Tips for spotting fraudulent Craigslist postings

Posted at 2:28 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 21:18:12-04

(KGTV) - Many of us have likely used the website Craigslist to find goods, a job, and maybe even a place to live. Chances stand that many of us have also found scam posts on the website. 

There are a number of ways for consumers to spot these fraudulent posts before they commit and private information or funds to the scammer.

Unfortunately, if a scammer gets a hold of your money there isn't always a lot banks can do to reverse those charges. A Bank of America spokesperson told 10News reporter Jessica Chen that once a customer authorizes funds to leave an account, it can't be reversed. Speaking to a specific case, the spokesperson said:

It is unfortunate that the customer fell victim to a scam.  As we explained to [the customer], we unfortunately do not have the authority to reverse a transaction after the customer has authorized it and the funds have left the bank. We encouraged [them] to file a police report and we can work with local law enforcement directly on its investigation and prosecution of suspects.

Craiglist is well aware of these scammers creeping around their website. The website offers a number of tips for browsers to look out for and ways to report suspicious findings.

Avoid the scam...

To avoid getting caught up in a scam, users need to be extra vigilant when it comes to possible transactions involving money or their information.

Above all, Craigslist recommends users do not engage in any transaction without meeting the individual in person. Also:

  • Beware offers involving shipping,
  • Never wire funds,
  • Don't accept cashier, certified checks, or money orders,
  • Transactions are between users only,
  • Never give out financial info,
  • Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen, or
  • Refuse background or credit checks until you have met in person.

Recognize the scam...

Craigslist says many times, scams employ the same methods to trick users into turning over their information or money once they're in contact with you. Many of these methods include:

  • Emails or texts from someone that is not local,
  • A vague initial inquiry, 
  • Poor grammar or spelling, 
  • Transactions through Western Union, Money Gram, cashier checks, money orders, Paypal, shipping, escrow service, or some type of "guarantee," or
  • Inability or refusal to meet in person to complete the transaction.

Craigslist says recognizing these calling cards is key to knowing it's time to walk away.

Other things to look for...

There are, of course, other obvious signs that many will recognize as scam-related characteristics:

  • Odd email names, such as "pijgasd" or other undistinguishable names,
  • Fake or no phone numbers,
  • Lake of specifics pertaining to the product, person, or place, or
  • Offers that sound too good to be true

10News reporter Jessica Chen spoke to a San Diego man about his bad experience on Craiglist. On 10News at 5 p.m., he tells us why he won't be able to get his money back.