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Craigslist scam costs unsuspecting couple thousands

Craigslist appeared on the scene in 1995. Since then, it has become one of the most popular websites to buy and sell a wide range of things online. You can find such items as antiques, lawnmowers and even cars for sale.

One problem with Craigslist that you really need to watch out for are all of the scams that pop up constantly. One couple planning a vacation recently found this out the hard way.

What happened was, a couple living in New York decided to vacation in Florida. Their daughter booked them an ocean front property stay in Sarasota for the entire month of February. She found an amazing deal on Craigslist for only $2,100, which the couple paid for in advance of the trip.

Upon arrival, the couple found out that they had been scammed. The reservation was not real and the fraudster had stolen their money. The actual owner of the rental property told the couple that it’s impossible to find a price in the range that they had paid, that the normal price would be at least double.

How to spot a Craigslist scam

As I said earlier, scams are always showing up on Craigslist. Knowing that, the site is advising users to follow these rules to avoid scams:

  • Deal locally, face to face – follow this one rule and you will avoid 99 percent of scam attempts.
  • Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person.
  • Beware of offers involving shipping – deal with locals you can meet in person.
  • Never wire funds – anyone who asks you to is most likely a scammer.
  • Do not accept cashier/certified checks or money orders – banks cash fakes, then hold you accountable.
  • Transactions are between users only – no third-party provides a “guarantee.”
  • Never give out financial info – including bank accounts, social security numbers, PayPal account, etc.
  • Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen – the amazing deal you think you are getting might not actually exist.
  • Refuse background/credit checks – sometimes a prospective landlord or employer will require these. Do not do one until you’ve met them in person.

If you feel you have been a victim of fraud from Craigslist, click here to report it.

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