It used to be that when looking through the local classifieds, we would need a magnifying glass to read the fine print of all of the offers, job postings, and personals. Now with the widespread use of Craigslist and the diminishing relevance of print media; everyone seems to be turning to Craigslist for their online classified needs. When I say that everyone is turning to Craigslist, I don’t just mean the innocent and affable local traders looking to promote small business; I mean international scammers and con-artists who prey on the gullible and ever-trusting.
Remember all of the reports on the news about Nigerian princes with extensive bank accounts. Poor grandmothers and unsuspecting marks across the Internet were duped into wiring money into an account in hopes of striking it rich.
While these types of attacks have decreased over the past couple of years, there are still people out there trying to fool you into wasting your money. They might not be as obvious as the Nigerian prince example, but the new breed of scammers seem to be incognito graduates of online doctorate programs in influence and manipulation.
Scammers are tricking intelligent people into giving up there hard earned money for absolutely nothing in return. These scams usually include anonymous wire transfers and pre-written checks to PO Boxes and other non-permanent addresses. Besides the prevalent Nigerian prince scam; Craigslist con-artists are masters of not living up to promises and requesting money up front.
Make sure to never give your credit card number out via email, don’t send personal information about your family members, and don’t ship any of your possessions to strangers without receiving payment up-front.
Craigslist has become an efficient way to find local work, jobs, and careers from local businesses. By using the job board offered on their website, you do not have to wade through endless corporate questionnaires or have your resume left in an inbox for a month before a corporate recruiter calls you. With the ease of use of the job board, there are plenty of people who want to take advantage of you.
Some people might be claiming to offer freelance work, but will want samples before giving you any compensation. Some companies take these so called “samples,” and use them in order to profit their own business. According to PC World, there was a man who manipulated 79 people into working a fake job, with seemingly real work, all in order to impress a woman.
There are multi-level marketing companies all across the country, and even Europe, which promise entry-level management positions, but suck you into door-to-door sales. These organizations act like a gigantic pyramid scheme, go under the guise of marketing firms, and use cult-like tactics to keep you in the organization.
These schemes are unfortunate because otherwise willing and skilled people are deterred from using Craigslist as a job source.
How to Stay Safe on Craigslist
Craigslist’s own personal safety website outlines several tips for staying safe while using their classified advertising service. Make sure you are able to meet with the people you are dealing with locally, and meet in a public place like a restaurant or large office. Tell someone you are going to meet someone online, or have a friend join you. Also, make sure to receive payment before shipping valuables, or simply have people come get it themselves.
The most important rule to remember about Craigslist is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Why would a member of the Nigerian royal family want to share their wealth with some anonymous bloke from Yonkers, New York or East York, Ontario.