actually move into a property that think they are purchasing through owner financing or at least entering into a long-term lease. What has actually happened is the scammers have somehow gained access to the house and they are actually showing it. When they collect the money, they allow the family to actually move into the house. This gives the scammer more time to create distance before the scam is detected.
4. The Babysitter Money Scam
Okay, I thought I had seen and heard it all, but this is a new one. A man used his computer to dupe teenagers who were looking for babysitting gigs. He would hold mock interviews at a local Starbucks and he would charge the teens $20 dollars for a background check. Unfortunately these job candidates would never see him again after giving him the money. According to sources, this was being done in multiple states. Despite being from Flint, the suspect is being investigated in Indiana as well. It is obvious that he has been busy, and it is likely that more victims will be coming forth in the near future.
5. Counterfeit Cash Scam
With all of the new safeguards in place when printing money, you would think that counterfeiters would have given up; however, there are stories of teens printed some pretty convincing fakes from their computer at home. With that being said, it should not be surprising that there are people on Craigslist buying items with fake cash. When it comes to Craigslist transactions, the discomfort of dealing with someone you don’t know can lead to hurrying the transaction, and scammer count on that. Another thing that they count on is the naturally discomfort of checking money that someone has given you. People don’t want to act like they don’t trust someone, so they will scan the money with the intent on counting or checking it later. Unfortunately, in this type of situation, there is very little recourse one the perpetrators are gone.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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