Different Ways People Try to Scam You on Craigslist

by Micah McDunnigan

Craigslist is a great resource for finding electronics, cars, housing, or even jobs in your local area. However, scammers have discovered a number of ways to try and cheat you out of money through the site. Most of these scams involve trying to get you to wire money, accepting a fraudulent form of payment for your goods, or tricking you into revealing your personal information.

Fake Cashier's Checks

When it comes to selling on Craigslist, cash is your friend. Some buyers on Craigslist will try to scam you by offering to pay you with a cashier's check. While a real cashier's check is as good as cash, only a bank can tell if the one your buyer gave you is real or one that he forged. When you accept a forged cashier's check, the best-case scenario is that the scammer got your merchandise for free. The worst-case scenario is that not only does the scammer get your merchandise for free, but the bank holds you accountable when you try and cash the forged cashier's check.

Wire Tranfer Schemes

As a buyer on Craigslist, you can be tricked into paying for items in advance with wire or money transfer services. It may be for the item itself, or claiming that you're paying for a shipping fee. Once you transfer the money, you will never hear from the seller again. Craigslist advises that you only deal locally with sellers you meet with in-person and only pay for items when the seller physically shows up with them.

Fake Escrow Services

Another scam that people can set up on Craigslist is telling you to use an escrow service. The scammer will send you to the escrow service, which they claim will hold the item's payment until your transaction is complete. However, scammers can build a website pretending to be an escrow service. As a buyer, the "service" will simply steal your money. As a seller, the escrow service will claim that the buyer has funded the purchase, but after you send the item you will never get your money.

Fake Jobs

Fake job postings are a Craigslist scam that could lead to identity theft. These listings often try to lure you in with high salaries with little or no experience required on your part. These fake jobs will have you fill out a fake job application, in which they can ask for information such as your Social Security number. The individual who set up the fake job application will then have the information he needs to steal your identity. You should be wary of any job postings on Craigslist for companies you are not familiar with, or companies whose authenticity you cannot independently verify.

About the Author

Micah McDunnigan has been writing on politics and technology since 2007. He has written technology pieces and political op-eds for a variety of student organizations and blogs. McDunnigan earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images