If you use Craigslist to buy or sell locally, you know that you have to be careful. Three new scams are hitting Craigslist. Here’s what you need to know so you don’t become the next victim.
1. Hiring movers
You call around different moving companies and find one is more outrageously priced than the next. Not to mention those fuel charges! Naturally, you turn to Craigslist for a bargain.
Watch out! Scammers are using these ads to find just the right family to rip off all of their stuff.
That's what happened to one family in Douglas County, Georgia. The moving team consisted of two men and a
Hours later, after arriving at their new house, there were still no sign of the movers. The family called the police. Once police started investigating, they found the U-Haul abandoned and empty. These thieves managed to steal an entire family's belongings in a stolen truck.
Two days after the theft, a box was found on the side of the road that belonged to the family. It had very important documents inside, but the iPads and phones packed in that same box were gone. The estimated amount in losses is about $75,000.
2. Rental or home listings
After homeowner John Darr in New Albany, Indiana listed his home for sale, he began noticing suspicious activity. People were coming to his house and walking all around the property. Some were even coming right up to his front porch, and peeking in the windows.
He later realized what had happened. Scammers posted the details of his home as a rental property on Craigslist. It was described as a cozy three-bedroom, two-bathroom house for only $600 per month. All the applicants had to do was send in their personal information, along with a security deposit.
However, Darr's home was not for rent. He wasn't fully aware of what had happened until he received a strange message on Facebook.
"The message asked ... was I selling the house or was I renting the house? Because she had some concerns that somebody was running a scam with my name," Darr explained.
It was then that he became aware of the fraudulent post on Craigslist, which made several false claims. One said that the owners of the property were going to be leaving the country for three or four years on a mission trip. The scammer offered false contact information, and would correspond with interested applicants. Through this correspondence, the scammer was able to obtain personal information from the victims, and even make arrangements for money transfers.
A major red flag is a rental property where you're unable to meet with the owner, or some type of property manager. If no one can meet you at the home for a tour, there's something fishy about the listing. An extravagant story that explains why the owner will be away from the property is another sign. For a legitimate rental, you should never be asked to wire money to your new landlord, especially before you've had the chance to tour the property.
If you do find a property that you believe is listed as part of a scam, report it to law enforcement.
Recently, The New York Post shared the story of Danielle Posner, who’d used Craigslist to purchase tickets to see the hit play Hamilton. She’d been excited to see this play for months, but when she got to the door, security turned her away. The tickets were counterfeit, and cost her $350.
Scammers have learned how to create convincing replicas of real tickets to popular events. These replicas can be difficult to spot, especially since they include matching logos and watermarks.
Another way scammers use tickets to trick you is by purchasing real tickets, selling them on Craigslist, and canceling them afterward. This again is something you probably won't realize has happened until you're denied access to the event you planned on attending.
In this particular scam, the tickets are typically listed far below market value. That's done deliberately. It makes you think you're getting an amazing deal, but really the scammers are just stealing your money.
To avoid scalping scams on Craigslist, the best thing to do is to purchase your tickets directly from the venue. You can also use reputable sites like Ticketmaster.com, which specialize in ticket sales and have better fraud prevention for customers.
Finally, use common sense. If the person selling the item you’re interested in can’t meet with you, or won’t let you inspect the item before you purchase, that’s a major red flag. You should also be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for an item or make a deposit with a wire transfer, or something like an iTunes gift card. Click here for more signs of common Craigslist scams.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com or send her an email.