A once viable means of acquiring and selling goods has transformed into the killing fields. Okay, I am exaggerating, but only slightly. Craigslist was once the go-to spot for people who were looking to sell items in their possession and the people to whom they would sell these items. Unfortunately, everyone from grifters to pedophiles started using the site as a place to pursue their criminal activity. There was even a serial killer that was using Craigslist as a means for attracting his victims. While violence has been a problem with the popular site, the biggest problem has been people being hustled out of their hard-earned money.
In an attempt to provide insight on some of the most common money scams we decided to make a list of the money scams that are most common on Craigslist. This particular list will focus on the Craiglist site for Spokane, Washington.
1. The Pay-First Money Scam
This one of the most common scams on Craigslist. In this case, a potential seller advertises a piece of merchandise and when someone responds to the ad indicating that they are interested in buying the item, they convince them to send their payment prior to receiving the items. This does not appear out of the ordinary for most online shoppers as that is the normal protocol for buying online — you pay and then it is shipped. But, that does not always work out well on Craigslist. The seller will collect the money and never ship the goods. If it is not a local transaction where you can physically inspect the goods and make a simultaneous transaction, it is not worth the risk.
2. The Rental Property Scam
Scams involving real estate is on the rise, and the most common rental scam is where people who do not own or manage a vacant property gain access and control over it temporarily and rent it out to unsuspecting families. This is happening at an increasing frequency around the country, and Spokane is no exception. Unfortunately, when the real owners find out, the victims are forced to move out and find somewhere else to stay, but they rarely are able to recover their money from the criminals who tricked them out of it.
3. Messy Messaging Rental Scam
While it should go unsaid, there are people who have to be warned to never close a financial transaction with someone you have never met. It appears that there is con-artist using Craiglist that are conducting complete rental transactions video text message. If a person is not willing to meet with you in person, you should be very leery about giving them your money. Unfortunately, this happens all of the time. While it is common with rental property transactions, it can be an issue with almost any type of encounter. However, with something as significant as the place where you and your family will live, you want to make sure that everything is above board.
4. A New Dog with Old Tricks
We live in a country in which the majority of the people have a soft spot for animals, especially dogs. As it turns out, Craigslist scammers are using pretty puppy pics to scam unsuspecting pet lovers out of their cash. These scammers will post pictures of pets with a heartwarming and compelling story explaining why the puppy is being sold or put up for adoption. In some cases, they will request payment for the puppy, or they may say its free — either way, you are likely to request for additional money for shipping, inspection costs, crating, vet bills. This is a scam.
5. Cashier’s Check Fraud
As a general rule, a cashier’s check is as good as cash — that is when the check is issued by an actual bank. Unfortunately, the digital age has brought with it the ability to print negotiable documents that appear to be very real. By the time you figure out what is wrong, you have been separated from your goods or your money. Some scammers will ask you to cash cashiers check, using some sob story and agree to pay you a hefty fee. The problem is they can afford to offer that fee because the check is no good. Others will use a fraudulent cashier’s check to buy your goods and leave with a worthless piece of paper. You should negotiate the document before finalizing any transaction.
Written by Rick Wallace
Read more posts by Rick Wallace