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Buyer & Seller Beware When Using Craigslist

DENVER (CBS4) – Craigslist has become the online answer to a garage sale, but selling stuff in cyber-space comes at a much greater risk.

Craigslist is the most popular site on the Internet for local classifieds. It’s also a common place for scammers. An important rule to remember is “buyer beware,” although in other cases it’s also a warning for the seller.

Sara Gabriel is moving. The sold sign isn’t up yet, but an offer is in on her house and the closing is in a couple weeks. But not everything is making the move, like an oak desk and executive leather chair. Gabriel had hoped to sell the items on Craigslist.

“I’ve been scammed, I’m concerned,” Gabriel said.

Last Saturday her ad went online. She wanted $200 for the desk and chair.

“The replies were coming in,” she said.
space Buyer & Seller Beware When Using Craigslist

The best offer came from man agreeing to pay the $200 and an extra $25 to take the ad off of Craigslist. The buyer said he’d pay by check. He needed her name and address for the courier service. Gabriel agreed.

“Because we are moving I felt that giving our home address would be okay; that he wouldn’t be able to track me down.”

The deal seemed straight forward, until the next e-mail stating that his secretary misunderstood his communication and it was a $2,225 check.

An extra $2,000 she was to wire to a mover in the Bronx. The check arrived in a UPS pouch from New York City, but the check’s address showed Newport News, Va. with a bank out of Atlanta, Ga.

“All these facts didn’t add up.”

The final red flag was the check’s signature.

“His name was stamped, and I know you’re not supposed to stamp your signature on a check.”

Gabriel filed a report with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and immediately stopped correspondence with the alleged buyer.

“Had I gone and cashed this check, I’d be out $2,000.”

Next week the desk and chair will be picked up by the Veterans Of America as a donation.

Gabriel says it’s time to focus on her move.

“I’m done with Craigslist.”

When dealing with Craigslist search within the area you live. This gives the buyer and seller a chance to meet. Be sure to list the posting as a cash only transaction, even if the item is worth a lot money.

Fake checks and money orders are common and never wire money to anyone under any circumstances — most payments made by wire transfer are fraudulent.


    Just like eBay, a percentage of the stuff is stolen goods. Watch out for the sellers that want to meet you at some intersection or parking lot. There’s a good chance the item doesn’t work or is a fake. You’ll never track the person down.

  • Dominque731

    I have used craigslist for years to buy and sell items–none of which I have had an bad incident. With all transactions, you need to use common sense. Most people who use sites such as craigslist, ebay, etc. are honest folks who want to do business…with everything…there are always a few bad seeds out there. Go with your gut feeling. Try to deal with local people, avoid checks of all kinds and stick with the cash transaction.

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