Long, Long ago
A long time ago, in a land not too far away, i used to be scammed on craigslist. I put a post-up about a car i was looking to sell. I was honest, left plenty of valuable resources to prove my car was great and I put a lot of effort into selling my car. I woke up one morning to a text. “Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss the car”. Naturally, I thought nothing of it, I sent an email and awaited a response. I never got that response, instead my email was hacked into, next thing I knew, my credit cards were being used to purchase anything and everything under the sun. I was scammed! It took me years to fix my credit card problem and I am still left traumatized from the experience. One would think i learned my lesson, but I didn’t, I would make a post and next thing you know i was changing email addresses, had to get a new phone number, and completely start fresh. I was completely oblivious to the scamming world, and it got me. So I brushed off the dust and tried my luck again, as craigslist is a great vessel to buy and sell for cheap. I mean come on, where else are you going to find a free place to list your scraps? I believe that it is important to be aware of craigslist, but also embrace it for all that it offers. I consider myself an expert professional at this point, and it has become easy for me to seek out the real from the fake. I no longer fall victim to scam and would like to share some helpful tips on how to avoid being a victim of scam and fraud.
Scam artists are all around us. They are sitting on Craigslist waiting for you to post your car for sale so they can throw out their bait, reel you in, and then SCAM you. We have customers telling us all the time about how they got scammed on various websites. We ourselves have experienced it first-hand. First things first, never accept payment via, “Mail”. The scammers will ask for personal information and then potentially mail you something shady, or even worse, know where you live. Watch out for mailed payments, this is a quintessential scam where the “buyer” sends a text asking a simple question about the car. Shortly after you have answered the question, he quickly responds saying, “I am out of town and will not be able to meet you by the car, please provide your name and mailing address so I can send a certified check along with some extra cash so my transporters can come and pick up the car.” Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever get a message like that please, don’t think you have just hit the lottery, block the number and keep looking for buyers. Second never email someone who texts you saying “please email my wife at ….”, chances are this is a way for a scammer to gain direct access to your personal email address, which can result in your bank accounts, and other personal information being compromised. Also never answer a text that seems too generic, otherwise you run the risk of having your phones privacy being compromised . Lastly, and this one is a given, NEVER give anyone your personal information.
Sailors and Deployed Servicemen…… Please
This one is my personal favorite. I recently got a text from a man named Charlie. Seemed legit, he asked me about the cars history, color, mileage, mechanical condition. So I naturally began explaining myself to Charlie, in hopes that he would potentially buy my car. Everything with Charlie went south rather quickly, shortly after his initial text, i responded, first texting him the mileage and then beginning to type a second text explaining the mechanical condition. Before I even had the chance to say just did an oil change, Charlie had already sent me a 2-part essay explaining to me that he was currently serving on his “second term in Iraq” mind you that most soldiers have been back from Iraq for two years now. Charlie went on to tell me, that he will be back in 3 months, and needs a new car for his wife and kids. He urged me to meet his “friends” and that later he would send me cash through regular mail. I laughed at Charlie and blocked his number. Be careful when getting messages from “sailors at sea” or “deployed service men” 10 out of 10 times it is a scammer. Block the number and move on. On the other side, i feel personally offended that scammers are using servicemen and sailors as a disguise to screw people over. I wanted to display a picture to honor the men and women who serve for their country instead of giving scammers more fame!
If you are buying
95% of the time if the price is low. There is something fishy going on, do a quick google search. Is the google images Lexus the same Lexus that Joe Shmo posted on craigslist? If so then there is your answer. A lot of times people ask me how come I’m selling a car for so low, my answer is always honest to the best of my ability, if something seems skeptical don’t always run in the opposite direction, it costs nothing to ask a few extra questions. I found this blog to be very helpful when i had my first craigslist car buying experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask many, ask anything, if someone is truly interested in selling their car, they will answer whatever you throw their way. Be sure to ask for the VIN and do a vehicle history report, ask about maintenance, see how long its been owned for. Get to know the seller, you can tell a lot about the car through the seller.
Whatever the case may be, just be aware of your surroundings. Most craigslist transactions go smooth and end with both parties leaving happy. Just follow these guidelines to make the best out of your Craigslist experience.