Avoid Craigslist Email Scams

February 22, 2016

Scammers are always looking for easy opportunities to fool you, and they frequently try to do it by using a popular site. Due to this, Craigslist is often a target. The scams involve various ways to get your email address. Why do scammers want just your email address? Because it can provide more information about you than you think, especially if it's a work address. For example, scammers can determine the company you work for, your geographic location, and your approximate income — all information that can be sold to unscrupulous marketers. 

The scammers harvest this information in several ways: by seeing the email address you include with your Craigslist ad; by replying to your anonymous ad and seeing your address when you email back; or by seeing it when you reply to a phony ad of theirs. Sometimes they're looking for more than an email address, such as when they ask for financial information. 

You can avoid these scams by taking a few simple precautions: 

  • Create an alternate email address to use for Craigslist transactions, such as doglover@gmail.com. Don't include your actual name. 

  • Never provide financial information of any kind and never send money anywhere via Western Union. 

  • Always deal with local people, meet them in person, see the item (if you're buying), and pay or receive payment in cash. 

  • Be wary of ads or emails from outside your local area, especially those requesting payment. 

  • Don't trust mentions of third parties, as Craigslist is meant for person-to-person transactions.

If you do become the victim of this type of scam, contact the FTC or your state's attorney general.

©2016 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.

Source: Safeguarding Our Customers

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