Craigslist is an online classifieds source in the United States that contains sections for products for sale, public works, chat rooms, jobs, apartments, concerts and resumes. As of 2012, there are Craigslist pages in over 700 cities and neighborhoods in 70 countries. Craigslist is a useful tool, especially for buying and selling stuff. The site’s interface is easy to use and offers many features. But just like any other website, Craigslist has its own list of scammers.
According to a 2014 New York University study, 1.5 percent of real estate ads on Craigslist were fake. This means that of the 29,000 ads in 20 cities, about 2,000,000 were false. As this study only covers property, site-wide figures are not available.
Even if the number of fake ads is small, they can cost innocent buyers and sellers their financial security and money. According to Apartment List, nearly 43% of Americans have experienced fraudulent rentals, and 5.2 million people have lost money on a rental arrangement.
Some of the most common scams on Craigslist:
- It’s a fake job: Posting jobs and then asking people to buy an item that they will get back later for their wages is a common way to scam people on Craigslist. These types of scams take advantage of needy people who are willing to do strange things under pressure to get a job.
- The scam. You’ve been overpaid: Scammers on Craigslist often ask sellers to return overpayments. Occurs with larger items such as vehicles and rental properties.
- Fake escrow sites: Scammers use a fake website to gain your trust and gamble with both your money and personal information.
Top 3 safety tips to avoid the most common fuel scams
Here are some security tips you can follow to protect your money when using the popular online marketplace. Whether you’re looking to buy a new home or sell your iPhone, here’s what you need to know to stay safe and avoid scams on Craigslist:
1. Keeping payments offline
Even if a buyer or seller seems trustworthy online, it’s still risky to give them access to your personal information, especially your financial data. Chances are if you pay online, you will never receive the product, or if you do receive it, it may be fake.
It is best to do the transactions offline once you have selected the product you want on Craigslist. When you buy something, don’t just rely on the pictures. Ask to see the article in person.
If you are dealing with a local, using cash instead of electronic payments is another way to keep things safe on your end. To make the transaction even more secure, perform it at a secure meeting place. It could be your police station, a shopping mall or even a public park. In a safe place with lots of people around you so you can ask for help if something goes wrong. Choose a well-lit and busy parking lot where police are regularly present for security reasons.
For large items, such as furniture or appliances, you can go to Dolly’s. Dolly is an online craigslist pickup service that helps you complete difficult tasks. This saves you the anxiety of meeting a stranger and simply delivers your goods directly to your door, without any human contact. Even better for the respect of social distance!
2. Identity check
When using Craigslist, it is important to check both the service and the provider. It is important that you verify all the information you received during the interview in order to reach an agreement. There are many ways that fraudsters can hide their true identity behind fake names and identities. If you’re not careful enough, you can fall into their manipulative traps.
In addition to identification methods like online verification, there’s another way to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of a scammer: Nuwber. Here you can confirm whether the person you are talking to is a real person or not.
3. Protecting your identity
To prevent identity theft, you need to secure your personal information as much as possible. As a seller on the site, you should use the site’s proxy email address so you don’t have to provide your email address.
You can also choose not to share your phone number with Google Voice. Allows you to receive calls and text messages on your phone from another phone number. The number you get is free and is a disposable number, meaning it expires after 30 days if you don’t use it.
Another thing to watch out for as a Craigslist seller: Many smartphones contain data about where the photo was taken. Be sure to remove any personal information before posting photos of the item for sale. For example, remove all geotags that may help others determine your location or address. You can do this with deGeo, a geodetic surveying program.
Craigslist is a great site to buy and sell, find new jobs and even meet new people. However, you should take precautions before making a deal or contacting anyone on Craigslist. The best way to use this site is to do good research and be proactive. By keeping transactions local and paying cash, transactions are secure, benefiting both buyers and sellers.
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