Imposter. Swindler. Cheat. Trickster. Call him what you will, you’re not being paranoid. He is out to get you or anyone who is naive enough to fall prey to his scams. Thieves are crawling the Internet and creating ways to get your money without giving you a product. Or, worse yet, they are finding ways to trick you to give them your identity…putting you into a world of hurt. These people are acting illegally and committing fraud. However, online deception gets more prevalent as people fall for the deceit.
It’s important to be aware of scams and recognize them. For example, on Craigslist’s actual site, you can find that information. Most scams involve: a response from someone out of the country or going out of the country; a “guarantee” involving Western Union or other money transfer sites; the mention of sending money orders and using escrow services; and the inability for the transaction to take place in person. Be cautious, aware and get some personal Lifelock.com identity protection to ease your mind and avoid a thief stealing from you. Here are some first-hand accounts of Craigslist Scams.
Renting a Home
Deanna and RJ were looking for a home to rent online and thought Craigslist to be a great option. They found a great deal for a 3-bedroom house in Scottsdale, Ariz. for a monthly rent of $1000. The photos showed a remodeled interior and a very nice one, at that. Who couldn’t pass up new paint, tile, wood flooring, upgraded appliance and new blinds for that price in that area? RJ contacted the ad and in response received an email saying the house was available and the owner would be happy to rent it to them; however, the owner was out of the country for business so they’d need to send a security deposit to get the key, along with other fake and fraudulent requests.
Avoid this person…he/she is what you call a con-artist and if you think about it, the requests are quite ridiculous. But still, somehow, people are way too trusting and gullible.
Applying for a Job
Amanda moved to Tallahassee, Fla. this summer thinking she would find a job once she was settled into her apartment. With quite a bit of experience in business administration, she decided to apply to full-time and part-time Office Manager, Receptionist and Front Desk Coordinator positions. One of the ads she replied to had this description: “Pleasant, friendly, motivated Receptionist needed for medical billing, appointment scheduling and problem solving.” Some red flags for scams are no business name, no business email address and the compensation will be higher than most jobs in the field. Not many companies pays $16/hour or $55K for an entry-level position like this without a few interviews.
After applying to quite a few of these ads, Amanda received emails for the next three months asking her to send details about herself and to visit suspicious websites claiming they are a job board and asking her grant a background check and to give personal and financial information before she could get to the listing she was interested in. Amanda had heard about the scams and didn’t fall for them. Upon returning to the site to report the experience, she noticed the listings would no longer link to the ad but a page that read, “This posting has been flagged for removal.”
Thanks to Craigslist and the reports of fraudulent behavior, nobody else would have to suffer this scam.
Take Advice From Craig Himself
The same thing applies to concert tickets, airline tickets, car deals and any large-ticket item that might have the seller referring you to an escrow company. While Craigslist is an excellent and unique way to advertise in a communal way, be smart when it comes to Internet purchases. Some advice on Craigslist’s common-sense rules page:
- Meet people in person and deal locally.
- Never wire money.
- Watch out for fake money orders and cashier checks (banks will actually cash them then hold you responsible when they do not go through).
- If they mention Craigslist being involved, walk away.
- Don’t give out personal financial information.
- Only scammers “guarantee” transactions when dealing with shipping and escrow companies.
- Don’t rent housing that you have not see in person. The same goes for large-ticket items.
- Don’t approve a background or credit check for a job our housing until you’ve met in person.
About Guest Author: Samantha Vick Samantha maintains over 50 Twitter and Facebook accounts daily. She loves her job and loves helping companies to maximize their business through tech trends and cloud computing solutions.