5 Safety Tips on How to Spot a Scam on Craigslist
Craigslist is used worldwide to advertise anything from cars and furniture to jobs. While classifieds like Craigslist make it easy for people to buy and sell online, there are certain precautions we need to take to avoid scams, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, when fake advertisements for Coronavirus face masks or air filter sales and services are being sold on the platform. Here are 5 tips to avoid Craigslist scams:
1. Avoid Online Payments.
2. Research the Job Poster.
3. Check the Legitimacy of the Ad.
4. Research the Price.
5. Beware of Counterfeits.
Let’s take a look at them and how to spot a scam on Craigslist, one by one.
1. Avoid Online Payments
If you are used to making and receiving online payments, you may be tempted to do the same for a product on Craigslist. Remember, Craigslist does not provide any payment guarantees. So, avoid transactions in which the payment is with a cashier’s check, gift card, or wire transfer. If the check turns out to be a fake, you will have to deal with the bank.
Using any of these methods is a bad idea because you don’t have any form of protection in case things go wrong. Don’t be in a situation where all you have is the other person’s word. Instead, insist on cash payments.
2. Research the Job Poster
Quick online research can be a great way of finding out more about the person or company that has posted the ad. If you have the name, address, or phone number of the person, do a background check on a people search website like Nuwber. Also, Google the person to find out if there are any complaints made about them online. If you are in the market for a property, do a location search on google and/or Nuwber to find if the information provided in the ad is accurate. Similarly, check the details provided by an employer to make sure they are a real company.
3. Check the Legitimacy of the Ad
Read the ad carefully and also check any images attached to the ad. If the poster does not provide any details of the product or service, then don’t move forward until you find out more. Ask the ad poster if they are willing to meet in person to show the product.
This will help you avoid any substandard products marketed as good. If there are pictures in the ad, check if those pictures are original or copied from another website. Copy the image’s link and search it on images.google.com.
4. Research the Price
Don’t stick to just one classifieds website. Search on multiple websites and note down the price. For example, if you’re looking for a car, see listings on dedicated vehicle sale websites and use the Kelley Blue Book. Besides other classifieds web sites, you may also find online forums dedicated to discussing what you are looking to buy.
5. Beware of Counterfeits
One thing you have to be careful about when dealing with cash is counterfeit money. Carefully check each banknote and return any questionable ones. Invest in a counterfeit detection pen.
With over 65,000 complaints, non-payment/ non-delivery was the most reported crime in 2018 among the crimes reported to the IC3 (U.S. Internet Crime Complaint Center) (Statista). The steps mentioned above can help you be safer when dealing with buyers and sellers on classifieds sites like Craigslist.
Watch the video below to see another useful video on this topic.
Craigslist Scams: How To Report
Let your family and friends know about this article by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to Craigslist Support and the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How To Avoid Craigslist Scams and Prevent Identity Theft
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