Craigslist Scams

Craigslist Scam
Posted on 01/30/2020
Craisgslist Scams

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to be mindful of scammers when selling personal property online. Recently, a Skyland resident was selling an item on Craigslist for $200.00. The seller received emails of interest from a buyer, who ultimately sent a check in the amount of $1490.00. The diligent seller quickly realized this was a scam and did not cash the check. Had the seller been successful at cashing the check, the buyer would likely ask for the excess money back in cash, minus a small amount for the inconvenience. Once the check fails to clear the bank of issuance, usually 7 to 10 days later, your bank will hold you, the seller, responsible for the fraudulent check. Additional information related to common scams can be found at . Below are helpful tips to not fall victim to the common online sales scams:

Recognizing scams
Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following:
• Email or text from someone that is not local to your area.
• Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about "the item." Poor grammar/spelling.
• Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, Paypal, Zelle, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."
• Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction.
Examples of Scams
1. Someone claims your transaction is guaranteed, that a buyer/seller is officially certified, OR that a third party of any kind will handle or provide protection for a payment:
• These claims are fraudulent, as transactions are between users only.
• The scammer will often send an official looking (but fake) email that appears to come from craigslist or another third party, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, or pretending to handle payments.
2. Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check:
• You receive an email or text (examples below) offering to buy your item, pay for your services in advance, or rent your apartment, sight unseen and without meeting you in person.
• A cashier's check is offered for your sale item as a deposit for an apartment or for your services.
• Value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item—scammer offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service.
• Banks will cash fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, sometimes including criminal prosecution.
• Scams often pretend to involve a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate, etc.).
3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
• Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, or rent is below market, etc.
• Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, other high value items.
• Scammer may (falsely) claim a confirmation code from you is needed before he can withdraw your money.
• Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, UK, Netherlands—but could be anywhere.
• Rental may be local, but owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money abroad.
• Scammer may pretend to be unable to speak by phone (scammers prefer to operate by text/email).
4. Distant person offers to send you a cashier's check or money order and then have you wire money:
• This is ALWAYS a scam in our experience—the cashier's check is FAKE.
• Sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not.
• Scammer often asks for your name, address, etc. for printing on the fake check.
• Deal often seems too good to be true.
5. Distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which they will ship goods:
• He says he trusts you with the partial payment.

• He may say he has already shipped the goods.
• Deal often sounds too good to be true.

Written by: Sgt Jeff Schemenauer
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office