Craigslist is probably the greatest site ever created, and I'm just talking about it's classified section, both awesome and amazingly creepy. Seriously, spend 20 minutes scrolling through the personals and you'll never want to take your eyes off the screen.
But I digress—Craigslist is also one of the most convenient places to buy and sell pretty much anything you can think of. I've used it to buy my bed, my old bike (which was stolen!), and my couch. And while Craigslist is great in many ways, it also falls prey to masses of scam artists and impostors.
As a Nigerian-American, I am very well acquainted with the whole scammer issue (yup, I can say that).
Craigslist scammers are very slick and can sometimes be hard to weed out. So, in order to better protect yourself from illegitimate sellers and buyers, you can use some of these really simple tips to find and avoid those sons of b****es.
That headline was made infamous by current 49er Randy Moss when he was fined 10 grand by the NFL. But, one of the most common methods of scamming is through wire-transfers and bad checks. If a buyer promises to pay you via a personal or cashiers check, you should be very suspicious.
Same goes for sellers asking for payment via Money Gram or Western Union. The safest and most efficient way to pay and get paid for selling or buying items is cash. It's much harder to create a fake bill, and cash is just easier to deal with.
Dealing with local vendors and buyers is one of the best ways to weed out potential scammers and evildoers. If you can meet with a person face-to-face, you're golden. Even better, do it in a highly public place, preferably somewhere with security.
It's so much harder for someone to dupe you if you've had direct contact with him or her, or seen the item you're interested in.
If a buyer asks you to ship an item overseas or even locally, a red flag should go up. Craigslist is geared towards people hoping to get their items ASAP. Services like Amazon and eBay are more tailored for overseas and long-distance buyers.
So, while a long-distance buyer could be legit, it's wiser to avoid them.
If you are unsure of a buyer/seller or simply want to do your due diligence, you can use Google to get more background information. You can use either their Craigslist email or the real email they use when they respond to your inquiry. If there have been complaints about a user, you should be able to see this and avoid ever dealing with that person.
You can also use that real email address to do a Facebook search. This way, you can get a better feel for who this person is, or simply check to see if they are real or not (assuming they use Facebook, that is).
And if you ever do get duped and want to teach some of these scammers a lesson, you can use this hack to turn the tables on them and get revenge.
So, those are just a few good tips to better protect yourself on Craigslist. Do you have any other tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments section.