Craigslist has long been a popular online resource for people in the Altoona area to post items that they have for sale to the public. It's a place where you can find everything from furniture to trucks, cars motorcycles, RVs, cars and farm equipment. Homeowners who buy new appliances often offer their used models on the site on the cheap. It used to be a good place to find homes for sale or rent but in recent years this has changed.
There is an ever increasing number of scammers who post fake ads on the site that are bent on depriving you of your hard earned cash and leaving you with nothing in return. Here are five money scams that you need to be on guard for on Craigslist Altoona.
1. Perry-Wellington Realty pros warning locals about rental scams
Professional realtors in the area are stepping up to inform the public about a rash of scams that are appearing on Craigslist. Con artists are stealing listings that the realtor posts on other sites and they're taking the photos of the homes and using the details including the address to advertise the homes for rent.
The fake owners make excuses why they can't meet in person and they go so far as to have interested parties complete a rental application. This is how they get your personal information for identity theft. They tell you to drive by the home and if you want it, you're required to send the deposit and rent via money transfer. They promise to mail you a set of keys to the home when they receive the funds, but the keys never come and after the money is sent, they stop all communication.
2. University ticked sale fraud
Beware of advertisements for University football game admission tickets. The University of Penn State have arrested suspects accused of selling fake tickets to fans who were hoping to attend a game. The tickets that were sold to victims have invalid bar codes. The buyers didn't realize that they have become the victims of a crime until they attempted to use them and were turned away at the gate. It's always best to buy game and other event tickets from a reliable source instead of from a stranger because this type of scam is becoming more common on Craigslist.
3. Another rental scam in the area
The local police are warning residents about an online apartment scam. Con artists are pretending to be property owners of homes they found for rent on other sites. They use the photos and details about the apartments. They offer them for low monthly rent fees and even have you complete an application and lease agreement. They scam you in two ways by getting the money you wire them and by getting your personal information for identity fraud. Only deal with property owners/managers who you can verify as being legitimate and who are willing to deal with you in person.
4. Fake check scams in Altoona Craigslist
Beware of this scam that is becoming more common on Craigslist in the Altoona area. Scammers offer to give you a job as a secret shopper and then send you a check for more than they agreed upon. You're to deposit the check in your bank and wire the excess funds back to them. If you do, the check will turn up as a fake within a few days and you'll be held responsible for the entire amount plus bank fees. The person you dealt with online will stop all communication with you and you'll be out the money because it's dificult to track funds which have been sent via wire transfer.
5. Paypal scam
Beware of the Paypal scam that has been surfacing on Craigslist sites throughout the nation. Scammers have become so sophisticated that they have created a fake Paypal link to make you think that you're using a safe resource for sending and receiving money. Although the legitimate Paypal offers you protection, this fake Paypal email that they're using now makes you think that a payment has been sent to your account when it really hasn't. It's also been used by scammers by sending you the link in an authentic looking email for buying cars and other big ticket items. Don't deal with people who are not willing to meet with you personally and pay in cash.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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