Bostonians use the popular classified advertising site Craigslist to post items they want to sell, rent or trade. It's a great site for people who are both buying and selling to get great deals on furniture, cars, trucks, RVs and much more. Job opportunities are posted on the site as well as listings for homes that are for rent or for sale. While most people conduct successful and satisfying transactions on the site, there has been a rash of scam activity taking place. This makes it vital for everyone to be aware and careful not to fall for one of these elaborate money stealing schemes. Here are five money scams to watch out for on Craigslist Boston.
1. Phantom rentals on Craigslist Boston
Local resident Jonathan Scott tells of the many people who showed up at his Provincetown home, expecting to take possession of their new rental. It happened four times in the last year. Scammers got information about his home and posted his residence as a vacation rental. The would-be renters come to his apartment to pick up a set of keys supposedly to a two-family house they secured through the Craigslist website. The home is not for rent and it never has been. The out of town visitors only learn that they've been duped when they show up to pick up the keys and they're informed by Scott that his home is not for rent and they have been scammed.
2. Seller narrowly avoids getting ripped off in buying scam
A woman from the Boston area posted a warning about a recent scam that she encountered. She was getting ready to remodel her kitchen and was selling her old kitchen cabinets on Craigslist. She took pictures and then listed them for sale. The next day a text message showing interest in the cabinets was sent. The number was from Florida and they guy said that his name was John. He agreed with the price of cabinets and couldn't come to take a look at them but wanted to send a certified check. He offered an extra $50 if she would hold them until the movers arrived to pick them up. She agreed and gave him her address. Another text came from Los Angeles offering the same kind of deal but she informed them it was already sold. She received several more texts like this. She started to become suspicious and checked into it. She learned that this was a scam operation and when the check came it was for a large amount over the agreed upon price. She was instructed to cash the check and wire the excess to him. She knew it was a scam at this point and didn't fall for it, but it was close.
3. Rental scams to beware of
There are several rental scams that are currently active on Craigslist Boston. The person who posted this is warning everyone to avoid responding to these ads. They will contact you right away but they will steal your money. They ask you to wire the deposit and first month's rent and promise to mail you the keys. The keys never arrive and they disappear with your hard earned cash.
4. Suspect nabbed in Craigslist Boston apartment scam
A 34-year old man was arrested for listing apartments for rent on Craigslist that he didn't own. Jayson Fallis is the con artist who advertised the rentals and collected $11,000 from nine different victims who paid the $850 a month in rent he was asking and also gave him deposit money. The scam left some of the victims, including single moms and their kids homeless.
5. Consumer hotline warns of active scams and complaints
Everyone needs to be on alert in the Craigslist Boston service area. There were two complaints lodged on the Consumer Hotline about fake buyers scamming sellers out of their money and getting their personal information. When a person lists an item on Craigslist, the con artists respond and act interested. They agree on a price and get the seller's information to send them a check. When the check arrives, it's sent for way too much money. The scammer sends a message telling the seller to wire the extra money back to them after cashing the check. The problem is that the check clears their bank account, only to be returned a few days later. They're out the cash and have to pay the fees on the fraudulent check.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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