How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers

How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers

3 simple rules to protect you on Craigslist

It’s finally time to part with a vehicle after years of ownership. The seller cleans out the armrest, vacuums the interior, and polishes the paint to a gleaming shine. Only after the vehicle is prettied to perfection does the owner place an ad for it on Craigslist, the popular classified ad website. What happens next isn’t something the seller expects.  How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers
A person emails the seller expressing interest in the vehicle. The potential buyer asks about the condition of the car, the number of miles on the engine, and the age of the tires. After several emails back and forth, the interested individual asks about a vehicle history report. Instead of asking the seller to buy a Carfax report, he suggests an alternative that’s half the price.
A Carfax vehicle history report offers such information as to ownership history, accident history, maintenance reports, and other useful data. It’s a valuable resource for buyers when contemplating a vehicle purchase. The potential buyer in our example above, however, wasn’t interested in obtaining this type of information. The person wanted something more sinister in nature – the seller’s cash. How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers
The prospective purchaser told the seller that a Carfax report was too expensive and that the seller should buy a comparable report from an alternative website. When the seller navigates to the alternative website as suggested, the landing page looks legitimate and offers what someone would expect to find on a Carfax report. After the seller enters his credit card information into the site to generate the report, the website tells him it will be emailed to him shortly.
That email never arrives. How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers
This scam is one of many that plague honest classified ad users every day. The scammer duped a seller into entering credit card information into a fake website. Once the scammer had this information in hand, he immediately used the credit card to make fraudulent purchases. Instead of getting cash for the sale of his used vehicle, the seller lost his valuable time disputing the fraudulent charges to his card company. How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers
When posting an item for sale on Craigslist, or any other classified ad resource, always assume you might become the target of a scammer. Use extreme caution when dealing with unknown individuals and take a few simple precautions:

  • Never meet a buyer alone. Have a friend, relative, or neighbor join you at the meeting location.
  • Never meet a buyer in a remote area. If the buyer wants to meet at a location that is poorly illuminated or sparsely populated, ask the person to meet at a place you’re familiar with and has lots of passersby. If possible, call a local police department or fire station and ask if it’s okay to meet there. A legitimate buyer will have no problem meeting at these locations.
  • Don’t give your financial information or send money to unknown entities. If the buyer wants you to go to an unfamiliar website or send money to a third party for whatever reason, don’t do it. The person might pressure you into the act by threatening the loss of the sale. Don’t fall for it. It’s better to lose the sale than your identity or hard-earned

Always use caution when dealing with unknown classified ad buyers. They might be interested in something other than what you’re selling.   For more tips on classified scams click hereHow to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers

How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers

How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers
How to avoid Craigslist scammers posing as buyers

About the Author

Rod Spurgeon

Rod Spurgeon is a professional writer, editor, and photographer. He writes a weekly column at, is a content contributor at, and is the author of several science fiction novels and novellas.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Global Business from Arizona State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix, and also received an Honorable Mention from PR News Daily’s 2015 Nonprofit PR Awards.
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