How to Report Scams on Craigslist

How to Spot a Craigslist Overpayment Scam

Few can deny the fact that the Internet has opened up unmatched trading opportunities for many people. Platforms like Craigslist offer the possibility to exchange goods for money. Unfortunately, like any system that involves humans, there are malicious actors out there who would take advantage of what is allowed on this platform for their own nefarious purpose. This means that Craigslist users should know the most common tricks such crooks use to separate honest people from their hard-earned money.

Users should know that there are potential pitfalls and how to spot them - and by all means, one of the most common Craigslist scams is the so-called one "Craigslist Overpayment Fraud".

This is how the Craigslist overpayment scam works

The Craigslist Overpayment Scam's mechanism is pretty simple.

  1. A scammer will inform an honest seller of a relatively expensive item of the offer and appear to approve the deal.
  2. The seller then receives a check or money order for the item, but for an amount well above the asking price.
  3. The fraudster will then ask the seller to either repay the difference between the amounts via a bank transfer or to pay the difference to a third party who will then provide a transaction-related service - such as delivering the item, paying customs fees, etc.
  4. The seller sends the money and possibly the item to a new owner.
  5. The bank will not cash the check as it has been fraudulent all along.
  6. The seller has now provided an amount of money equal to the "overpayment" and possibly also severed his expensive item.

It's essentially a check fraud.

Tips for Avoiding Craigslist Overpayment Scams

  1. Use payment processors who can keep your transactions safe and able to cancel payments from any party who may be committing a behavior violation. PayPal is an excellent record for payment security and user protection. However, if you do business through PayPal, you will have to pay commission fees to the company.
  2. Beware of buyers who break the agreement or send more money than you ask for. If you receive a suspicious check or money order that is over the agreed amount, decline the payment and return it to the sender.
  3. Reject money orders. When you're using a check and always need to request a certified check.
  4. Remember that a money order or check is just a piece of paper until it is cashed by a bank - nothing more, nothing less. Any funds received in this form are not to be equated with cash and must be treated with caution before they are settled and settled.
  5. As a customer, you are personally responsible for the items that you deposit in your bank account. If the item is returned as fraudulent, you as the payer are liable for the full amount.
  6. So, if you are ever in doubt about what a potential Craigslist buyer is trying to sell you, or if the situation seems unfavorable in any way, refuse to deal with the "buyer" as they may be a scam .

Better safe than sorry.