Today’s Scambook TV will help you avoid Craigslist scams. As Kevan says, Craigslist is the online classified ads section of the internet. It’s a great place to find an apartment, look for a job, or buy and sell just about anything. Unfortunately, it’s also a hot bed for scammers.
Fraudsters use Craigslist to execute a wide variety of schemes from wire transfer fraud to bogus secret shopping jobs. That’s why you need to protect yourself by following your gut instincts and only doing local transactions. Kevan offers 3 additional tips to stay safe from Craigslist scams: use a Google Voice phone number, get a counterfeit detection pen and use the buddy system. These 3 safety tips will help you avoid scams and fraud on Craigslist.
Remember, the best way to protect yourself is to trust your instinct. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s also important to keep in mind that Craigslist is designed for local transactions with people you can actually meet in your city. Don’t do business with someone in another state or country, or someone who makes elaborate excuses about why they can’t meet you.
In addition to this, you can boost your safety on Craigslist by following these 3 tips:
Tip #1. Use Google Voice.
When conducting business on Craigslist, there are some circumstances where you may need to give out your phone number. Sign up for Gmail and get a free Google Voice number, which you can use to forward calls to your cell phone or landline.
You’ll be able to give this secondary number to someone you meet on Craigslist without revealing your primary contact info. Then, if something goes wrong, you’ll be able to block them or just drop the Google number. It’s an easy way to protect your privacy and your existing phone lines.
Tip #2. Use a counterfeit detection pen.
Cash is often the easiest, safest way to conduct a transaction on Craigslist (as long as you exchange it in a safe public place). When you’re selling an item, however, you run the risk that someone may try to scam you with fake bills. That’s where a counterfeit detection pen comes in handy.
Real US currency is printed on a special type of fiber-based paper, available only to the Treasury Department. The paper used by counterfeiters is a wood-based paper. The ink in counterfeit detection pens changes color when applied to wood-based paper, so you can make a mark on your bills and spot any fakes.
You can buy a counterfeit detection pen online, or at most office supply stores, for around $5.
Tip #3. Use the buddy system.
Safety in numbers! When you’re buying or selling on Craigslist, before you even agree to meet the other person, you should ask a trusted friend or family member for their opinion. They may be able to spot any suspicious details that you overlooked.
You should also bring your buddy to the meeting spot. Conduct the transaction in a safe, populated, well lit public space.
If your friend can’t come with you, at the very least, you should make sure someone knows where you’re going, who you’re meeting with and when you expect to return. Keep your cell phone fully charged and be prepared to walk away if anything seems fishy.
When it comes to your personal safety, never take risks.
For more safety tips, check out our blog post 10 Tips to Avoid Being Scammed on Craigslist.
Share Your Craigslist Stories
What do you think about Craigslist? Have you ever used it to buy or sell anything? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Leave a comment and share your own safety tips!