What now seems like light years ago, Craigslist was touted as one of the best options for finding what you need. People looking for jobs, cars, electronic devices and more flocked to the site to seek out the best deal possible. On the other side of the coin, those looking to offer what others wanted also flocked to the site. While it is still possible to find what you are looking for on Craigslist, you can also find a lot of trouble and misery. The platform has become one of the most fertile grounds for criminal activity, especially when it comes to money scams. We decided to share with you some of the most common money scams ran on Craigslist. Because each city has their own unique page, we decided to break down the prevalence of scams based on geographic location. Here are five money scams to look out for in Pensacola, Florida.
1. Electronics Bait and Switch
One of the most common transactions on Craigslist is the purchase of electronics like cell phones and gaming systems. In this particular case, the person found the game system he was looking for at a price that he thought favorable. He set up a safe place to meet the seller, but when he gave the person the money, he found that the box did not contain a game system. Furthermore, he also found that one of the people inside of the car was holding a gun on him. Rather than risk his life, he simply observed information that allowed him to identify the assailants to the authorities. Everything is becoming a crap shoot on this platform.
2. The Rental Home Scam
Rental home scams are also becoming increasingly common on Craigslist platforms across the country. As you will see, Pensacola is not exempt or immune to this trend. With the rental scam, criminals take photos of legitimate real estate brokers and agents and post them in Craigslist ads. Many times they are actually able to gain access to the house and show it to potential renters. They then collect fees and rent for a property that they don’t have authority to rent. There have even been cases in which people have actually moved into homes that scammers rented to them, only to find out that their money was gone and they had to move.
3. New Dog Old Tricks
They say that dogs are man’s best friend, and there is a long history of people developing great relationships with dogs. Many people who are looking for dogs, especially certain breeds, will check the ads on Craigslist. Scammers will not waste any opportunity to bilk money out of unsuspecting people, and because of the emotions associated with animals, people often let their guards down. Scammers will post pictures of cute little puppies and then ask you to send the money for the animal. When you make the initial payment, you will often receive a request for more money to cover certain ancillary costs. The best way to avoid these types of scams is never using a money transfer service and always have the pet in hand before paying.
4. The Fake Check Rouse
While there are plenty of incidences in which the buyer is being scammed. Sellers should not feel as if they are safe and out of harm's way. There are plenty of scams in which the seller ends up on the wrong end of a scam. One of the most common scams that impact sellers is the use of fake checks to pay for the transaction. By the time that the seller realizes that the check is fake, the scammers are long gone. Often times, these sellers deposit these checks into their bank and end up incurring additional fees by the bank.
5. The PayPal Con
This is another scam in which sellers are getting duped. In this scam, the criminals are using fake PayPal confirmation emails to show proof of payment and purchase. Most of these scams are focused on stealing big-ticket items like computers, furniture, or even cars. While people who use PayPal often will be able to see through this scam immediately, the average person will not. There are instances in which the scammers tell the seller that the transaction is invisible for their safety and it will appear after 24-48 hours. Cash-in-hand is the best policy when selling on Craigslist.
Written by Rick Wallace
Read more posts by Rick Wallace