When it comes to finding great deals for new and used goods, as well as selling unwanted items, Craigslist has proven to be fertile soil and highly expeditious. Unfortunately, Craigslist has also proven to be fertile soil for criminals and scammers who are very creative in developing schemes to separate hardworking people from their money. You would be surprised to see some of the crazy scams that people come up with in order to trick people out of there money. Because Craigslist creates unique pages for each city, We are going to focus on scams that are pervasive in Tuscon and the surrounding areas.
1. Overpaying for Items with Fake Cashiers Checks
One scam that is pretty common around the country is the overpaying scam. Basically, how it works is that scammers will find items posted for sale and they will contact the seller and advice that they are out of town but they want to send a check as soon as possible to secure the sale. They will send cashiers checks for more than the amount of the sale price. They will then ask the seller to refund the difference because they made a mistake. By the time the seller has to realize that the check is no good, they already sent money to the scammers.
2. The Fraudulent Car Purchase
This is another fraud aimed at the seller. In this case, a man looking to sell his used car posted an aid on Craigslist. He was contacted by a man who said that he was out of town but was looking to purchase the car and pay for shipping. He sent a check for the price of the car plus shipping. Once the check cleared, the seller wired the part of the payment designated for shipping to the shipper, but it was not a shipper. It was a dummy account set up by the buyer. The check was fraudulent but by the time the seller found out, he has wired money to a fake company.
3. Nigerian Scam: Rentals on Craigslist
Nigeria is a country that has become notorious for the origination of scams around the world, so it is of no surprise that the Nigerians are targeting such an easy target as Craigslist. This current scam involves rentals in which the scammer posts properties that they don’t own, and they get potential renters to submit application fees and deposits for properties that they will never occupy. According to experts in the real estate industry, it is never a good idea to exchange money without verifying who you are giving the money to. It is best to work with a reputable agent or management company.
4. Unfair Exchange
At the most elementary levels, the transactions that take place on Craigslist are basic fair exchanges. Someone offers something for a specific sales price and someone else decides to buy it. In a perfect world, the two parties meet to make the transaction, but we do not live in a perfect world. Far too often, people pay for these purchases uses checks. The problem with check purchases is that it is difficult to confirm that there is money in the account, or even if the check is real. Even in situations in which you are able to verify funds, but the time it gets through your bank, the money could not be there. This is the case with a comply Craigslist scam in which people are using fake checks to make all types of purchases. At the end of the day, the seller ends up out of their product and with no compensation. Additionally, they often end up paying bank fees associated with the check not clearing.
5. The IRS Scam
There are very few things that can conjure of fear like the acronym IRS. No one wants to go toe to toe with the IRS. So, when someone contacts you claiming to be from the IRS and stating that you owe money, they quickly get your attention and all you want to do is settle the issue quietly. Scammers are counting on this. The Tuscon area has been plagued with IRS scams in which scammers contact unsuspected citizens and claim that they owe money. It seems that they are targeting people who frequently use Craigslist. There seems to be an idea that people use Craigslist are more trusting and therefore more vulnerable. People are literally sending payments to people without verifying who they are sending the money to.