So we are all know to run the other way when we get a message from Nigeria claiming that there are millions just waiting for us to lay claim to. It is also important to keep in mind that you can get scammed closer to home.
I met a guy the other night who got scammed by someone on Craigs List. The scammer got this guy to cash a (bogus) check for more than the value of what he was buying ($3,500). He was selling weights for $300 and was supposedly having a friend pick up the weights and ship them across the country, thus needing him to wire the extra $3,200 to his friend. Of course the guy’s friend never showed up and the guy who got scammed got suspicious. This guy I met checked his account to find that the check had bounced and he now has -$200 to his name.
While I know this seems far-fetched for someone to fall for, it happens all the time. I’m still a huge fan of Craigs List, but totally advocate for cold hard cash. I’ve sold several items that were expensive ($3,000) and did so with cold hard cash in my hand. I also made sure that someone else was there when I sold the items.
Other tips to consider when buying on Craigs List or the like:
- Meet in a neutral place if possible (metro stations are great in DC)
- If you must have someone come into your place, aka furniture, make sure you aren’t alone
- Put pictures online and ask questions before you buy something so you don’t waste your time
- Never fall for taking installment payments or post dated checks
- Never wire someone you don’t know money
- Keep your guard up with making transactions with others
- Only take cash…did I say…only take cash!
Follow these tips, use your common sense, and don’t get scammed!