While many people successfully buy and sell cars, homes and other items on Craigslist, the number of scammers is increasing. It’s hard to know who to trust, so the best advice is to trust nobody and insist on verifiable facts before you exchange money for goods and services. In our research, we identified five money scams that you need to be aware of and watch out for on Craigslist Houston.
1. Single Dad is victim of Craigslist Houston car scam
A man from Houston responded to an ad placed by a poster from Katy about a car listed for sale. At the time that he made arrangements to meet with the man to look at the vehicle and possibly negotiate a sale, he had no idea that he was walking into a carefully laid trap to lure him to a place where he would be robbed of his money and left with nothing to show for it. He had borrowed $3,000 from his sister and met the man at a Katy Walmart. They had agreed on thee terms, but then the seller took the money and disappeared. He had told the buyer that he needed to look at the VIN number of thee vehicle but he didn’t come back. When the buyer went to thee location where the car had been parked it was gone and so was his money. After reporting the incident to police, it was discovered that he was only one of several victims of the scam.
2. Jury scam bilking people out of their money
One of the recent scams circulating via Craigslist in Houston is a jury scam in which the callers pretend that they are law enforcement officers and they inform their victims that they owe fines for skipping out on jury duty. They threaten to arrest the victims if they don’t pay the amount specified immediately. In order to avoid jail time, they are instructed to pay the fines via a pre-paid gift card or debit card.
3. Craigslist trailer sale scam
A single mom of three responded to an ad offering a trailer for sale for $2,500. She and the kids were badly in need of a home and she had hoped to secure the trailer to park it on the property of family members where she would live. She contacted the seller who told her he was in the military and would soon be going overseas. The sale began on Ebay, but thee seller directed her to go to Craigslist to complete the sale there. He offered that it was more secure and offered them both protection. After a series of emails, everything looked legitimate and she bought prepaid gift cards in the amount of $2,500 and called the seller back as she was told to do. She did as she was instructed but became suspicious when the seller told her the price had gone up. Her attempts to cancel the cards were futile and she realized she had been the victim of a scam.
4. Job Scam on Craigslist
A victim in the Houston area replied to the following ad on Craigslist. The response to the job inquiry came within 24 hours and after applying for a warehouse position, the scammers sent a message that was strange and suspicious. It detailed accompanying him to locations outside of the United States and underscored the need for flexibility and doing as told without question. The job entailed making travel arrangements, ordering supplies, filing documents, running personal errands and shopping or this person. It became obvious that this was nothing but a scam to gain access to sensitive personal information for a big time money scam.
5. Couple is victim of real estate scam
A retired couple listed their property on Craigslist as a rental. Not long afterwards, a woman called to let them know that there was a double posting of the ad. Upon research, a scammer had used their original ad to attempt to scam people out of rental money and then disappear. This is a scam that is becoming more popular with Craigslist con artists.