A List and Description of Common Scams Used on Craigslist
Here at XtraMoney.co we are always trying to show people little things they can do to earn a little extra cash.
While I did say you need to be cautious, I figured I’d inform you of some of the top scams that take place on Craigslist to better protect you!
Now there are always going to be scammers out there and some of them are clever, but some are not.
Nowadays it’s not just the Prince of Egypt emailing you about how he needs your help holding some money.
Some of the scams actually seem pretty legit, so I’m going to do my best to inform you of what those are so you can avoid running into problems if you try to sell something on Craigslist.
THE FOREIGN STUDENT NEEDING TO RENT A ROOM
If you are a younger person who lives alone but owns a house, you may want to consider renting out some of your rooms on Craigslist.
I’ve done this and actually have had some good success, and it really helps out when you receive a rent check right when your mortgage is due.
If you can find quiet and respectful people, you barely know they are in your house.
Most the people applying to rent a room are very active and aren’t home very much.
Hence why they are looking for a cheaper way of living because it just doesn’t make sense for them to rent a condo and pay all the utilities that come with it.
I’ve gone weeks without seeing my roommates before, so it was basically like getting free money.
So here comes the fun part (I kid of course), going through the emails of all the people who are interested in renting a room from you.
Depending where you live, and how much the rent goes for, you will most likely get A LOT of responses from all sorts of different people.
Now I live in Colorado, so naturally I get a lot of responses from stoners who moved here for the legal weed. They want to just get high as much as possible and work as little as possible.
So, it makes sense that they want to rent a room for $500-$600 a month because that’s a lot better than $1200 a month which is the rate of a one bedroom apartment here.
But then you get the out of the country emails!
In these emails the “hopeful renter” lives in some random country and doesn’t have proper grammar, which would make sense since they are not from here.
They leave a pretty lengthy email explaining their situation and how they are moving here for school.
Now here is the offer they give to “show” you how serious they are in the arrangement.
They offer more than what you are asking for and are willing to send you a check for the deposit and first and last month’s rent. (I knew this was a scam because when I first rented my room, I didn’t ask for a deposit).
From what I’ve read (because I never let it get that far) they will actually send you the check.
Everything seems well and you can rest assured that you are helping a foreign exchange student because while you were skeptical at first, the money came to you.
Now the reason this scam works, is most people don’t realize that it takes up to a month for foreign checks to clear.
Most people assume that these checks are like normal checks and will take no longer than a week.
So a few weeks will pass, and you will still have the money in your account and that’s when you get the email.
Something came up with your future tenant and they are no longer able to come to your state.
They apologize and ask for some of the money back since they don’t plan on living with you.
It’s usually not the whole amount and they will let you keep the deposit but ask for their first and last month’s rent back.
Included in this email is some bogus sob story about a dying family member or something else devastating.
Considering that you have the funds in your bank from their original check, people feel obligated to send the money back and feel okay about it thinking you at least got paid for your time because you are keeping the deposit.
Then in about a month from when you deposited their check, it will bounce!
Next thing you know, you call the bank to see what happened and find out that it was a fake account and you lose all the money from their check.
All the while you sent them a check for first and last month rent that clears and is cashed before you can do anything about it!
I personally feel that if you were to fall for something like this, you had it coming.
THE TICKET SCAM
One of the best uses for Craigslist is buying tickets to a sporting event or a concert.
Craigslist makes sense for this market because you need to sell locally considering that is where the venue is.
There are plenty of sites out there that sell tickets for you, but they all come with a commission tagged to them.
Meanwhile, Craigslist is completely free so you keep all the money if you are selling the tickets.
The problem is, there is more than one way for scammers to get your money with concert tickets.
Here’s How It Goes
I love technology and how far it has come!
But so do scammers because now they can buy printers and other equipment to make counterfeit tickets fast and cheap.
I’ve seen some of these counterfeit tickets and I tell you what, they look real!
Depending on the event, these tickets can cost hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars!
Don’t believe me?
Did you know someone paid over $100k for two courtside seats last year for the NBA Finals?
There have been reports of people selling counterfeit season tickets to people and NFL tickets are as expensive as ever.
I guess the theory of security most people have is “I doubt scammers are going to take that much time to make a ticket for every game.”
Well I hate to inform you, but professional scammers take this serious and this their job.
So yes, they will create tickets for every game.
I’m sure there is software out there that would load an entire teams schedule and make tickets for every game.
It isn’t as hard as it seems.
There are reports of people selling airline tickets on Craigslist but I’ve never seen that.
But then again I haven’t seen 90% of the stuff on Craigslist so it wouldn’t surprise me.
Nevertheless, the report is that people sell airline tickets then cancel them and sell the canceled ticket.
Don’t buy airline tickets on Craigslist.
And be careful purchasing sports or concert tickets as well because there is little recourse if you get scammed.
Sites like Stubhub offer fraud prevention and ways to dispute purchases which is why there are certain fees attached.
A lot of people on Craigslist will use a well known escrow site to hold money until purchases are complete.
This is a way for both the seller and buyer to feel safe with a third party involved.
This is usually for larger items that cost more money and you won’t see people using escrow sites for petty items.
If you are dealing with someone that doesn’t really live by you and you plan selling or buying a car, escrow sites are great.
But here is the problem, the scammers are making fake escrow sites!
They will look like well-respected escrow sites but when you pay for something, and it never shows up, odds are you just got scammed.
The purpose of the escrow site is to give you security so if there is an issue with the item you bought, you can get your money back.
Or if it never shows up, you can let the site know it never arrived and they will return your money.
But when the site is fake, you are out of luck and it’s going to be hard to get your money back.
One of the biggest things Craigslist is known for is jobs.
In fact, the only listing that Craigslist charges for is job postings.
Everything else is free.
This one upsets me because it’s bad enough that some people are struggling and doing what they can to find work.
People can be vulnerable when they are desperate, and it’s easy for scammers to take advantage of that.
The Nanny job is a popular Craigslist scam focusing on younger adults or high school kids.
The ad usually reads like “we are new to this neighborhood and need help as we get settled in.”
A lot of the responsibilities are little things like running errands and helping with paying the bills.
Your new boss will send you a check with a check list of things they need you to do as well as leaving money for you.
The biggest red flag for this scam is they ask you to pay their landlord.
Who does that?
It’s one of the biggest parts of the scam because the “landlord” is in on the scam.
When you receive the check, you deposit it and use the money to do all the things on the check list, including paying the landlord.
Then guess what happens next………………….
The check bounces and you spent your own money on the errands and paying the landlord and they keep it.
There are plenty of other scams that involve potential employers having issues with money and needing outside help with funds.
Please don’t be dumb and fall for it because no legit business will have “issues” receiving money from the bank like they claim.
There is nothing wrong with Craigslist and I’ve made a lot sales and bought things at a great price.
But, there is more risk considering they don’t have anything to do with how money is exchanged.
But when you read any of these scams, was your reaction “duh, who would do that?”
If you answered yes, then you will be okay because a lot of scams are dependent on people who lack common sense.
Some scams are tricky and it’s hard to know you are either buying fake tickets or if you think you are using a safe escrow site.
I highly recommend to sellers that you put in your ad that all transactions are face to face cash only transactions.
Mention you will not deal with wiring money of any sort.
Also, be careful with who you meet and where you meet.
There are some real horror stories and people have been killed before.
The purpose of this article isn’t to scare you off Craigslist but just to inform you of some of the things that are taking place.
You will avoid 90% of scammers by saying they must meet you face to face, and if you still aren’t comfortable, bring a friend.
Or meet in a spot designated for Craigslist transactions in your town.
Many of these are set up in police department parking lots by the cities themselves.
Any job, potential buyer, or seller that is not in the country is going to be fake!
Remember this, and don’t even bother with a response.
Just move on and you will be fine!
Let us know what other scams you have encountered in the comments section.