Once upon a time that seems so far in the distant past, Craigslist was viewed as the premier site to find deals and sell your products and services quickly. While you are still able to find some good deals and market your products, you are more likely to find criminals trying to scam you. The popular bartering site as becoming a feasting ground for grifters, scammers, and even killers. You would be shocked at the different ways criminals can come up with to separate you from your money. In order to help you make your next Craigslist experience safer and more rewarding, we decided to put together a list of money scams that are prominent on Craigslist. Because the site creates a unique page for each city, this article will focus on five money scams to watch out for on Craigslist Milwaukee.
1. The Escrow Account Scam
There are all types of real estate and financial scams. In Milwaukee, a common money scam is to convince the buyer of real estate or some other high-end purchase that they will need to place their money in an escrow account in order to complete the sell. Some of these scammers have gone as far as to create a fake law firm as the manager of the escrow account. Once the money has been deposited into the specified account, it is transferred out of the state into another account and eventually transferred out of the country. According to a reliable source in the area, these types of scams are evolving in the manner of sophistication they are carried out. Not only are the buyers getting duped out of their hard-earned money, but they are also investing in a property or commodity that does not exist, so they lose on both ends.
2. Counterfeit Cash Scam
There are an entire group of scammers in Milwaukee that are duping sellers on Craigslist by paying for their purchases with counterfeit money. They set up a meeting with the seller and once they have the item, they hand the person the money and quickly speed off before the person realizes what has happened. According to the authorities, these counterfeiters are printing the money themselves and this is not anywhere close to being grade-A counterfeit cash, but it is close enough to fool someone who is paying attention or looking for it. Police do have several suspects and they are currently searching for them. The biggest fear is that this will promote future scams in which the scammers will become more elaborate and deliberate in their scheme.
3. The Car Scam
The car scam, in one form or another, may be the most common scam on Craigslist — primarily because people look for cars on the popular site daily. What makes scams like these so successful is that people are normally desperate for a vehicle and they want to move quickly through the process. They tend to treat these types of transactions in the same way they treat a purchase from a reputable dealership. In this scam, the seller requested that eBay is used to protect both parties, and sent out an email that appeared to be from eBay that said the payment had to be made in Walmart gift cards. This should have sent up a red flag, but it didn’t. In the end, the fake seller had $1,000 in cash and the buyer was left with empty hands and no car.
4. Real Estate Scam
Real estate scams are probably the fastest growing money scams on Craigslist, and the perpetrators are becoming increasingly creative in how they run these types of scams. The reason that real estate scams are growing is because of the amount of money that is usually involved. In Milwaukee, police are warning citizens about property scams. The most common real estate scam is the renters scam, where scammers show in rent properties they don’t own or manage. There have been several cases of family giving a person money and actually moving into a property, only to find out that they property belongs to someone else. By the time renters realized what has happened their money is long gone and they are still fored to move out and find another place to stay.
5. Financial Services Scam
The financial services scam is on the rise on Craigslist. As more people are looking to become financially savvy, they are turning to financial advisors and money managers to help educate them and get their money in order. Here is a word of advice for anyone looking for a good financial advisor. They are probably not going to be advertising on Craigslist. Many people are getting duped by fake financial advisors and false business investors making promises they can keep. We identified several false ads on the list here. There is one simple rule that should always be followed, if it appears too good to be true, it more than likely is.
Written by Rick Wallace
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