Scambook, the online resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for consumers, recognizes that Craigslist offers great deals, but there are safer ways to utilize these local classifieds and reduce the risk of being scammed.
Whether consumers are buying, selling, or browsing, scammers are always thinking of new schemes to defraud users that can lead to robbery, vandalized property, identity theft, harassment, and even physical assaults.
Scambook is providing consumers with the following ten tips to consumers to keep safe and protect themselves against scammers on Craigslist:
- TRUST INSTINCTS: The number one rule is to trust gut instincts going into any transaction. If a Craigslist ad seems phony, don’t proceed.
- STAY LOCAL: Craigslist is designed to be city/region specific and if anyone makes up excuses for why they cannot meet, it’s a red flag.
- AVOID WIRE TRANSFERS, CASHIER’S CHECKS AND MONEY ORDERS. If something goes awry when making a wire transfer (through Western Union or MoneyGram for example), the money will not be protected. Exchange cash instead with large transactions being safely performed in a bank.
- NEVER USE ONLINE ESCROW. If someone insists on using an escrow website, cancel the transaction immediately. Online escrow sites are normally run by scammers.
- DON’T COMMIT WITHOUT SEEING THE GOODS IN PERSON. Make sure an item is up to standards and be cautious of those willing to buy an item without seeing it first.
- DON’T FALL FOR JOB SCAMS. Be wary of “employers” who don’t require an interview and make sure to visit the job’s physical location prior to sending personal information such as a credit/background check. Learn more about job scams.
- USE A COUNTERFEIT DETECTION PEN. This pen’s ink will change color on wood-based paper, allowing consumers to detect fake bills because real money is printed on fiber-based paper. Visit a nearby office supply store or buy one online for $5.
- CRAIGSLIST DOESN’T CERTIFY LISTINGS. Anyone who claims to be “certified” or “guaranteed” by Craigslist is likely a scammer.
- RESEARCH THE BUYER/SELLER. Use both Scambook and Google to search someone by their name, email, or business name. Make sure their identity is not an alias and that this person comes up clean. More tips for safely selling on Craiglist.
- DON’T GIVE OUT MORE PERSONAL INFORMATION THAN NECESSARY. Don’t release any personal information in a public listing. The only personal information consumers need to list in a Craigslist ad could be a free disposable phone number created by Google Voice. If someone needs to retrieve an item from a home address, put the item outside and do not let the buyer in.