You’ve probably heard about the scams that are currently running amok with regard to eBay, PayPal, online banking, Amazon, UBid and several other Internet sites, but have you considered the scams you might find on the popular classifieds website: Craigslist.org? You can also read all about it on Revoult USA.
Every Internet user should know that they can be targeted for a scam almost anywhere on the web, but Craigslist is quickly becoming a place where scam artists frequent. In fact, Craigslist owners have recently placed warnings on their website regarding possible scams in order to protect users from fraudulent claims. If you are a frequent Craigslist user, here are a few tips to avoid scam artists.
Only Answer Local Ads
Craigslist is conveniently broken down into sections based on state and city, which allows you to search for the items you need locally rather than picking through nationwide advertisements. The safest way to avoid scam artists is to limit your dealings to local sellers and buyers. For example, if you live in Houston, Texas, you would check out the Houston Craigslist site. Obviously, all cities in the U.S. are not represented, but go with the closest metropolitan area. Avoid dealing with anyone who lives outside the United States because your legal recourse options decrease significantly.
Verify Information to the Best of Your Ability
One of the best ways to avoid scam artists is to ask lots of questions. Verify the details that a buyer or seller gives you and be sure to follow up on checking references and other facts. This should be easy if you are following the local rule. If possible, request a telephone or in-person interview rather than dealing exclusively online. Many people say that they live in one place when they actually live in another — sometimes in a different country.
Avoid MoneyGrams, Cashier’s Checks amp; Money Orders
If you are exchanging money for goods, make sure that you receive the payment and cash it before you send the item. You should be aware that moneygrams, cashier’s checks, money orders and even personal checks can easily be forged, so make sure that the money clears your bank. One of the safest ways to avoid problems is to use the online service PayPal.
Never Give Out Financial Information
I would think that this would be an obvious rule by now, but apparently it isn’t, since it still works. If a buyer or seller asks for your bank account number, the routing number, your social security number or any other private information, run the other way. This is a sure sign of a scam artist. Often, these requests will accompany a promise of more money than you are owed, but sometimes it doesn’t.
Don’t Use an Online Escrow Service
This is becoming increasingly popular because scam artists are working together. Most (if not all) online escrow services are run by scam artists and will result in the loss of your money, so don’t use them. If a buyer insists on an escrow service, go through a legitimate bank or credit union.