Craigslist is an excellent online resource for people who have a car or other item they wish to sell privately. It’s also great for advertising homes for rent or sale, employment opportunities or services that you offer to the public. Many successful deals have been made through the site for both buyers and sellers, but as with any good thing, scammers have realized the opportunities to use Craigslist as a means of tricking innocent victims out of their money. It’s still a good place to conduct buying and selling transactions, but you have to be careful and make sure that the person you’re dealing with isn’t a rip-off artist. Here are five money scams to watch out for on Craigslist Springfield, MO.
1. Phony check scam
A couple listed an antique cabinet for sale on Craigslist in Springfield, MO. When someone responded to the ad and wanted to send a check for the cabinet, they thought that they had a sale. As promised by the supposed buyer, the check arrived, but when it did the couple was in for a surprise. They had agreed to sell the cabinet for $299. The check was made out for $1,550. The buyer also sent instructions and asked them to cash the check, keep an additional $50 for themselves and pay the movers when they arrived to pick up the cabinet. This is an old scam that is still in operation. They didn’t cash the check because they realized that it was a fake. Had they cashed the check and wired the balance back, they would have been responsible to pay back the entire amount when the check was refused at a bank.
2. Rental Scam
Marlin Kroenke was looking for a rental for himself and his family. He responded to a Craigslist ad for a rental. The alleged owner emailed him back about a three-bedroom home in northwest Springfield. The address was listed on the site, so he wanted to drive by and take a look at the house. The contact came up with excuses and said that he didn’t have a key. When Kroenke became suspicious, he did some research and discovered that the names of the property owners did not match with the contact name given in the ad. He contacted the owner, Kyla Knight, who owns the home. She’s looking for a tenant, but her asking price is two hundred dollars higher and scammers had taken her original rental ad and changed the rent amount and contact information to scam people out of their money.
3. Realtors warn about real estate scams in the area
Real estate scams have become so bad on Craigslist Springfield that a local real estate company is warning people to be wary. They state that they post legitimate ads on Craigslist Springfield, MO but there are scammers who are duplicating the original ad and changing the rental amounts and the contact information with phony ads including pictures and information about the homes. Most of the time they are unaware that the ads have been hijacked until someone shows up at the home to move in, only to find out that the money they wired for the deposit and first month’s rent has been stolen by scammers who are long gone. This is happening more and more. Scammers also use listings of homes that are for sale, and they change the terms and often offer them for a rate that is lower than the average rental amount so people think they are getting a good deal.
4. Vehicle Shipping scam in Springfield, MO
The Better Business Bureau sends a warning to consumers interested in buying a vehicle on the internet. Scammers are using Craigslist to advertise used vehicles for sale and ask for the payment to be wired to them. They agree to have the vehicle shipped to the buyer, but the car never shows up and the victims discover that they’ve been duped. The BBB reports that six people reported being scammed out of amounts between $2,800 and $9,500 by this ring of phony auto shippers. The companies running the ads are fraudulent. When researched it was found that the addresses that are listed on the site do not exist or they are the addresses of unrelated businesses.
5. Teen scammed in car deal on Craigslist, Springfield, MO
A 16-year-old girl tried to buy a car that she found advertised on Craigslist. She was interested in a 2003 Honda Accord advertised and responded through email. She was informed that the owner of the car was deceased and that the car was being kept in a shipping container. The so-called seller gave her a phone number from California and she was instructed to send a Money Gram to Springfield Missouri to buy the car. When she did, she discovered that she was scammed out of the amount of $1,530 and she promptly reported the scam to the sheriff’s office. It took her two years to work and save up her money for the car, only to have it stolen from her.