Residents of Joplin have had their share of tragedy with the wild weather that devastated part of the city as a tornado ripped apart homes and entire neighborhoods. The people who live in Joplin have long used the Craigslist online classifieds to list items that they have for sale. Here you can find a variety of things including farm equipment, electronics, furniture, cars, trucks, homes for rent or for sale and much more. While it used to be reasonably safe to deal with buyers and sellers on the site, there has been a huge increase in scam activity. Here are five money scams to watch out for when using Craigslist Joplin.
1. Real house in false ad scam
There have been more and more rental ads turning up on the Craigslist Joplin site that offer a home for rent at a reasonable price. The problem is that the person posting the ad doesn't own the home. They've found the house listed for sale on another website and have stolen the pictures and the descriptions including the physical address, then created a fake ad. They make up reasons why they can't meet with you in person and tell you to drive by the property. If you're interested, they have you complete an application. When its approved you're instructed to wire the money to them for the deposit and the rent. They promise to FedEx the keys to you but once the payment is received you never hear from them again and you've just become their next victim.
2. Baby for sale scam
A woman posted an ad on Craigslist announcing that she was pregnant and was willing to sell her baby to prospective parents. This was an obvious scam to deprive desperate couples out of their hard earned cash. The woman was arrested by the police because it's illegal to make such offers. It was further discovered that she was not pregnant at all. Her intention was to take the money from people who wanted to adopt a baby and run. She met with an undercover officer and attempted to set up a monthly payment plan for the unborn child that she lied about carrying to begin with.
3. Fake check scam on Craigslist Joplin
A woman put a cabinet up for sale on Craigslist for $299. A buyer contacted her and made arrangements to purchase the cabinet for an agreed upon price. He sent her a cashier's check for $1,550 and told her to keep the $299 and an additional $50 for her trouble. She was instructed to deposit the check, pay the movers when they arrived to pick up the cabinet and then wire the rest back to the buyer. This is a common scam that is being seen more often with sellers on Craigslist. Thankfully she didn't fall for it and refused to cash the phony check. Had she deposited it in her account she would have been held responsible for the entire amount plus bank fees.
4. Realtor warns of rental scams
A scammer has been advertising a spacious three bedroom home with luxury interior and updated appliances for rent for just $850 per month in the area. A local realtor is warning of this new scam and here is what to watch out for. The scammer is not the owner but says that he is. He is out of the country and can't meet with you to show you the house. You're instructed to drive by and if you're interested, send in a completed application. The application is always approved and you're told to wire the first and last month's rent and when he gets it he says he will mail you the key. The key never comes and your money is not traceable. HomeSmart Professionals Realty company has issued the warning to all local residents about this scam.
5. Beware of fake ticket scam
It used to be fairly safe to buy event tickets from scalpers listing them on Craigslist but not anymore. There have been several cases of scammers selling tickets that are either cancelled or fake on Craigslist. They offer them for cheap and you won't know they're not valid until you present them to get into the event. By the time that you realize you've been taken the scammer is long gone with your money.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson