Oct 7, 2010

Craigslist: Save money, don't get scammed

Craiglist is a fabulous online buying/selling website set up like a message board. You can skim through items local people are selling as well post your own goods to sell, and it's all completely free. I've bought iPods, furniture, and other electronics. I've also sold textbooks, an iPod, purses and much, much more. If used wisely, it can be a great resource for saving money through buying stuff cheap and selling off what you already have... BUT, it's important to be careful because there are tons of people lurking on Craigslist who don't want to buy your product, they want to take it off your hands for free or take your money. These people are also known as scammers.

Here is an example of a scammer at work. I posted my laptop for sale on Craigslist a couple weeks ago. Here is the conversation I had with a "Dr. Melvin Nelson". (He sounds all official, right?) But just look...

I am interested in purchasing your item.
I need to know the final price of the item.
Dr. Melvin.

It's two hundred cash only.

Thanks for your quick response to my mail... Alright, am ok with the Price. I want to purchase it for my son who is in Over seas for his job with the construction company over there...And i will be paying you through PayPal or money order Company... So if you have an account with them send your PayPal address to enable me send the Payment to you but if you do not have an account with them, just send your full name and full contact address and i will send it through money order Company that will deliver the payment in cash to your resident address....Note: I will be paying you extra money to cover the shipping cost through USPS EXPRESS MAIL....Also i wanted you to consider this sold to me and please remove the post from the craigslist site.....Thank you and God Bless
Dr. Melvin. Frm(English Rd.Foristell, Montanna.)

Sorry, I don't do scams.

What exactly do you mean?
Are you insinuating that am a scammer!!!
Am gonna inform my lawyer about this and as tell my brother
Agent Smith.
Have a lovely day ahead.
Dr. Melvin Nelson.
-end of conversation-

Ways you can tell you're dealin with a scammer:

1)They make up a reason to not deal with you in person; i.e.they are away on business, they are on a church missions church, they are sending it to their son/daughter in (insert name of third world country here). Don't fall for this. They don't want to meet you because they live in a far-away country. They want you to send your product to their middle man at said address and then their check/money order will not go through. Bam, they just got your product for free.

2)They offer more money than you're asking. They want to make sure you take their offer, so they offer more money. Sounds like a great deal, but really it's just a scam.

3)They want YOU to send money somewhere/give it to someone. You're selling something, you should never have to give money to ANYONE. It's a scam!

4) You don't have to understand how they can scam you. My parents are landlords and they posted that they were looking to fill an apartment. They had a man respond who said he was moving from Canada and that he would be happy to send my parents a money order. Once they got the money order, he was going to send his furniture to the apartment and my parents had to sign for it and give the mover $200.

They told me about it, they were very excited and I said DON'T DO IT! Honestly, it took us a long time to figure out how this guy would take my parents' money and run...we figured he would cancel the money order and we would be stuck with furniture? We don't really know but if you can't figure it out, you don't have to. Just know that if it seems shady, just don't deal with that person...regardless of how tempting it is.

I'm telling you all this because I want to encourage you to use Craigslist. I LOVE it. Testimonial: I bought an 80 gig iPod on Craigslist for $90, that's incredible...I also sold my 4gig iPod on it for $50. I got a MAJOR upgrade for just $40, not bad. And remember, you can buy almost anything on Craigslist and you can sell almost anything.

With all that being said, I just want you to know what you might come across so you can go on saving without being scammed out of money/product. Craigslist can save you money, but only if you don't get scammed.

P.S. Stay away from singles on Craigslist, bad news bears.

Happy shopping!

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