It’s unfortunate that one of the most useful websites on the Internet has become breeding grounds for criminals and scammers. Craigslist is supposed to be a neighborhood-bartering site. Instead, it has become notorious for scammers scamming people out of their hard-earned money. In places like Madison, Wisconsin, people have to be wary every time they use the local Craigslist ads. They’re full of scammers waiting for someone to just take the bait. And sometimes no matter how careful you are, you still end up becoming a victim. If you’re a Craigslist user in Madison, you’ll need to watch out for these five scams that have affected many before.
1. Fake check scam
This is probably one of the most prominent scams on the website, since many people opt to pay for items using check. It is a legitimate form of payment after all. However, if you have an out of state buyer giving you a check for a certain amount and asking you to wire money to someone else, just don’t do it. In fact, anytime someone you don’t know asks you to wire money, just don’t do it. There’s a good chance that you’re being scammed for your money. In this particular case, that’s exactly what happened.
2. Fake PayPal scam
PayPal is supposed to be one of the most secure ways to do a financial transaction, and it is. However, if you’ve never used PayPal before, chances are you’re likely to accept just any kind of confirmation that you get with nothing else to compare it to. Many scammers are creating fake PayPal confirmation emails to send to potential sellers, claiming that a payment has been made and is on its way. However, sometimes this is just not the case. One man selling his jewelry lost money after he sent of his products upon receipt of an email confirmation page that shows a PayPal transaction. If the email confirmation is not coming from PayPal directly, don’t accept it to be true. Better yet, don’t send any products until you’ve gotten your money.
3. Good deal scam
There are a lot of people that are learning how to read through fake Craigslist ads. This is a useful skill to develop especially if you like to shop on Craigslist. There are a lot of good deals on Craigslist, but there are some deals that are just downright too good to be true. In this case, someone was trying to sell off Nikon camera accessories for an incredibly low price that’s almost unreal. Someone spotted the inconsistencies on the ad and called the bluff straight away. There were Canon ads that had the exact same specifications on another ad. If you ever come across something like this, just move on away from them. Better yet, report them the way this individual did, so Craigslist can take down the ads.
4. Home rental scam
Be careful advertising your home for sale on Craigslist. There are a lot of scammers looking for various properties that are on the market for sale. These scammers will then advertise your own property on Craigslist as their own home for rent. Don’t be surprised if you get phone calls on interested renters even though you’re trying to sell your house. That only means that your home has been targeted and picked and is now being used to perpetuate a scam. The scammers will typically ask interested party to put in deposit amounts for various reasons—background check, holding fee, money down, and a few more. Once the money has been paid, you’re likely never to hear from that scammer again.
5. International shipping scam
One easy way to spot a Craigslist scam is if the buyer interested in your product is asking you to ship your item internationally. Craigslist works in a local level, and so most (if not all) of your interested buyers should be local as well. However, when someone is asking you to ship your product somewhere else and they are willing to pay a lot of extra money for the “inconvenience” or extra shipping fee, you’re likely being scammed. The best thing to do is to stop talking to that buyer right away and report them if you could.
Written by Garrett Parker
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