Top 10 Internet Scams on Craigslist

Nowadays, if you’re looking for a house, a date or even a service, the best place to look for it is on Craigslist, an online classified site that is categorized by virtually any city.

However, the technology that has made it easier to find what you need has also made it easier for scam artists to take advantage of those who least expect it. Craigslist is a perfect example of that. On any day of the week, you can find hundreds of local listings that include all  apartment and home rentals, cars for sale, concert and play tickets, job ads and just about every conceivable secondhand item you can think of. But scammers are very creative and have put together elaborate rouses to trick even the best buyer.

The good news is that you don’t have to avoid Craigslist and all of its wonderful opportunities to avoid being taken advantage of. This Top 10 Article examines things you need to be wary of when on Craigslist.


1. Property Fraud


In this sinister and menacing internet scam, the “landlord” will list a home or apartment at an incredibly good price. They’ll feature photos of an gorgeous place with the preferred amenities. Of course, they’ll have dozens of people respond to the ad and most will want to grab it before it’s gone. This landlord is all too willing to please everyone too. In fact, he will collect deposits, including the first and last month’s rent, and other fees from anyone who’s interested – and then just skip town.

The problem comes when all the renters try to move in and discover it was never the landlord’s to rent in the first place. In one case, such a “landlord” walked away with $60,000 in collected fees from potential renters from a single apartment.


2. Censorship Issues

Parents need to be careful before sending their children on Craigslist. There are listings on the website which use nudity and course language. This website should viewed by children only when accompanied by an adult. One does not need to browse too long to view nudity, especially in the dating/relationships column.

It seems that Internet censorship has been getting a lot of press lately, the Google/China issue attracting most of the media attention. In he spotlight is Craigslist, one of the largest classified ads sites on the Internet. The latest debate is over whether Craigslist should be more proactive in censoring those who post on it. The all began when some apartment listings appeared to be racially slanted. This and other events lead us to once again visit the questions, “Should the Internet be censored?”, especially with adult listings so easily accessible by all.


3. Robbery Issues

On the news it was revealed that a man lost his possessions because of Craigslist. Many people would come in and refuse to stop taking the possessions and cited an ad on the website as the source and reason for theft. Craigslist has done little to not allow posters to make ‘fake’ postings.


4. Affiliate Marketing Scams

Craigslist warns people about scams and affiliated marketing. They have done their job to protect its readers and viewers partly. Recently it has come to my attention that a company was offering a job to those who want to be ‘mystery shoppers’. They would send them a cheque through Fedex for thousands of dollars. A specific amount of money would go to buying merchandise at supermarkets, another portion went to writing a report and another portion was to be sent to a bank in Philippines through money wire. After extensive email reading and correspondences, the story did check out to be as a scam. The advertisement was up on the website for 1 month until it got shut down.


5. Fake Funds

Con artists are very good at writing fraudulent checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks. Some car owners have found out the hard way after they release their car to such a buyer, the check bounces or comes back as a fraud.

I ran into this situation when I applied for a job on Craigslist doing mystery shopping. The guy sent me a cheque for $3000 and asked me to go shop at Walmart and deposit the rest of the money to a Philippines bank account. The cheque was fraudulent.


6. Cybertheft Issues

Cybertheft is on the rise especially on websites such as Craigslist. Many play pranks on friends and try to make fun of them. This smells trouble especially for those whose reputation may be ruined because of cyber identity theft. It is also in many ways a form of bullying.

In a recent incident, a Florida woman was charged with a felony after stealing the identity of her husband’s ex-wife. She admitted to placing an ad on Craigslist, creating an email address in the victim’s name and giving out the victim’s phone number. The victim was reportedly told by a man that he wrote to an email address in the ad and received a response giving him the victim’s name, address, and cell phone number,


7. Cyber Bullying Issues

You can add someone’s email and post personal information. Everything is free in one click of a button. There are no restrictions. If wanting to be safe, Craigslist should spam posts with people’s personal info. One of my friends tried to find a personal date on there, he gave the woman his photo. The woman who received the photo disappeared, but not before she threatened to smother his name all over Craigslist, which she did. It took Craigslist 5 days to delete it.


8. No Insurance:

Once you buy something there is no insurance. Unlike Ebay, there is no guarantee that the person selling you an item will give a refund if the product becomes defective. You are usually going on an instinct. This leads us into #9 which discusses Fake Tickets.


9. Fake Tickets

Con artists have figured out how to use a printer to print out fake tickets to concerts, which is bad news for those want to actually buy event tickets that are sold out. The thief will print out fake tickets that look like the real thing and then sell them to unsuspecting buyers for well over $500. Some scammers will sell complete season tickets for a sporting team or concert series. But when you try to use them, you’re told that the tickets aren’t real.


10. Spyware


A new and very deceiving Craigslist scam tries to fool victims into downloading a potentially dangerous piece of spyware by inviting to a supposed video that matches the product they’re selling. How horrible does this get?


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