Customer Engagement & Retention

Craigslist Scams Revisited – 5 Main Scam Indicators

It’s funny how creative people get on Craigslist and other Free Classifieds.

The scariest thing is that I’ll bet their “creativity” is actually working on a few people.

I’ve written similar posts about Craigslist scams before, but the one I was the target for recently was a bit more unique.

I recently posted an ad on Craigslist for a 2008 Honda Civic. Basically I’m just testing the market on a car I’m leasing for business, but I think it’s an interesting case study too.

Here are a few of the emails I’ve received:

First Indicator of a Craigslist Scam:

The vagueness of the question. “Is this posting…”

Tip: If someone sends you an email that doesn’t say EXACTLY what the product is, it’s probably a scam.

Second Indicator of a Craigslist Scam:

The follow-up email they sent:

What made this scam attempt a bit unique was that they mentioned the brand of the car I am attempting to sell.

Most follow-up emails will still be vague and un-targeted.

Third Indicator of a Craigslist Scam

Offering MORE than the asking price. Maybe this has really happened for some, but I’ve been selling and buying things on Craigslist for 4 years now and have NEVER seen this happen.

The people who use Craigslist legally are generally looking for good deals.

Forth Indicator of a Craigslist Scam

Shipping, Out of Country Transaction, Asking for PayPal email ID, Shipping Companies, etc.

Fifth Indicator of a Craigslist Scam

Bad Grammar!

I mean, it’s not a requirement to spell or write correctly to sell things online, but things like “Hoping to read back from you soonest…” is pretty obvious.

Again, the thing I thought to be creative on this one was that they actually did mention the brand of the product when they emailed back.

Got this warning on another Free Classified website that applies to Craigslist too.

[Website name] is meant to be a local service for those in Utah and the immediately surrounding areas. However, individuals outside of the country will frequently contact sellers or post their own fraudulent ads. Do not be misled! These are not honest people with exceptional deals, but criminals trying to take your money. Watch for the following signs:1. Buyer explains that they are currently out of the county.

2. Buyer offers to pay with a money order or cashiers check for significantly more than the asked for price.

3. Buyer explains that a third party or service will pick up or deliver the item.

4. Email inquiry is poorly written, generic, or strange sounding.

5. Offer is simply too good to be true.

Have you received emails like these when selling products on Craigslist?

If you’d like help listing items on Craigslist in a professional way, contact us today. (include “CL Listing Help” in the message for a special MM discount)


I just received another email this morning, another perfect example of an attempted Craigslist Scam.

Notice how they follow they same warnings we’ve talked about:

  • “…item posted…” (not specific about WHAT the product is)
  • “…ready to pay for it immediately without any delay…” (this doesn’t happen very often, if at all, on Craigslist)
  • “…tell me what price exactly will be your best asking price…will wait to read from you.” (grammar and unclear – if they had actually looked at the product, they would KNOW the asking price)


Hope these updates help you in your quest to make money via Craigslist:

Website How To's

If You’re Not Marketing to a Niche, You’re Going to FAIL!

I talk with hundreds of people every week via phone, webinars and in person about starting an online business.

Many of them are new to the entire scene of online marketing.

For most of them, this is their first venture in to the big world of eCommerce.

There are two main hurdles I try to “sell” to them from day one. Jumping over these two hurdles can help them be most successful with their online business.

  1. Finding Suppliers
  2. Finding a Niche

I put these two hurdles in this order mainly because, if you don’t have anything to sell, it doesn’t MATTER what your niche is. Finding wholesale suppliers can be easy if you know where to look.

But the topic I wanted to write most about today is finding a niche and why it’s so important.

I found this article that can’t say it any more directly from Perry Marshall:

Last night I was in Indiana and a guy I don’t know very well asked me what I did.
“Marketing consultant. I specialize in Google advertising.”

2-3 years ago that answer usually produced a puzzled look. Most people didn’t even know that “Google” and “advertising” even belonged in the same sentence. Now PPC is so mainstream, it usually provokes a further series of questions.

Will says, “You know, I’ve been thinking” [I think know what he’s gonna say next] “….why don’t I start some kind of online business where I take orders and send them on to the manufacturers who ship stuff direct for me, and…”

I replied, “A lot of people do that, and there’s an endless supply of manufacturers that know how to make stuff but don’t know how to sell it. You’ll find them at any trade show. Oh and by the way, the BIG opportunities are with the foreign manufacturers, cuz they have no clue how to sell stuff here. That model can definitely pay off.”

We talk some more. I explain, “Now here’s a litmus test that will tell you if you’re in the right kind of business.” We were standing in the lobby of his church and someone was playing music in another room somewhere.

I said, “If you walk in that room and give one of your church buddies the elevator speech for your business, and they immediately understand it… you’re in the wrong business. If you’re starting a solo online biz, the only way you have a chance is if it’s a niche within a niche.

“If you tell them, ‘My business sells RS232 interfaces for computers made between 1995 and 2000 and we enable software communication with Unix blah blah blah’ they’ll have no idea what you just said. That’s probably a good niche.

“Or if you tell them, ‘I do property tax negotiations for landlords who’ve failed to file form GL632 and are in violation of the Underhill Act of 1964’ their eyes will glaze over because they don’t get it. That’s probably also good business to be in.

“You want to choose some teeny tiny hill and be the #1 king of that hill in the whole world.”

He nodded his head excitedly. “I GOT IT! THANKS!”

The lightbulb went on. I was there when it happened, I saw it :^> He’s a sharp sales guy and I’m sure his imagination is working overtime now.

And so it is with you. If you’re getting killed in a mainstream market, narrow your focus to a smaller niche within that market. Fight a battle you can win, and prevail…

This article sums it up!

Be the king of that small hill that has some demand but has little competition and DOMINATE!

I love online marketing. I put in minimal time with some of my online businesses and they continue to make money. Why?

  • Not because I was sold in to some “get rich quick” scheme
  • Not because I picked the “hottest products out there” and sold them
  • Not because I knew all about this online marketing stuff before I started
  • Because I’ve found SPECIFIC NICHES and then dominated those niches over and over again!

How are you implementing what Perry writes about?