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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, fake check, , ,   

    The original fake check scam resurfaces 

    The original fake check scam resurfaces

    The fake check scam has been around as long as items have been sold on the internet. As we have shown, there are many variations on the fake check scam, but to our knowledge, this one was the first. We even used to call it the Craigslist check scam since it was so prevalent on their platform.

    This scam happens when you try to sell something online no matter what platform you may choose to use. You’ll receive a check from a prospective buyer for more than the amount you were asking for. The buyer will give some excuse why the check was written like that. They’ll then ask you to deposit the check and just return the overage.

    The problem occurs when your bank finds out it’s a fake check after you’ve already returned the overage to the phony buyer. Even though you’ve been the victim of a scam, your bank will hold you responsible for the full amount of the fake check you deposited along with any associated fees.

    This recently happened to a woman from New Jersey. She had lost her job because of COVID and was selling some of her personal belongings on the OfferUp app. She listed some furniture for sale and it wasn’t long before a prospective buyer contacted her on OfferUp. The buyer then moved all communications to text messaging.

    The buyer even had a sob story all ready to go to get the seller’s defenses to go down. The buyer claimed that her grandmother was ill in the hospital and that the buyer’s secretary accidentally sent a check for the wrong amount. The check received was for over $2600 when the seller was only asking $900.

    The seller offered to have the check destroyed so the buyer could send a new one. Instead, the buyer insisted the check be deposited and the seller could send $1000 of the overage back through payment app Zelle and the rest through Venmo which the seller did. The check turned out to be a fake cashier’s check and now the unemployed seller has to pay at least $1700 back to her bank.

    When you’re selling on any online marketplace, any time you receive a check that’s more than your asking amount it’s almost guaranteed to be a fake. Also, be aware of any kind of sob story attached to an irregular payment like this. You should also be aware of any transactions that are offered to be done over payment apps like Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App as scammers can block you after taking your money.

    We always recommend only doing business locally and only with cash. Also, you should do any exchanges of items and money at a local police station as many stations now have areas set up for such occasions. While it may not be the perfect solution, it does go a long way in discouraging criminal behavior from happening.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , ,   

    Couple scammed by phony landlord in person 

    Couple scammed by phony landlord in person

    We often discuss a lot of different scams. Sometimes we even discuss the same scam on a number of different occasions. While the advice we give about avoiding scams are often good rules to follow in general, sometimes they don’t apply to every situation. For example, when it comes to renting a property, we always say don’t rent a property where the supposed landlord either won’t meet you or refuses to show the property. While that is a good general rule to follow, what do you do when a scammer does show up to show you the property?

    This happened to a couple from Ohio recently. They found a rental property on Craigslist that appeared to be a bargain. They called the number on the Craigslist listing and the man on the other side of the call said he would meet them at the property. Instead, a woman showed up who claimed to be the landlord’s wife. The wife did not have the key to the property but was able to access a lockbox at the property that did contain the key.

    The couple signed an official-looking lease and gave the woman a $475 money order as a deposit. The couple started moving in their belongings and even had internet installed at the property.

    It was a few days later when the actual landlord showed up to tell the couple that they had been duped. The scammers had copied a legitimate rental ad and posted it to Craigslist while changing the rental amount and the phone number. It’s believed that the scammers even posed as potential renters to get the code to the lockbox. The current landlord is willing to work with the couple but not everyone who’s taken in a rental scam like this is that lucky. Too often victims of these scams find themselves out on the street.

    However, there are steps you can take to avoid falling for a scam like this. The first is that you may want to avoid using Craigslist barbecue it has become a haven for scammers of all sorts. If the listing has pictures, do a reverse image search to see if the pictures are being used on a realtor’s website. If the pictures appear on a realtor’s website and Craigslist simultaneously, it’s almost a guarantee that the Craigslist ad is a fake. Lastly, always check with the county assessor’s website or office to find who truly owns the property.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , ,   

    Family loses puppy to illness in Craigslist scam 

    Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been warning consumers about one version of the puppy scam. This is where phony online dog breeders will sell you a puppy that doesn’t actually exist. After they’re paid, the scammers will start asking for more money in the form of things like shipping fees or special travel crates. Even though a victim may lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, at least an animal isn’t being actually abused.

    Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the second type of puppy scam. This is where people will breed puppies with little regard for the animal’s health and well-being. The animals are often bred in squalid conditions without receiving any medical care. The term backyard breeder is often used to describe these scammers as they are usually not certified to be actual breeders.

    One family in North Carolina recently purchased a puppy from a Craigslist seller for $300. When asked about shots, the sellers told the family that they did the shots themselves because they didn’t want to take the puppy to the vet due to COVID-19 concerns. Once the family got the puppy home it became obvious that something was wrong. The family took the puppy to the vet where it was diagnosed with hookworms, roundworms, and anemia. Within less than 24 hours of bringing the puppy home, the puppy had to be put down. When the family tried to contact the seller, the phone number had already been turned off.

    As always, when it comes to adding a new pet to your family we recommend adopting from your local shelter. More often than not, not only will the animals have had competent medical care but the odds are they’ll be with your family for quite some time. If you decide to buy from a breeder, make sure they are a licensed breeder that’s in your area.

     
  • Geebo 8:24 am on September 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , ,   

    New football season means ticket scams 

    New football season means ticket scams

    Whether you agree with the situation or not, the NFL has obviously decided to go ahead with the 2020 season. The league is enforcing social distancing guidelines during their games and have limited seating inside all the football stadiums around the country. For example, The Cleveland Browns seating capacity was limited to just 6,000 for this past Sunday’s game. The stadium the Browns play in has the capacity to hold more than ten times that many fans.

    With the limited amount of tickets being issued, fans are paying even more than a premium than usual to see their favorite team. Unfortunately, this has not put a stop to the number of scammers who are selling fake tickets online.

    Recently, a man from Cleveland found a pair of tickets to the Browns’ game on Craigslist. The tickets were being listed as being on sale for $65 each. Once the man sent money to the seller through PayPal, the seller disappeared. While this man may have only been out $130 other ticket scams have cost football fans thousands of dollars.

    In many cases, scammers will even provide legitimate looking physical tickets to their victims. That’s because at one time the tickets were legitimate. Scammers will sometimes buy tickets with stolen credit cards. Once the cards are reported stolen and the purchase is canceled, scammers will send the canceled tickets as real. The victim won’t find out the tickets are fake until they’re turned away at the gate by stadium security.

    To be fair, most dedicated sports fans have bought tickets from a scalper at some point in their life and were able to see the game. However, those scalpers are being replaced by scammers who are simply looking to take your money instead of selling you overpriced tickets. If you’re really looking to attend a game, buy only from the team or authorized dealers.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on August 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, , ,   

    One website is slow to remove rental scam ads 

    One website is slow to remove rental scam ads

    In the Cleveland, Ohio area, owners of vacation homes have seen a recent increase in scams targeting their rental properties. This is hardly a new scam as it’s origins can be traced back to the early days of the commercial internet. This scam can also affect any property, not just vacation rentals.

    Several vacation rental owners have reported coming into contact with people who had been scammed into paying phony deposits to scammers posing as the landlords. Scammers had copied the ads from legitimate vacation rental websites and pasted the ad onto an unmoderated classifieds site almost word for word. The only thing the scammers changed was the contact information. Of course, the website in question is Craigslist.

    One of the vacation rental owners tried to get the ads taken down by Craigslist but they allegedly never received any feedback from Craigslist. It wasn’t until a local news channel got involved that the ads were finally pulled. When the station asked Craigslist why it took so long to remove the ads, they received no response.

    Craigslist still relies on what they call ‘community policing’. This means that they might pull an ad if enough users flag the ad. While some scam ads are obvious just by looking at them, that’s not the case with rental ads. In most cases, no one will know that a rental ad is a scam until victims start losing money to the scammers.

    There are many different ways you can protect yourself from falling prey to these scammers. One is using Geebo.com where our listings are reviewed for potential scams. You should also be wary of any landlord who can’t tell you anything about the property but is anxious to collect a deposit. If a landlord says they can’t show you the property even for COVID-19 reasons it’s probably a scam. If they ask for payment in untraceable ways like gift cards or wallet apps like Venmo and Cash App it’s more than likely a scam. You can also do a reverse image search to see if the pictures in the ad are being used somewhere else. You can even copy a snippet of the text and use that as a web search to help detect duplicate ads. Lastly, if you see duplicate ads on a rental website and Craigslist, it’s almost a sure bet that the ad on Craigslist is the fake.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , craigslist, , , ,   

    Scammers are still using COVID in car scam 

    Scammers are still using COVID in car scam

    Even though some restrictions have been lifted, scammers are still using the current COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. In the case of used car sales, they’re using it as an excuse to either not show the car or to not allow you to take a test drive.

    For example, a mother was recently looking for a car so she could shop for groceries and take her kids to the doctor. She was shopping for cars on craigslist. She says that she found a used 2008 Honda in her price range for $1200. Unbeknown to the mother of two, the red flags started almost immediately.

    First, the seller said that they were looking to sell the car as soon as possible because her son had passed away. The seller then added that they didn’t want to do any in-person transactions because of COVID-19.

    The woman was then instructed to go to a website that purported to be eBay Motors. The website instructed the woman to buy the car’s price in eBay gift cards to purchase the vehicle. The woman bought the $1200 in gift cards and gave the card numbers to the seller.

    As you might have already guessed, the seller made off with the woman’s money and the car never existed and the eBay Motors website was a phony website that was specifically designed for the scam.

    The red flags are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The first red flag was that the car was priced well below market value. This is how scammers lure you in at first. Then the scammer had a sob story as to why they were selling the car so cheaply. This often involves a story about a death, an illness, or someone shipping off to the military but it can take almost any form. This is used to tug on the buyer’s heartstrings to lull them further into a false sense of security.

    The use of COVID-19 in the scam is a believable cover as to why the buyer can’t see the car before purchase.

    Another common red flag was the use of eBay Motors. If you find a car on one platform and the seller directs you to eBay Motors saying that eBay are handling the shipping then it’s more than likely a scam. eBay Motors does not do any shipping of vehicles.

    Lastly, the final red flag was the use of gift cards as payment. Gift cards can be drained of their funds almost immediately with the scammers disappearing with the money.

    Hopefully, now you’re forewarned with knowledge on how to recognize such a scam so you don’t lose your money.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , Rhode Island,   

    Rental scam goes on for over a year 

    Rental scam goes on for over a year

    One of the oldest scams since the early days of the internet is the rental scam. Whether you’re looking to rent a house or an apartment, scammers are out there looking to take your money.

    Usually, in a rental scam, the scammer will copy an ad from a legitimate real estate agent and post it online claiming to be the landlord. The scammers will do this to get you to pay some kind of deposit or rent before disappearing with your payment. This has cost some victims thousands of dollars. Some have even moved into the property only to find out that they aren’t living there legally. More often than not, the victim will find out within a month. However, in this particular scam, the victim was living in a home for over a year.

    A man in Rhode Island found a place to rent on craigslist in his area. He lived there for a year and a half while paying rent to he thought was the owner of the property. Recently, the man received a text message from the man he had been paying rent to that said “Just want to give you a heads up I no longer manage the property, you’re on your own. I wish you luck.”

    It turns out that the home was actually in a state of foreclosure. The man who originally owned it filed for bankruptcy but was contesting the foreclosure. The case had been tied up in court for the past year and a half while the scammer collected rent. Meanwhile, the man who is now living there doesn’t know where he will go to live.

    Before renting a property you should take the time to research the property first. Do a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. You should also check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. This research may take some time but in the end, it’s worth it if it means facing an uncertainty like this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: boat scam, craigslist, Georgia,   

    Anybody can be the victim of a scam 

    Anybody can be the victim of a scam

    Whenever we post about a victim of a scam we’ll inevitably get a comment from a reader that states that they would never fall victim to a scam. Sometimes, we’ll get less respectful comments like “How can someone be so dumb to fall for that?” The truth is that anyone can fall victim to a scam. It doesn’t matter what your education level is or your financial and social status. Scammers tend not to discriminate and will target just about anyone, from the poorest of the poor to the one percent.

    Recently, a successful professional man was scammed out of $13,000 after he attempted to purchase a boat he found on craigslist. The man lives in Georgia while the boat was said to be in Miami. The Georgia man took every precaution and then some when researching the boat and the people who claimed to be selling it. He even formed his own LLC in order to transfer the money for the boat to the purported sellers. However, like most online vehicle scams, the boat never arrived and the $13,000 was long gone. Investigators say that it’s highly unlikely the man will ever get any of his money back.

    Scammers will adjust their approach depending on their target. Considering this man was fairly educated the scammers employed many different tactics than they would if their target was a less financially well off person. Please keep in mind that whenever we discuss romance scams, the victims in those tend to be above the average when it comes to terms of wealth.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re living paycheck to paycheck or if you have a vast stock portfolio. Anybody can be the victim of a scam and it can be just as devastating financially and emotionally no matter who you are.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , , ,   

    Rental scammer posed as military member 

    Rental scammer posed as military member

    Rental scammers are always looking for new excuses to give their victims as to why they can’t meet them face to face. Most recently, rental scammers used the excuse of social distancing to explain their reluctance to meet. In the past, a popular excuse with scammers was that they claimed to be working overseas on a religious mission. All the excuses are used to achieve the same effect. They do this to try to avoid suspicion in the fact that they don’t have the authority to rent the property they claim to own and to get you to make a payment sight unseen. One of the classic excuses seems to be making a comeback and that’s the scammers posing as members of the military.

    San Diego, California is a huge military town, especially for naval forces. The city has seven military bases mostly for the Navy and Marines with a single Coast Guard base. Scammers will try to use the city’s relationship with the military to their advantage. Unfortunately, it worked against one family in San Diego who were looking for a new place to live. They had found a listing on craigslist that appeared to be a really good deal. The person who claimed to own the property also claimed that they were stationed overseas with the Navy. The family wired $1600 to the scammer before they found out the listing was a fake. The scammers had even used the picture of a real serviceman who passed away a few years ago. This scam isn’t limited to just military towns as it has been used all over the country.

    If a prospective landlord ever says that they can’t meet you in person for whatever reason, it’s almost assuredly a scam. Also, if the landlord requests payment through unconventional means like wire transfer or gift cards, it is also almost assuredly a scam. If they claim to be currently overseas for whatever reason, they are almost assuredly a scammer.

    While you may be in a rush to find a new home it’s always worth taking the time to research the property. You should always do a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. Lastly, you should also check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. This research may take some time but in the end, it’s worth it to avoid finding yourself in a situation like this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, ,   

    Scammers target man whose dog passed 

    Puppy scammers still finding victims during pandemic

    Adopting a pet into your home is a great way to deal with not only loneliness but also anxiety and depression during the current crisis. That’s exactly what one Los Angeles-area man wanted to do especially after losing his beloved canine friend of 16 years.

    The man was looking to adopt a Rottweiler puppy but found the prices from breeders to be too high at $3,000 to $4,000. Unfortunately, the man turned to one of the worst places you can go to adopt a pet, Craigslist.

    The man found a listing for Rottweiler puppies but the people giving them away were supposedly in Montana. The person claiming to give the puppies away said they had to because their son was a breeder who died from cancer. All the man had to do was pay $280 to an alleged shipping company called Blessing Air Movers. When the payment through an online app didn’t go through, the movers asked for payment in Walmart gift cards. Then the shipper asked for more money for a special crate to ship the puppy in. Of course, the puppy never came and probably never existed.

    While our hearts break for this man, the number of red flags in this scam may have set some type of record.

    For example, when adopting a pet, you should try to only deal with local breeders. Fraudulent out of state shipping costs are a hallmark of this scam. The scammers also had a sob story for why the puppies were being given away at such a discounted rate. These stories are used in several scams and often involve a relative dying or a military member shipping out among others. Then there’s the shipping company that uses a vaguely religious name. Many scammers use religious subtext in their scams either to gain the trust of someone of that religion or just to appeal more trustworthy in general. Both payment options of a cash app or gift cards should have also been red flags as these are often used by scammers to receive untraceable or unrecoverable payments. And lastly, if you find yourself having made a payment to a potential scammer and they keep asking for more money to rectify the situation, it’s more than likely a scam.

    As always, we recommend adopting a pet from one of your local shelters. As even mentioned by the SPCA of LA in the article, shelters will often have purebreds in their population. Some even have reservation lists if you’re looking for a particular breed. Not to mention that the cost will probably be minimal or even free.

     
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