How to avoid Craigslist scams

“If it sounds too good to be true…” We all can complete this saying in our head. When it comes to buying anything advertised in classified ads, the saying definitely rings true. It really isn’t that hard to avoid getting ripped off from a seller on Craigslist. All you will really have to do is use common sense when doing business on this website. For example, if you see a listing for a 2012 Mercedes-Benz for $5,000, then it either incurred a lot of body damage or it’s ripe for a buyer who isn’t paying to their intuition or good old common sense.

How To Avoid the Craigslist Rip-Off

This is a list of guidelines from the famous website featuring classified ads from all over the world.

Deal only with local residents that you can meet face-to-face: By just adhering to this one simple guideline, you can avoid well over 95 percent of the scams perpetrated on this site.

Practice caution when it comes to taking money orders and cashier checks as payment: A common scam involves paying the seller with a fake money order or cashier check. Never take these payment methods as banks will hold you accountable when they discover the ruse weeks after the transaction occurred.

Never wire funds via a wire service such as Western Union or Moneygram: Any seller that asks you to wire them funds is a scammer.

Craigslist doesn’t involve itself in any transaction: There’s no type of buyer protection, they do not deal with payments or guarantee any sort of transaction. Therefore, when making a transaction on this website, you are your only protection.

Keep your financial information to yourself: Never give out information such as your PayPal or eBay information, bank account data or social security number to a buyer or seller.

void sellers who “guarantee” your transaction: Any seller who guarantees your transaction is undoubtedly a scammer.

As long as you follow the first guideline of always dealing with locals when buying or selling, you’ll eliminate most of your risk for falling victim to a scam. While many people don’t like the idea of having a stranger come to their home, you can get around that security risk by asking the person to come to a public place to get the transaction under way. If you’re selling a heavy item like a piece of furniture or a vehicle, then always ensure that you’re never alone during the transaction. If you’re going to a seller’s house to look at an item, always take a friend or family member with you. You should also have someone with you if someone is visiting your home to look at something you’re selling.

Whether you’re buying or selling an item, you always want to keep safety at the forefront of your mind by keeping your wits about you and having a friend or family member do the same. A loved one can often pick up on strange behavior and “vibes” that you might not notice. Keeping your wits about you is also a piece of advice that will serve you when buying or selling things from classified ads and their websites. When it comes to buying or selling to strangers, common sense should act as your best friend.

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