People in the Springfield, Illinois area have been using Craigslist as a convenient online venue for listing a variety of items that they have for sale. On Craigslist both buyers and sellers benefit from mutually satisfying transactions in most cases. Cars, trucks, recreation vehicles, boats, farm equipment, electronics, appliances, furniture and more is listed on the site. There are also homes for rent and for sale as well as job opportunities and more. In recent years, there has been an upswing in the number of scams that have been posted on Craigslist. Con artists have discovered that this is a good site for them to trick innocent victims and steal their money. Here are 5 such scams that you need to watch out for when dealing on Craigslist Springfield.
1. Police warn of online housing scams
Local law enforcement is warning the public about rental scams that have been posted on Craigslist in the Springfield area. Scammers pose as military personnel or say they're missionaries out of the country. They post a picture with description of a home and the address and tell victims to drive by and if they like it, they can wire the deposit and rent money to them and they will FedEx the keys to them.. One student was tricked out of over $4,000 in a scam like this. The police recommend only dealing with landlords in person to avoid becoming the victim of a rental scam.
2. Home for Rent
An Illinois woman responded to an ad for a home for rent on Craigslist. The owner claimed to be in California and said that he had originally put his home up for sale through a realtor. He said that he changed his mind and would rather rent it out and cautioned the interested renter to NOT contact the realtor because they wanted to avoid the fee for property management. The victim completed a rental application and was quickly approved. The woman sent him the $675 deposit money requested via money gram and he promised to overnight the keys. The keys never came and the scammer stopped all communication with her after she sent the money.
3. Fake check scam
A Springfield man is being investigated for fraud over a multi-state scam to defraud victims out of their money. A man had concert tickets listed for sale on Craigslist for $400. A man from Springfield contacted him and made arrangements to send a cashier's check through the mail to purchase the tickets. When the check arrived it was for the amount of $2,750. He buyer told the man that it had been a mistake and he could keep the $400 plus $250 for his trouble and send the rest back via wire transfer. The victim innocently sen $2,085 out of his bank account and used the Walmart to Walmart transfer service. A few days later, the check did not clear the bank and the seller was out the entire amount for the bad check plus the transfer fees.
4. Army National Guard scam on Craigslist
An ad for a 2003 Honda Accord was placed on Craigslist, supposedly from a soldier who was deployed to Iraq. The price was listed as $2,900 and he claimed that the car was located in Springfield, Illinois. He asked that interested parties wire the money to him and then he will ensure that the car gets shipped. This is one of the oldest car scams on the books. After victims wire the money based on photos of the car they've seen, they wait forever because the keys never arrive and the scammer cuts off all communication after the money is wired.
5. Two arrested in real estate scam
Two thieves stole pictures and descriptions of homes listed for sale on Zillow to run their own real estate scam. They would ask interested parties to drive by the home and claimed that they were out of town and could not meet with them personally. After a rental application was completed, they would approve them and instruct the renters to wire the funds to them with the promise that they would send the keys. One man who fell for the scam didn't realize that he'd been conned until he tried to move into the home and met with the real estate agent in charge of the sale of the property.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson