The popular website Craigslist is a place where people come to buy and sell items of all kinds, not to mention advertising services like housekeeping and yard maintenance. It's a wonderful idea in theory but from time to time, news of several scams starts to make the rounds involving Craigslist. The biggest problem with the website is the same one that practically every other website has that is designed for people to come together in order to buy and sell goods. Unfortunately, people aren't always honest. Once they find out that they can scam someone else out of money on Craigslist, or any other site for that matter, they're more than happy to do it repeatedly. That's why you have to be so careful when it comes to answering these ads or even putting up ads of your own. Below are five of the biggest scams that have recently been affecting the Dallas, Texas area.
1. Grab the Merchandise and Run
This is probably one of the oldest scams on Craigslist and it happens not only in Dallas, but virtually everywhere. In this particular case, the man selling an item was selling a gaming system and had agreed to meet the individual interested in buying it in a public place. They pulled into a busy Kroger grocery store parking lot and the man was supposed to have cash for the system. He attempts to fast-talk the seller, probably hoping to distract him so that once he gets the gaming system in his car he can make a mad dash for it, never intending to pay for the gaming system begin with. In this case, the seller was more savvy than most people and recorded the whole incident on his phone, including recording the license plate number of the car the person was driving.
2. A New Twist on the Housing Scam
There are all types of housing scams on Craigslist, but this one was a little more creative. An ad was placed offering to sublease a spacious apartment with the first two months rent paid, provided that the family that moved in could pay a one-time down payment of $300 and put up the first month's rent of $750, effectively meaning that for a little more than $1,000 they could live there for three months without having to come up with any additional money. The problem is, every single person that responded to the ad was accepted and given duplicate keys. By the time the move-in date came, it was too late to find the perpetrator and multiple people were left without a place to call home.
3. Another Gaming System Scam
This is another scam involving the purchase of a gaming system, this time using counterfeit bills to do the job. Unfortunately, the seller didn't realize that the bills weren't real until it was too late so the guy got away with the gaming system and didn't pay a dime in real money for any of it. Most people know that they should only accept cash when they're dealing with buying and selling things on Craigslist. Now you know that even when you take cash, it's important to look at it and make sure it's not funny money before you let the items you’re selling get into someone else's hands.
4. Bike Scam
This one involved selling a fake bike and asking the buyer to put the money up in a special account where it was supposed to be frozen until he decided whether or not he actually wanted to buy the bike after test-driving it. Obviously, once the money went into that account where it was supposed to be held, it was long gone. If there ever was a bike in question, the buyer never saw it but he wound up losing $2,000 and the seller is nowhere to be found.
5. Selling Hot or Totaled Cars
People like to sell cars on Craigslist in the Dallas area. The problem is, most of the cars they seem to be selling are either not theirs to sell in the first place, because they're stolen, or they've been completely totaled in an accident and the buyer doesn't find out about it until after they've already paid for it. Either way, the buyer is left with no money and no car.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker