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Avoiding Craigslist Scams

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Craigslist is one of the most popular web addresses in history...not as big as E-Bay but with twice the page views of Amazon.com.

Craigslist has also become a favorite landing place for scam artists.

Seven-On-Your-Side has some tips to keep you safe as you attempt to buy, sell or rent using Craigslist.

Year after year we get more and more complaints from people who say they were victimized by a Craigslist scam. Real estate deals, overpayment scams, wire transfers that produce no product.

The biggest thing most people like about Craigslist is that for most listings…it is free.

 But you get what you pay for, and many people using Craiglist get ripped off.

Craigslist doesn't verify or certify listings…so it truly is buyer-beware and seller-beware.

The web site Scambook.com, which helps consumers resolve complaints or at least expose scams and scammers, offers some helpful suggestions.

First…stay local.

Craigslist works best when it is used to set up a transaction between two people who live close by, can meet each other and exchange money and item after a visual inspection.

Second, research the buyer or seller.  Put his or her name in on Scambook and Google.  If there has been trouble, you want to know.

If you are a buyer, don't commit without seeing the goods and use a special marker to identify counterfeit bills.

If you are a seller, avoid wire transfers, cashier's checks and money orders.  Demand a cash transaction in a well-populated, well-lit environment.

Never use online escrow web sites.  They are usually run by scammers.

And the most common sense advice offered is trust your instincts.

The folks at Scambook also recommended you watch our for job scams on Craigslist and don't give out personal information until you have verified that a job location actually exists.  And if you do share, limit the amount of information you provide.

Air date:  January 22nd, 2013