People in Miami use the popular online advertising site Craigslist for posting a variety of different ads. Here you can find cars and trucks for sale, job opportunities or houses and apartments for rent or sale. It’s a handy site that most people find to be helpful and there are some great deals to be found for those who are careful and know how to spot a scammer. In recent years that has been an increase in scam activity on the Miami Craigslist. Here are five money scams that you need to watch out for.
1. Room rental scam on Craigslist Miami
An advertisement appeared on Craigslist Miami that offered condos for rent. The scam was directed towards younger people coming to Miami for a visit and in need of temporary accommodations. The problem with the ad is that they didn’t exist. Out of town people looking for a place to rent for a few days are the victims who stepped forward to complain. The police haven’t devoted a lot of time to catch the scammer because they are already overworked and because the losses in each case are under $1,000, they didn’t consider it a priority.
2. Family tricked in Miami Scam
Salvador Velez and his family were looking for a home to rent. Suzie Velez found a place on Craiglist and found a three bedroom home that was available for $800 per month. Salvador had just started work and the family was in desperate need of housing. She called the owner of the owner of the home, Caroline Murphy and inquired about the home. Caroline was shocked and informed Suzie hat the home was for rent but the price was $1,900. It ass discovered that the scammer had stolen the original advertisement including the pictures and details, but changed the contact information and the rent amount. The scam originates in Nigeria and the scammer tricks unsuspecting victims into wiring the money for a deposit and first month’s rent to an untraceable account. The Velez family only had $200 to send at the time and the scammer accepted the deposit and agreed to send them the keys. When the keys didn’t arrive they did more research and found out they had been scammed.
3. Scammers targeting sellers on Miami Craigslist
A staffer from NBC6 posted an advertisement to sell furniture on Craigslist. She was contacted by an interested party that went by the name of Katie Hill. The person said she was deaf so phone contact was not possible. She said she would mail a check for the furniture and that there would be an additional $50 if the ad was taken down that day. A check was sent but it was for $1,000 over the agreed upon price. The seller was to pay the movers when they arrive and keep an extra $50 for taking down the ad. The staffer became suspicious when she discovered the return address showed a Tampa address. She was also told to wire the money to movers located in London. She investigated and found out that the check was indeed counterfeit and that if she would have cashed it, she would have to pay back the entire amount plus associated fees.
4. Six victims of a Miami Craigslist scam
A 24-year-old man from Miami advertised a classic car and heavy equipment for sale but didn’t produce the goods after the payments were made. Antwoine Browne took $88,000 in payments from victims who thought that they were making a purchase. Six different victims from around the country had agreed to pay a certain amount for the car or equipment he advertised but didn’t actually own and he was happy to collect the money wired to him. In this case, the transfers were traced to him and he was arrested for fraud and theft.
5. Couple scammed in Miami Craigslist scam
A couple from New York was looking for a place to rent temporarily as snowbirds for the winter. They found a place near the ocean on Craigslist for $2,100. They knew that this was a good deal for the location so they wired the $2,100 to secure the place for the winter. Their daughter was assisting them by emailing the owner. She thought it as odd that they only accepted cash or wire transfer and her parents had already sent the payment months ago. Their daughter did a little more investigation and discovered that it was a scam. They had made an arrangement to do a cash transfer to the bank and they were just out the money they had sent. The property didn’t really belong to the advertiser.