Craigslist is definitely an excellent resource. Many people and businesses use this website to find employment and employees, to find material goods such as furniture, and to source products that otherwise you wouldn’t find in the market such as specialty goods. However, the platform isn’t perfect, and many people, including those in the Austin, Texas area, have been victims of scams. These come at a hefty price, and some have lost hundreds or even thousands unsuspectingly from scammers that are quite rampant on the website. If you’re looking to do some shopping on Craigslist, here are five money scams to definitely watch out for.
1. iPhone scam
We all know that iPhones can be expensive, especially when you’re buying them absolutely brand new. Many people opt to buy from private users selling their older phones just to save a couple of hundred or even more. One man in Austin was trying to buy his wife an iPhone through Craigslist. He thought he was getting a good deal after he paid $560 for an iPhone. By the time he got home later on that day, him and his wife realized that their account had been suspended by AT&T only to find out that the iPhone they acquired were actually stolen. The man was able meet with the scammer again to get his money back plus more, and he actually captured the entire interaction on video as well.
2. Rental scam
This has become quite an issue in Austin as rental scammers have been getting very bold in their approach. Many renters are often forced to look at other options in renting because living is not cheap in Austin, especially in the main city areas. Anytime you come across a property that’s renting for a lot less than what the professionals tell you, you should be alarmed right away. Many people are claiming to be renting properties that are not their own. It’s easy to collect money orders or set up meeting with people that are so desperate to find a cheaper rental property. Never pay up for anything that you just haven’t seen in person. Otherwise you could become the next victim.
3. Paypal scam
Here’s another great resource that’s being used inappropriately and abused by Craigslist scammers. Paypal is a money exchange service that allows people to make financial transactions directly without the use of direct debit or credit card transactions. Many scammers in Austin are using Paypal to get people for their money. For this scam, scammers will target people who are unfamiliar with the Paypal process. If you are selling something, they will try to get you to sign up for Paypal, which sends emails to the subscriber after money has been wired to their account. Paypal scammers would somehow get you the wire transfer email but without the money that’s supposed to go with it.
4. Vehicle sales scam
Many people sell their cars to private entities with no problems. However, you have to be extra careful these days if you’re planning on buying or selling cars on Craigslist Austin. Scammers have figured out a way to easily launder money through unsuspecting Craigslist users. Some car buyers will look for cars to buy and overpay for the vehicle by a few hundred or thousands. This should alert you right away if you have someone wanting to pay a lot more for what you’re selling. When they ask you to refund the money that they’ve overpaid, then you’ll know that it’s actually a scam.
5. Counterfeit money scam
Scammers in Austin have taken scamming to the next level these days by actually counterfeiting money. These scammers are actually printing fake money on bond paper using regular laser printers in order to make money. What these scammers would do is buy small items using large fake bills such as $50 or $100. They would then get the change back in real bills and make money that way. Other counterfeiters would use the fake money to buy gift cards, while some have even been reported to use fake money to buy large ticket items. They would then return these large items for a full refund just days after, making a ton of money in the process.
A Guide To Using Craigslist Austin
There is much more to Austin, Texas than just the live jazz music downtown at night. This is a vibrant and thriving community with much to offer. Because of that diversity, there are many items to buy and sell amongst the local people. Craigslist has become a popular medium by which to do this. It is a place where literally thousands of people across Austin every week buy and sell merchandise, some it new and much of it used. As with almost anything in life, however, there are more a few unscrupulous individuals out there who seek to wreak havoc on the entire system. If you are going to go online in search of your next treasure, or you wish to sell something there, continue reading to better understand how to effectively use Craigslist Austin.
What is Craigslist?
If you are not familiar with Craigslist, it is first important to understand what it is before you make effective use of it. This is basically an online marketplace that is free for the local community to use. It is designed for individuals to put up things for sale and then find a willing buyer that they can negotiate with offline to complete the purchase. It is also useful for people who are looking for something, as an ad can be placed on the site whereby your intentions are announced for everyone to see. Somebody out there just might have exactly what you are looking for. It is a place where announcements can be made and services offered. All of this is free, which is obviously where much of the appeal comes from.
You will need a registered email address to submit an ad posting. Any posting goes through a brief review process to ensure that it is legal and that is everything is in order. Once it goes live, anybody on the Austin Craigslist site will have access to what you have said. It is at that point that you might just start getting emails or calls. Alternatively, many people use Craigslist to look for used items that they might not necessarily want to purchase new. Think of a garage sale coming online. No matter where you are in the Austin area, you just find that smartphone or car that you have been looking for. Just about any type of merchandise can be advertised and sold on the site.
Make Your Ad Concise and to the Point
When you are advertising something for sale in Austin on Craigslist, you want to make it short and concise. Let people know exactly what you have. Do not beat around the bush. You also want to be open and transparent. You are eventually going to meet the person that is offering to buy what you have listed for sale. Do not make that moment awkward by forgetting to mention that the screen of your ‘like new’ iPhone is cracked. If you are advertising a product for sale, include some pictures. Craigslist Austin makes this is easy to do. Just upload them right on the site and then the public will be able to visually see what you are offering for sale. Avoid including any personally identifiable markings in the picture that might indicate where you live or work. This is all in line with the best practices for remaining safe while conducting online activities.
Set the Right Price
One of the wonderful things about Craigslist Austin is that you get to set your own price. This is also where it gets a bit tricky. You do not want to see a price so high that nobody will call you, but you don’t want to put it so low that you look shady. Remember that a price on Craigslist is not set in stone. Most people will try to bargain with you, so start with a fair price and then go from there.
There are many places in Austin where you can meet a prospective customer. Unless you know the person that has agreed to look at what you have to sell, you will want to meet in a public location. Starbucks is a popular choice, as are some of the many local malls around town. Feel free to take someone with you, or let someone know where you are going and when you are due back. This is part of being safe while online. If the nature of your product requires that the individual comes to the house, as in the case of a grand piano, for example, leave the door open and try to arrange the meeting during the day when others are home.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker