Craig's List Scams?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Do you have any personal experiences with Craig's List scams?

    I've been on Craig's List for several years now, but this is the first time I've seen this. Two weeks ago I've posted a relatively inexpensive starter guitar on Craig's List. I get an email- "I used to live in the Houston area, but I just moved to New York. I'll send you a check and give you an extra $20 for the trouble, then have my 'mover' pick up the item."

    Thinking this was a commercial mover, I asked for a local name and number for the mover, the conversation went dead.

    Yesterday I posted a set of oriental rosewood chairs on Craig's List and get an immediate response back, first the buyer asked if they are in good shape. When I said "yes", the potential buyer told me he did not have time to look at the items. I consider this very strange as they are listed for close to $2000 for the set. The buyer requested a name and address to send a cashier's check to include an extra $20 if I remove the item from Craig's List to make sure he got them. Thinking he was using a commercial mover, I asked him who was he using and requested a phone number. I'm waiting to see if he gets back with me.

    Then a light bulb went off! You know when they say it is too good to be true? I searched online and came up with:


    * About Scams

    This is what jumped out at me:
    DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on craigslist.

    So the question is, if I am dealing with scammers, regardless of what they say, I would have to assume they are local or at a minimum have local contacts to facilitate their heist? I'm wondering if there is any way to ID them and if I turned them into the cops, would anyone really care?

    For 99.9% of my Craig's List postings cash is my requirement. For expensive items I am willing to take a check, but will hold the item until the check clears the bank.

    How do you deal with expensive items you have listed on Craig's List- do you take checks and if so what are your conditions? Thanks! :)
  2. Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Sunny Southern California
    I have sold MANY items on Craigslist and have never had an issue. My policy is cash only and always meet in person in a public place such as starbucks, etc. This is to ensure that I do not get screwed or mugged or worse :eek:

    Most recently, I sold a pool table for $1200. Obviously, the person needed to come to my house to look at it which was fine. I did talk to the person on the phone before. I took half the payment upfront and half when the movers came (I always require buyer provide moving services).

    If you are dealing with large bills (i.e. $100 or more), I would go to a bank and have them verify authenticity before accepting payment. Any bank will be happy to do this.

    For enjoyable reading on scams, enjoy the P-P-P-Powerbook story!
  3. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    The most expensive thing I've sold via CL was an iPhone for a couple of hundred bucks, so it's not in the same category as your thousands of dollars worth of furniture, but no, there's no way I'd take a check from someone in a situation like that. Cash only.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Always cash in exchange for product, check money. Ignore spammers / forward to abuse@

    They could also have the 3 way scam with Buyer, Scammer, 3rd-Party

    Scammer sends fake check to buyer for "pick up"
    Scammer sells product to 3rd party for real money for pick up
    Scammer sends 3rd-party buyer's address
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    no matter how many times I read that story it NEVER gets old.
  6. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    The scams just get more clever on Craigslist.

    There are also a ton of employment scams from "credit checks" to third party vendors like taleo which have made ripoff report and hit lists.

    One of my employers will only use my last four of my social security number as to protect from ever being accused of anything later on. But when you go to a third party "HR" site stumping on craigslist, or get e-mails from a prospective employer who has a real looking mirror site you get directed to but is called sexy69 at a gmail or hotmail, then you know they are probably not for real. :)

    I also used to get e-mails saying somebody (in nearby town) had a crush on me and I only got those spam e-mails after craigslist, not anything else and that says something.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    For selling or buying goods its tough to get scammed (I didn't say impossible). If you execute the transaction face to face in a public setting, you can examine the item and then determine if you're willing to pay cash for it or not.
  8. Str8edgepunker macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2001
    Philadelphia, PA
    One of the virtues of living in an apartment building is the fact that there is a lobby with a front desk person there at all times. There's also cameras as well, but I digress. I know that whenever I sell an item over Craigslist, I always put in there: "You must pick up this item in person and pay cash. You must also have a vehicle capable of carrying the [item]." If they want to pay you any other way, including checks (except maybe a money order), or if they want you to ship the item, then ignore them.

    Also, check out the emails they send you. If they start asking questions about the condition of an item and you have thoroughly described them with pictures and in plain English (Don't get me started on how many people butcher it there), forget it. Same goes for if a person asks if an item is still available.

    Use a reliable location that you feel safe in and have the person come to you if you're selling an item. Make sure to give them good directions to the location as well. I can tell you that I've gone out to locations and the person wasn't even there. Also, ask for a phone number immediately and ask them to call you. It can reassure both sides that each is legitimate. If you don't feel safe giving out your personal number, sign up for Google Voice and give them that number. You need to know that you have no idea who this person is and you need to make sure to cover yourself.
  9. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Being Asian, I recall my first generation relatives who spoke broken English, and I will see a Craigslist ad pretending to be local (restaurant, law office, non-profit) and the ad will read:

    1) resume
    2) qualifications
    3) credit report
    4) "this is good jobs since you can work from home and be with you wife" :eek:

    Spell checking can catch incorrect words but won't catch cultural bloopers. Let me get this straight, you say on Craigslist that you are the Department of the Navy yet as a benefit you state "this is a good jobs since you can work from home and be with you wife".


    To that I should respond I need to be with wives!:rolleyes:

    Oh, and that .384 in the employer's IP's octet screams Commie China and fraud. Hey, I already give enough of my money to them when I buy clothes and hard goods here in the USA.
  10. BCurry1 macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I always make buyers meet me in front of my local police station. Lots of cameras and guys with guns in case a buyer tries to scam me.
  11. callmemike20 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 21, 2007
    What's the point of even accepting a check? If the person has the money in the bank, they can take it out and give it to you. If they are writing a check, then they obviously don't have the money in the bank to take care of it. Now, I understand there can be situations where the banks are closed and transactions take place in one evening, but most of the time they dont.
  12. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Sure you do. ;)

    But you made me think of a bank.

    More cameras than people, sometimes.

    Or even in front of an ATM machine. :D

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