When Craigslist came out in 1995, it was no more than a simple email distribution list among friends in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s probably safe to say that after over 23 years in operation, the site has gotten larger than it can manage and—to be honest—a little bit out of hand. There aren’t many preventative security measures in place to stop scammers from taking advantage of people who are simply looking to either make a little extra cash or save a little cash. In Indianapolis, Craigslist scams are as abundant as anywhere else. If you’re looking to do a transaction in the city, make sure you’re aware of these five money scams to look out for.
1. Fake check scam
Car scammers in the city have victimized so many people. These scammers are looking for people who are looking to sell their vehicles on Craigslist. They look through the ads and target specific car sellers. These scam buyers will go to a sale and have a check in hand for payment. However, this check is more than likely fake. By the time a seller realizes this, it’s already far too late. The car is usually already far-gone as well as the scammer. It’s always recommended to avoid using cash or checks during transactions and opt for something like PayPal instead. With PayPal, you’ll be able to verify that the funds are real before you go through with any sale.
2. House rental scam
The general rule of thumb with Craigslist is this: if it’s too good to be true, back away immediately. It’s more than likely fake or illegal. House scams usually have the same M.O. You’re typically looking at a large property, maybe at least 2,000 square feet, in a highly coveted neighborhood. The property will usually have lots of bedrooms, new and updated facilities, and of course, an unbelievably low monthly rate. It’s hard to believe that anything like that could go for $750 a month, especially around Indianapolis. Don’t wire any money until you’ve verified everything closely. Otherwise, you’ll be another victim to a scam.
3. Fake car scam
Scammers are getting too brave, too confident lately. There are people that will post ads for things that don’t even exist. There’s a rotating scam on Craigslist in Indianapolis for sale of objects that are not even real. Someone in the city is making money by putting an ad for a truck that’s nowhere to be found. It’s nowhere to be found because it’s not even real. And those who don’t take the extra step of checking credentials will simply fall victim to the scam. You have to be careful because everything could be doctored these days—emails, contracts, and all sorts of documents.
4. Pet flipping scam
If you’ve never heard of pet flipping before, you should know what it is especially if you’re in the market to buy pets. This scam happens on Craigslist more often than people think. Pet flipping happens when a seller obtains a pet illegally and tries to sell it to other people. Scammers could either steal a pet or falsely claim to be the owner of a pet that was found. These scammers will then turn around and sell the animals for profit. It’s a sad and disturbing notion, but people are really making money this way. If you’re looking for a pet to buy on Craigslist, make sure that you check all credentials and information before you spend your money.
5. Lawsuit scam
This is probably one of the most unique scam cases that we’ve ever come across in any cities in the US. This scam involved a simple Craigslist sale that went haywire because of a money-hungry attorney who was looking to make money by taking advantage of the law. Of course, something like that is easier said than done. But this particular lawyer had plenty of victims whose lives he made utterly unbearable. The potential for money was there too. In this particular case, the sale in question only amounted to $75 including shipping, but the lawyer was asking for up to $600,000 in damages through the lawsuit. It may sound unreal to you, but this actually happened and has happened many times before. It’s also likely to still happen today.