Ads on Craigslist aren't all they're cracked up to be. They can be written and posted by anyone, including scam artists. Don't worry, though, because background checks can protect you from three types of fraudulent Craigslist ads.
1. Ticket Ads
Concert, event and plane tickets can be expensive, especially for popular artists or destinations. So when you find affordable tickets on Craigslist, you can't wait to get your hands on them.
However, a current ad scam offers tickets via Stubhub.com's protection program. The email looks official, but it's not legitimate. Stubhub does offer a protection program but only through their website.
To protect yourself from ticket ad scams, always verify the seller by doing a quick online check before you send money. And if you're not sure if the seller or website is legitimate, find another source for the tickets you want.
2. Rental Ads
While looking for a home to rent, you spot a great apartment in the perfect location and with affordable rent. The homeowner, however, is out of town and requires you to wire the security deposit and first month's rent to them. You send the money and never hear from them again.
A background check can alleviate this problem. Always check the homeowner's background or real estate agency's reviews and reputation. If the seller pressures you to send money or sign a lease before you feel comfortable, walk away.
3. Overpayment Ads
Sometimes, you want to sell stuff on Craigslist. Be aware that scam artists may try to obtain your item and your cash.
In this scam, the buyer pays via check that's written out for more than the agreed upon price. He apologizes for the mistake and asks you to refund for the amount he overpaid. Soon, you find out that the check bounced, you've lost the money your "refunded" him and you no longer have the item to sell to a real buyer.
Always be wary of receiving payment by check. When possible, deal with cash and sell only to people who are local and agree to meet you at a safe and public location. If a check is the only way to get paid, follow these precautions:
- Always get the seller's address and phone number.
- Do a background check to verify the seller's identity.
- Never accept a post-dated check.
- Verify the check's authenticity before cashing it.
These three Craigslist ad scams are just a few examples of situations that require a background check. Rather than be scammed out of money and your trust, take precautions and be safe.