Craigslist scams: How to spot them and how to avoid them
Craigslist is a very popular online classified advertising platform with a wide variety of sections. Individuals are able to make postings for jobs, housing, items, services, resumes, and more! You name it, you can more than likely find a listing for it on the site. What makes Craigslist so great is that it really resembles the local newspaper classifieds. The website isn’t difficult to navigate. Also, it’s free to post. It’s the perfect place to sell, and buy, whatever you need. However, with all good things, there are negatives. Safety and security can be a concern for individuals that are conducting business on the website. Like with most online platforms, you can’t be completely sure that the person that you’re making arrangements with is honest and trustworthy. There are lots of scams that are circulating the platform that users need to be aware of.
Typos lead to trouble
When visiting various websites some individuals will just type the name of the website they plan to use into their web browser and let their default web browser take the wheel. Other individuals may type out the actual web address starting with the www. and ending with the .com or whatever ending applies. The problem with that though is it is very easy to make a typo when typing in the web address URL. Scammers rely on individuals making a typo. So what they do is they purchase domain names of those common typos that you might make. You then get routed to a site that will look a lot like the official Craigslist site. From there, you’re like a fly caught in a spider’s web. This can be especially dreadful for individuals who have never visited or used the authentic Craigslist site. If you’re not aware that Craigslist is free to post, one of these fake sites could take advantage of that. When planning to visit the site, remember that www.Craigslist.org is the only official site. Fortunately, Craigslist has purchased the domain for www.craigslist.com and it will automatically reroute you to the official site. That’s one crisis averted. Still, be wary of the other misspellings and variations of the web site name that could be maintained by scammers hoping to catch you slipping.
Long Distance Transactions
One beauty of Craigslist is that it’s like the classifieds right out of your local newspaper. Listings are displayed by the area where you live. When users open the home page, it displays right at the top what area you’re in and the ads local to that area. The purpose is so that whatever items or services you plan to obtain are nearby so that you can get it. When you see listings that are not in your local area you should be mindful. If they’re not nearby, how are you planning to meet up? If they’re proposing to ship to you, does that mean that you will need to complete the monetary transaction online? That can be catchy. PayPal and other similar services have a host of their own scams. If the posting isn’t local, it’s best to just ignore it. With such a vast number of listings, there is sure to be that same item in your area! If the price was better for the non-local ad, it was probably too good to be true.
PayPal is a trusted and secure site that has been operating for years. That is why some scammers rely on the credibility of PayPal to fraud you out of money. They will offer to send payment through PayPal. That is the first red flag. PayPal scams are quite common. A popular one that affects Craistlist users is a phishing scam. Phishing scams are when an email is sent in hopes that the recipient will click a link. Once the link is clicked, the sender is able is to get the recipient log in information. In the case with PayPal, an email is sent stating that money has been deposited and that you need to log in and confirm to have it available to you. Once you click that button, you’ll be directed to a fake website that looks a lot like PayPal. Once you log in, it’s a wrap. The scammer will now have your login information and access to your account. If you do take the chance and attempt to conduct monetary transactions via PayPal, be smart. Instead of clicking the link on the email, log directly into PayPal’s website and check messages there. Any official notice from PayPal will be found there. For more PayPal scams you should be aware of when using Craigslist, visit the official PayPal website. They have the information listed in their help center.
No ticket, no entry
Desperate times call for desperate measures. A big show is coming to town that you don’t want to miss, but tickets are completely sold out. Of course, Craigslist, the site that has everything, has postings of individuals selling tickets to the show. You must be careful though. Scammers prey on individuals desperate for tickets. They make fake tickets to sell. Some are really really good. They may even have the holographic watermarks! If you’re going to do so, be smart about it. Have the person meet you at the ticket booth so that an employee can check the validity of the ticket. Or, purchase resell tickets directly from the original website selling them. If that’s not an option, there is always StubHub.
We’re past the days of fake money. Now scammers are making fake money orders and checks! And they look pretty convincing, too. Just do yourself a favor and avoid taking these as forms of payments. Exchanging the item/service and payment at the time of meet up is ideal. If you decide to have it shipped, wait for the check to clear before putting it in the mail.
There are even more scams than the ones mentioned above. Be picky when deciding who to do business with. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If something seems fishy, it probably is. Look out for red flags and trust your gut. Remember, if you’ve made arrangements to do business via PayPal, and you get an email message from PayPal with instructions, that is a red flag. Visit PayPal’s official website and look for the message there. It is wise not to purchase any tickets from Craigslist. Avoid non-local ads. A big one to remember, make sure you’re on the official Craigslist website! Visiting the wrong site could be where all of your troubles begin.