Things I have learned selling a few Tablets on Craigslist: Or how to spot a scammer on the very first contact…

Trust No One...unless you can look them in the eye.
Trust No One…unless you can look them in the eye.

When you sell items on Craigslist by and large most of the foks will be local and will have searched specifically for the item type that you are selling.

So how do you spot a genuine contact/potential buy from the average scam artist. There are several things that should immediately set off bells and whistles and the occasional warning siren in your head. Here are some of the basics:

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  • The person contacting you will refer only to a general product category, such as the text I received today about is my PC still for sale? That set off the whistles and bells immediately. This person didn’t have a clue what I was selling and even asked for the price. Next they immediately agreed to my price while not even reading my text that clearly stated, “No checks, no shipping, no delays, in person, cash only”. They simply went right into their standard scammer drivel about my shipper, blah, blah and I will send a certified (sometimes they say cashiers) check. Conclusion: It’s a scam.
  • If the buyer offers you more than the product is being sold for and mentions a check of any kind, it is a scam. They will tell you that once the check clears their agent will be by to pick it up. Don’t let the conversation go any farther, it’s a scam. After all why not send the person picking up the product the cashier’s check so they can arrive with cash? Yeah, think about it. Scam.
  • Occasionally you will get someone who appears on the up and up for the first few emails or texts, but be prepared for, “oh my aunt died and I must head to a far away place, but I will send you a check and arrange for shipping/or pickup”. Yep, it’s a scam.
  • Almost every legit buyer will try to talk you down in price, that is human nature. If anyone offers more, be prepared for the followup scam. If it sounds even remotely too good, it’s a scam!
  • Updated: 06/16/2016 @ 1916 hrs CDT: I ran across another new scam today. I got a text with a URL from the following phone number: 1-681-260-2625, along with a URL suggesting a trade. That is an Eastern Area code, nowhere near me and this twit sent along a URL, which I did click on, and lo and behold to see what this scammer was trading I would have to enter my Craigslist login/password? Seriously folks, check the damned URL before you login to anything! Conclusion here: scam!

On the other hand if you want to have some fun, take careful note of the area code, which will be someplace which is nowhere near you, then when they offer that cashier’s check, go along for the ride and let them send it. Then run a check on the routing number when you receive it, you can find a URL online to check routing numbers. Take note of the fact that the cashier’s check will be sent from say, Ohio, while the area code of the “buyer” was from New York, or somewhere on the East Coast and yet the bank the check is written on will be Atlanta, or Phoenix.  Just go along with them all they way and enjoy the fact that at the end you get to say “boom!, you lose buddy, the check was fake, but thanks for the entertainment”. Or you can take all your notes and the check to law enforcement if you are really angry.

The bottom line is don’t get scammed, double check everything and make sure to think it all out before doing anything but a cash/in person sale or trade.

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Tim

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