Top 10 Red Flags when Buying and Selling on Craigslist

  • By Easymove
  • 08 Oct 2018

When it comes to jobs, housing, buying and selling of items, and other services, the first thing that flows in everyone’s mind is Craigslist. Craigslist has become an integral part of the lives of people who are dependent on the aforementioned services like purchasing old phones, accessories, cars and even property. Undoubtedly, Craigslist is one of the most preferred online buying and selling marketplaces because of it's easy to use user interface. But, an individual can’t rely completely over it. This is because of some common Craigslist scams that are observed under the blanket. These are common in Craigslist shopping scams in New York, Austin, Chicago, and other cities. Many people often lose their hard earned money by falling into these traps. Many people either visit a ‘fake’ Craigslist site or fall into other traps. A Craigslist user should be aware of such common Craigslist shopping scams and red flags in order to use Craigslist effectively and to use every dime to the full extent. Irrespective of the price of the item that is put on Craigslist for sale, here are 10 red flags that every user must always keep in mind to avoid Craigslist scams:


     Check the item photograph thoroughly before confirming a deal:

This is one of the most important things that an individual should keep in his mind before making a purchase on Craigslist. A large number of Craigslist users fall into this trap very often. Many people who are in pursuit of selling an item, often upload a false display picture of the item they want to sell. According to the experts, any item which is displayed in stock is often considered as fake. An easy method to determine the credibility of the displayed item is to search the image on Google Images. If that item is found on Google in a tag other than the advertisement of Craigslist, then the items are cent percent fake. Another way of ensuring the genuineness of the item is to ask for the image of that particular item in the vicinity of unusual thing such as newspaper or with the person himself. In this way, we can determine the authenticity of the item to be purchased on Craigslist and save ourselves from the upcoming fraudulent deal.

     Examine every inch of the automobile before making the deal:

An individual must remain very careful before buying any two-wheeler or four-wheeler via Craigslist. This is because 90% of the advertisements on Craigslist are lucrative than the real condition of the items. So, the first thing that should be kept in mind before purchasing any automobile is to check it personally instead of confirming the deal online without any physical inspection. The sellers often try to deviate the buyer’s mind away from the faults in the vehicle in order to confirm the deal. Many buyers make this mistake and purchase a faulty vehicle and regret the deal later on. Another golden tip that many experts suggest is to examine the engine. If the engine is a little bit hotter than usual, then there is a possibility of damaged internal parts. Such deals must be avoided. Instead, cold start the vehicle so as to ensure the proper functioning of it. Last but not least is to test drive the car or motorcycle. A personal hands-on experience will enhance the possibilities of error detection before the purchase.


 - Price is too low.
 - Need to check Title, better to use  Carmax to check history by VIN Number. 
 - Wrong Description.

     Analyze the usage of words in the Craigslist Advertisement:

This is the most common scam which traps most people on Craigslist. Many sellers alter the sentences and very cunningly make the buyers purchase a defective item. They use words in such a way that the user can’t find the flaws of the desired item in the first few readings. According to the experts, such people often use very unusual words such as ‘desirable’, ‘admirable’, ‘sensational’ etc. Furthermore, the statements and description of the items are factually incorrect in most of the cases. Therefore, the buyer must cross-check the claims made by the seller. In case, if the facts are found to be incorrect, then the seller is trying to make the deal in a wrong manner. In addition to this, if the item seems too good to be true, then there is a very high probability of that particular deal to be fraudulent.
     ALWAYS go for face to face transactions
It should not be forgotten that the main purpose of Craigslist was to connect the buyers and sellers in order to cultivate in-person transactions. So, if the seller is not local or is not willing to meet in person, then cancel the deal straight away. This is because such fraudulent sellers demand the payment via online methods and there are chances that they might run away, take the money and leave the deal incomplete. Furthermore, 99% of Craigslist scams can be avoided in this way. In addition to this, wired transfers on Craigslist (including Western Union and MoneyGram) lead to chances of scams and illicit deals. The buyer might also ask for partial payment i.e., to receive a part of the payment as cash and other parts via wire transfer. This should be handled very carefully. The seller must try to complete the payment in person and if possible, via cash because there are chances that the party might not pay for the other part once the item is exchanged.
     Meet at a Pre-decided ‘Public’ Place for Transaction

According to the statistics, a considerable number of murders, thefts and assaults in the United States took place with the help of Craigslist. In most of such incidents, the criminal called the victim at an isolated place and committed the crime. That is why, the inspection of the items and the meetings for the deals must be held at public places such as malls, squares, cafes etc. In addition to this, a lot of police stations have allotted their parking lots as a safe place for making Craigslist and other transactions. This point should never be neglected because not only it ensures the credibility of the parties, but keeps individuals safe from the criminals and potential enemies.

     Take care of your private information on Craigslist
Many people post their private information such as contact number, address and other sensitive data on Craigslist to expand their availability online. But this is a wrong practice in the long run. By doing so, the buyers and sellers invite hackers and thieves to collect their sensitive information which can be used for malignant purposes later on. Security experts suggest to use google voice instead of using one’s own phone number. In this way, Craigslist user is able to contact the second party and proceed further with the deal and also protect his identity from thugs and hackers. Apart from this, Craigslist also offers a proxy email while posting for a listing in order to deal with the buyer/seller. Apart from this, the user should also turn off the location settings from the geotags. That is why, before posting the pictures of the item on Craigslist, one should remove the geotags because anyone can easily determine your address and other information just by analyzing the details of the picture itself. In addition to this, if the second party hesitates to provide you the necessary personal information and is very eager to know details about you, then feel free to avoid any further exchange because the situation might be a little bit fishy in this case.
     Wrap and Unwrap the item before buying
Do not trust the authenticity of the item before buying it. It might be possible that the accessory might look in excellent condition from outside but there might be some internal defects. That is why, it is suggested that the buyer should unwrap, dismantle and carefully examine every part of the item before purchasing it. Apart from this, before meeting the seller, do a thorough research about the item and it's subparts that you are going to buy so that you might be aware of the defects (if any). Additionally, ask the seller to unwrap the item (if it is inside the box) himself and use it then and there. It is observed that many sellers wrap the item and hand it to the buyer in order to avoid the inspection of the defective piece.
     Think a lot and negotiate

The buyer should not hesitate to negotiate with the seller if the items seem to be overpriced or there might be little defects. But if the listing seems to be new, then there are high chances that many other buyers might be in contact with the seller. Therefore, it is recommended that the buyer must offer a price that is suitable for both the parties (that is, not too high and not too low). Many people offer very low prices, which is not considered a good practice because it eliminates them from buying as there are other contenders too who might offer relatively higher price for the same item. In short, only if the item genuinely seems to be overpriced, then there is a window for offering lower prices.

     Beware of Phony listings such as Craigslist New York apartment scam

Craigslist New York, Chicago, Miami apartments classifieds are one of the favorite traps for con artists. These apartment rental scams became very common a while ago. In order to deal with them, Craigslist started to monetize its classifieds. The cons ask for an advanced token from the potential apartment seekers and back off at the moment of possession. Apart from this, there are many cases in which the frauds have allotted an apartment to many tenants which led to further conflicts. Scams such as Craigslist New York apartment, Craigslist Austin scam, Craigslist Chicago scams are very prevalent. In order to avoid them, one should ask for the landlord’s identity and note down all the relevant details. Furthermore, contact the neighbors and real estate agents and inquire about the property to be on a safer side. Last but not least, if the landlord does not ask about the credit and cross checks about it, then there are very high chances that he might be a con. In this way, one can eradicate the possibilities of apartment scams. To know further about Craigslist apartment scams visit here.

     Fake Craigslist Calls and Emails

Many people have reported that they have received calls and emails from Craigslist regarding offers, deals and ‘purchase protection schemes’. In a lot of cases, these emails contain a lot of grammatical and spelling errors. But people fall into this trap because it contains check-ins from well known and trusted institutions such as Western Union. This is very similar to that of Nigerian 419 scam. In some cases, the person receives the money order first. Many people send the goods before ensuring that the order is cleared by the bank. Moreover, the person might threaten you but one should never fall for it unless the payment is confirmed by the bank. Also, there is NO ‘Craigslist purchase protection scheme’. It is a malignant trap set up by the con artists to snatch bucks from the users. The cons often mail the invoice to the victims, but individual fails to recognize that it is phony and they fall for it.

These were top Craigslist scams and red flags which the people must know before buying or selling any item. Due to many people on Craigslist (most of them being genuine), it is very hard to spot the scammer. But with a little bit of awareness, one can easily detect and catch the cons and prevent himself from falling into the scam. If you got the right deal, book  Easymove for your  craigslist pickup and delivery