How to Avoid Craigslist Scams


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

how to spot a scam on craigslist

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:

Report To The FTC Here

Report to Craigslist

How To Avoid Craigslist Scams and Prevent Identity Theft

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodic emails – we promise not to spam. Meanwhile, educate yourself with some other fraud-related articles right under this paragraph, so that you can protect yourself in many other aspects and niches. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

Here are some must-reads for the end:

Credit Card Fraud

How to Prevent Identity Theft

PayPal Money Adder Scam

Top 10 Twitter Scams

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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

1 thought on “How to Avoid Craigslist Scams”

  1. First of all I’m a senior on a limited income and was scammed a few weeks ago by a company selling an adult tricycle. I was on Amazon checking out the prices on them when this pop up came on with the same tricycle but a lot cheaper. Well I bought the tricycle at around 80 dollars and about a week ago I received this mennella coloured envelope with a cut out of a grey puppy with pink glasses. The return address was washed out along with other info on the envelope.
    I haven’t told my daughter as of yet as I’m unable to go to the stores yet because I’m having heart issues and my daughter is worried I’ll be exposed to the virus again. Please keep me informed if you hear anything about this company it is ” cmirrtr Active “.
    Thanks, Josie

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