By Kenton Filipowicz in News
October 13, 2011
Selling used items online is convenient, but scams can appear with a simple double click.
Many people from Lock Haven post to the classifieds on Craigslist.org everyday. Are you aware of the warning signs?
From appliances to boats, concert tickets to automobiles, Craigslist.org is an online garage sale where users can buy or sell anything.
According to their factsheet, the site attracts around 20 billion people per month from across the planet.
Each month, 50 million new items or services are posted.
With all of this traffic on the site, safety is important. Craigslist.org is hands-off when it comes to interactions between users. They don’t mediate money transfers or transactions.
It is simple for a scammer to login and begin working. What does a scam look like on the site though?
After a user posts to a section and region, others can email that person to ask more about the product or to make plans to meet for the transaction. Scammers will never meet a user.
These people will act like your typical neighbor, but will trick you into thinking you can send your product to them safely.
Many will reside in a foreign country. They will tell you they sent a money order, that they transferred through Paypal.com, or send an email that looks like a receipt from Craigslist.org, claiming that everything is paid and all that’s left is to ship.
All transactions are anonymous on the site for the most part. Salefirstname.lastname@example.org, a current user from Willamsport, replied to an email saying, “A man from the United States Embassy in Nigeria wanted me to send the item and pay the $100 shipping fee after an email receipt claimed that he paid for the item and its shipping. It is really disappointing what people will try.”
Most of the scammers are recognizable, usually being short in their emails and always claiming that they need to wire money in some fashion.
Electronics and appliances are the hot items that they go for.
Amanda Love, a senior at LHU, said, “I sell things online all the time. I can’t imagine how many people get taken by these criminals.”
Wayne Miller, a teacher in Sugar Valley, said, “I gave up trying to sell my IPod on Craigslist because I was receiving tons of scam emails and it was too hard to see who was truly interested.”
Craigslist.org has begun to post scam warnings at the top of all emails and they are all available to read in their scams section. These warnings suggest dealing with people locally, meeting face to face, and never wiring money to anyone.
They also caution against taking cashier checks because the bank will come after you personally, and giving financial information such as bank account numbers. To see all of the scam information, visit Craigslist.org/about/scams.