Safety Tips for Avoiding the Most Common Craigslist Scams

Most Common Craigslist Scams

Craigslist has always been the internet’s go-to marketplace for buying and selling since it was launched. It’s the only semi-trustworthy online source for everything from used cars and new iPhones to your new flat. It’s easy to use, with a simple, straightforward interface that even your grandma would appreciate. Although it is simple to post a listing or answer to one, it is also simple to fall victim to one of the many popular Craigslist scams.

Most Common Craigslist Scams
Most Common Craigslist Scams photo via Depositphotos

We’re here to assist you to do more than just getting your purchase home. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular Craigslist scams, as well as tips on how to stop them and stay safe while transacting on Craigslist. If you’re looking for a new car or trying to sell your sofa, here’s all you need to know to keep safe and avoid scams on Craigslist:

Here are some popular craigslist scams to familiarize yourself with:

  • Listings for apartments, motorcycles, and other used vehicles that do not need a credit check (usually, this is a way to get your personal information or put you in a crippling debt).
  • Requesting a wire transfer to either loot your money or obtain your bank records.
  • Posting a product for sale that they do not have and including generic images of the product in question.
  • Using thousands (or hundreds) of Craigslist posts for a similar product.
  • The urgent request to make use of PayPal and then giving you a page to create an account – avoid clicking on the link, it’s likely to be a phishing

Safety Tips to Avoid Scams

Avoid Craigslist Scams
Avoid Craigslist Scams

Find out and understand how craigslist works

It is possible to be on the safe side from the numerous scams on Craigslist if you understand the platform a lot better. Craigslist, for instance, is not liable for any payment or purchase on its platform, so the site’s so-called buying security is a fraud. The website still lacks a voicemail feature, so be wary if a person advises you to check your Craigslist voicemails – just another warning that you’re communicating with a swindler.

Perform a comprehensive check on the site

As we’ve all seen in the modern era and with the internet, photo editing happens all the time. Often scammers edit photographs of the items they sell and post them on Craigslist, enticing you into purchasing goods that seem acceptable but are broken or non-functional (in the case of appliances or electronics, for instance). When you meet in person, investigate the product as thoroughly as possible, covering all bases. Often, request that you check it out to ensure that it functions smoothly.

Avoid Fraudulent Checks by all means.

It can seem easy, although it is essential to understand that battling a fraudulent check is nearly impossible. Accepting or sending a signed check, cashier’s check, or money order as payment is not appropriate. As a vendor, there’s a fair risk you’ll be out of luck after delivering the items to the customer by courier or handing them over in person, whether they’ve asked to pay you via one of these ways. A bad check can tend to work at first pass, but then the items you sold are long gone, and you won’t see a dime! As a buyer, it is highly probable that after you have legitimately paid for your products by wire transfer, the seller has disabled their account and vanished with your money.

Perform a check on who you’re dealing with

It is still preferable to be safe than sorry. There is no risk in conducting a background search on the person you want to do business with via Craigslist. And, given the prevalence of scams on the web for those unaware, why wouldn’t you do a background check? Enter any detail you have about the vendor, such as their name and phone number, into Nuwber and see if you notice anything unusual. If you can’t find any detail, this may be a red flag.

Resist the urge to share personal information on craigslist

Yes, it’s easy to exchange your phone number with the person you’re transacting with on Craigslist. However, this usually is sufficient. Keep private information private. When a contact starts asking you more questions about yourself that are typically unrelated to the transaction at hand, you should be conscious that something is wrong. Never give out personal details such as your date of birth, mother’s maiden surname, or Social Security number. Identity theft is a real and growing epidemic, so back out of a transaction before it’s too late.

Dealing locally is better off.

Craigslist is mindful of the scams that take place on their website. They have to be, right? According to their own recommendations, it is the safest to deal locally when using the website for purchasing or selling. They say that by doing so, you would be able to stop 99 percent of Craigslist scams. The most significant advantage of trading locally is that you will be able to transact with a citizen face to face. Of necessity, this increases both certainty and openness on both sides. That is, after all, the standard.

Never fall for a fake escrow site.

You can quickly locate reliable, legal escrow platforms for big transfers involving a significant amount of money. This functions as a middleman for the two parties, keeping the money until the goods are sold when the money is released to the seller. They are practical and can provide you with peace of mind when working with expensive products. Scammers can use or build bogus escrow pages on Craigslist as well. You can be enticed as a buyer to deposit money on the fake escrow site, thus giving the fraudster your hard-earned money, and the worst part is that what you paid for will not get to you – if the commodity even exists. These phony escrow sites are exact replicas of real escrow sites (which are innocent in all of this). Do not click on the link provided by the seller to the website. Instead, Google it for yourself, check if the URL is safe, and look for spelling errors or poor grammar in the site’s text. The latter is almost always a telltale sign.

Want more online safety tips? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

Also read: Tips For Travelling Safely In Foreign Countries

Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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