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
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:
Beware of Craiglist Emails Like This
Can people really make money on Craigslist.org?
I’ve heard of so many scams online. Isn’t Craigslist just another?
What are things new users on Craigslist need to be aware of?
Good questions! Craigslist is a “practically” FREE classified ad website where I can list and sell products, services, resumes, etc. Personally I think Craigslist is AMAZING for people looking to start an online business: it gives them a taste of how easily they can connect with buyers and move products they deemed as junk.
Recently I listed a car to sell on Craigslist.org. I’ve received quite a few calls, multiple legitimate emails, and finally this email, which I thought you all should be aware of:
Have you received emails like this when listing on Craigslist?
From: jimmy ralph <email@example.com>
Good Morning I saw the advert of your item on the website and i decided to make enquiries about the item , the present condition is ok by me , and i will like to know if it needs any adjustment,.i will like you to get back to me with your full details where the check will be mailed out to such as follow.
Full name that will be on the check.
Your full address okay not p.o.box.
And your state and city and zipcode
i will like you to get back to me with all this information so that you can get the check this week without any delay and i will like you to know that the payment will also comprise of the shipping fund and when the check clears in your bank then my shipping company will come for the pick up okay.
Now the red-flags:
- Order by check: can you say “BOUNCE” or “Counterfeit”? As Craigslist recommends in it’s terms –
NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.(source)
- Never mentions the actual product: “…I saw the advert of your item on the website…i decided to make enquiries about the item…” – What did this client really want to purchase from me, that’s the question. If, in the email, they don’t ask questions, talk about specifics, etc., it’s probably an automated or form letter.
- Shipping: Craigslist warns of this multiple times too –
DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.
Here’s an example of a legit Craigslist email:
We are interested in looking at your car, if it is still available. Please email us and give us more details, or a phone number and we’ll give you a call. Our number is 801-xxx-xxxx.Thank you!(their first and last names)
Craigslist is a great way to make quick money online. It’s local, no shipping fees, no listing fees, free for practically everything.
How have you seen success with Craigslist?
Tuesday Tutorial: Selling Products on Craigslist – A Step by Step Guide
Are you interested in making money online?
What money making methods are you using to see positive cash flow with your new online business?
Are you using Craigslist.org as one of the online money making solutions?
Craigslist is arguably one of the fastest ways to make money online as you’re starting an online business. Not only can it break the ice and help you actually gain confidence that online commerce is real, but it’s FREE (for the most part).
Happy Tuesday Eve! This Tuesday Tutorial is coming a day early per the request of a few clients who want to get listing right away on Craigslist.
Here are some things to be aware of as you get started selling items on Craigslist:
All craigslist postings are free, except for:
1. Job posts in the San Francisco Bay Area. The fee for posting a job in the SF Bay Area is $75. This fee pays for one job in one category. (One job posted in two different categories would cost $150.)
2. Job posts in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, South Florida, and Washington DC. The fee for posting a job in these cities is $25. This fee pays for one job in one category. (One job posted in two different categories would cost $50.)
3. Brokered apartment rental listings in New York The fee for posting a brokered apartment rental in New York City is $10.
4. Erotic services posts on craigslist sites in the United States. The fee for posting ads in the erotic services category is $5.
Those $5 fees for #4 can really add up 🙂
There are limitations to what you can sell on Craigslist. (you may want to review this before you attempt to sell your neighbors annoying dog)
A step by step guide to listing an item on Craigslist.org:
Step 1: Go to Craigslist.org.
Step 2: Select your state or country.
Step 3: Select the city that’s closest to where you live.
Sometimes, on this step, I may select a bigger city where more potential visitors will see my listing. Just remember: test, test, test!
I may even list in a different surrounding area. Just make sure you don’t list word for word the same content in two different areas – this is forbidden by Craigslist. The main objective of Craigslist is to be a Local Classified Ad – so be careful when branching out.
Remember, the most effective way to sell on Craigslist is by being able to meet the potential buyer in person.
Step 4: Find the best category for your product.
One suggestion is to do a search for the type of product you plan to sell once you get to your state and city. Keyword research will again come in handy here as you are trying to determine how to list your products.
Since we’re talking about selling products on Craigslist, you’ll probably want to focus on the “For Sale” section in the center of the page:
Step 5: Be aware of the potential scams.
Scams can and WILL happen on Craigslist if you don’t follow the advice they give you.
At the top of the category page, you’ll see warning links like these:
Make sure to read them over to avoid getting taken advantage of. Here are the most important tips to avoid scams on Craigslist (in my opinion):
* DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
* NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
* FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
* CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”
* NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
* AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.
Step 6: Click Post in the top right corner of the screen.
Now that you’re at the appropriate category page, the Post option will be at the top right corner:
Step 7: Create a Craigslist User Account.
This isn’t a mandatory step but here’s why Craigslist recommends it:
What is my craigslist user account? Do I need one?
You can manage posts efficiently with a craigslist user account. The process of creating posts, editing and deleting them, and re-posting ads that have expired is much easier.
If you post frequently, or if you need to post paid ads, it makes sense to set up a user account.
Another question you might have:
How do I create a user account?
* Go to the account signup form.
* Enter your email address, type the five-letter verification word that appears on the screen, and click “create account”.
* We’ll send you an email with the instructions for completing the account setup process.
If you’re still reading this post, type a YES in the comments section below 🙂 If not, I need to shorten the Tutorials!
Step 8: Re-select your category and POST THE ITEM!
For time’s sake, I’m going to skip all the information about registering your account, getting the email, etc. You’ll see a page that looks like this:
Select the best category and proceed!
Step 9: Fill out the appropriate information.
The listing page will look like this:
The main things to remember on this step are:
- Use a “keyword rich” Post Title.
- Post the price you’d like to sell the product for.
- Add a detailed description, preferably using bullet points so it’s easy to read.
- ADD IMAGES. This is found right about the “Permissions” section where it says “Add/Edit Images”. It will look like this when you click the button:
You have now listed your first item on Craigslist.org – Congratulations!
I’m excited to hear “Craiglist Success Stories!”
Please post your Craigslist experience in the comments section below!
craigslist photo courtesy of www.nevblog.com
Craigslist Incident Resolved!
If you hadn’t heard, today Craigslist was in the news and it wasn’t good. Apparently someone had made a listing on Craigslist stating that everything at a Jacksonville, Oregon home was free for the taking. This same “clever duo” then participated in the “free offering” in order to steal a couple horse trailers.
What they didn’t know was that police could easily track IP addresses that Craigslist provided. That little lack of knowledge got these two thieves caught and booked.
Moral of the story – there’s no such thing as a “get-rich-quick” online scheme!
Top 5 Ways to Find Suppliers
Finding suppliers for products is debateably the most important thing a small eCommerce business start-up can do. Without products, there are definitely other ways to make money on-line but they generally take a lot longer to develop and require knowledge that many don’t have if they’re just getting started.
Here are 5 ways to find suppliers that I feel are the best and quickest:
- Your Own Products: ever heard of “spring cleaning”? This is such a great way to start making money on-line. I’ve seen amazing results, both personally and with clients, on Craigslist.org. It’s Free, it’s Free, it’s Free – need I say more? You can list practically anything on Craigslist and it doesn’t usually cost a dime (there are a few things that do cost). Before trying another option, why not give Craigslist a try? I’m sure we all know about eBay too. eBay is a great source to sell your own products too. There are fees to list and also fees if the product sells, but they are minimal if you play the game (list low to start). I’ve seen clients do amazingly well with eBay as a way to get rid of things. In fact, within their first few weeks in the coaching program, I’ve had clients sell over 50 items on eBay. Not a bad start if you ask me.There are other ways too: amazon.com, shop.com, shopping.com, overstock.com, become.com, half.com, etc. These are all buying solutions where you can list products. Most of these options have fees like eBay. Google also has a few options that you can look in to like http://www.google.com/products.
- Trade-shows: this is probably the best way to find suppliers of products that you want to sell over and over again. A trade show is ideal because this is where manufacturers and wholesalers go to find retailers for their products. Here are some good things to be prepared for or find out when going to a trade show:
- Attendance Pricing – Some events will cost you very little or even nothing; others may be pricey. It’s good to find out about this prior to making the trip. Even though some may cost, the return could be well worth it.
- Vendor List – Find out who’s going to be there. Before going to a trade-show, you need to have an idea what types of suppliers are going to be attending and if they fit in with your plan. You may be able to find out this information on the trade-show website or in a book or pamphlet they send prior to the event. The good news is, new vendors may be added to the list up until the very last minute.
- Floor plan and booth locations – Plan, plan, plan! “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” These trade-shows can be huge. Try to create a path you can follow that hits the key contacts and passes by other possibilities along the way.
- Build relationships – When going to a trade-show, I would say this is the most important point. Putting a name with a face can make such a difference long term. A trade-show is your best chance to build a solid relationship with a supplier and to get the best deals you can. Take business cards, write things down about contacts to help you remember then, try to interview them if it’s fitting for the event.
- Contact people you know: although this may seem odd, sometimes people don’t even realize who they know and what connections they may have. One of the first fears you have to get over right up front is talking to people. As a new business owner you’ll have to talk to people all the time whether you like it or not. Also, you can’t be afraid that someone might say no. Every “no” means you’re that much closer to a YES! As one client told me, “‘No’ is the first two letters in ‘Not Yet’!”
- Local Searches:
- Companies – go to a local company that sells the products you are interested in. See if they have a dropshipping or wholesale program. If they don’t, maybe they will give you someone to contact. As many of you know, this is how I found my first supplier for women’s clogging shoes: I went to a local company who I thought would make a great partner – they didn’t have a website but had access to the products I wanted to sell. Unfortunately they weren’t interested but I asked, “Would you by chance know of someone I could contact that might be a manufacturer?” Surprisingly they gave me their manufacturers contact info and things eventually worked out.
- Manufactures (that are found on the products in fine print) – talking to the right person may be difficult here, but it’s always worth a try. Even if they’re not interested, they may know of distributors that have drop shipping options.
- Storage unit auctions
- Case lot sales
- Garage sales (I won’t talk about these three too much now – come back for more information.)
- On-line: there are quite a few companies out there that claim they are the answer to all our product sourcing problems. BEWARE! Many of them have been found to be unreliable and expensive. WholesaleMatch actually goes to trade-shows for us. It’s a company that actually has a guarantee that they will help us find suppliers within industries that tie in to what we are doing. The one recommendation I give all clients is that WholesaleMatch is just one source, not necessarily the “end all cure all”. Occasionally a client will expect WholesaleMatch to find the exact brand and style of product they want. I’m sure this company will do all they can to help, but that is not part of the guarantee.There are other sources online too. www.thomasnet.com, www.alibaba.com and www.worldwidebrands.com are websites I’ve seen but haven’t personally used for my product sourcing. The other way would be to go to google.com and type in “‘your product’ dropshipper” or “‘your product’ manufacturer”. This will give you a lot of information, most of which may not be completely helpful to you. Just beware.
These ideas are specific things I’ve tested. However, I’m sure there are other ways too. Best of luck in your search. Let all readers know what’s worked best for you.
3 Reasons Craigslist.org is Smarter than eBay
For some of you, this is old news, but I recently read a great article about Craigslist testing written by Mat Siltala. He did some tests with listing strategies on Craigslist and made $500 in 10 minutes. That’s right – a “get rich quick” scheme that really works!
If you’re new to Craigslist.org and don’t know what it is, let me share 5 reasons why Craigslist.org is smarter than eBay:
- FREE, FREE, FREE: that’s right. No listing fees, no selling fees, limited worries about shipping. With eBay, you have to pay to list whether the product sells or not, you have to pay a transaction fee when the product does sell, and then there are the “little things” that can really add up – extra pictures fees, gallery picture fees, bold text, sub-titles, buy it now options, and the list goes on and on. Craigslist does charge for certain things. Here are a few of them: Q: How does craigslist support its operations?
A: By charging below-market fees for job ads in 7 cities, and for brokered apartment listings in NYC.
Q: How much are job ads?
A: $25 for NYC, LA, DC, Boston, Seattle, and San Diego, and $75 in SF.
- Potentially quicker transaction time. Just like my friend Mat, you can make money in minutes. I talked in another post about the success of a few of my clients and my own personal Craigslist Success. If you list a product effectively, your phone (or email) may be going crazy with buyers.
- Less worry about getting burned by shipping fees. Unfortunately, I’ve had a few clients who have seen great results selling products on eBay; however, they didn’t factor in the correct shipping and ended up having to pay quite a bit to ship the products sold. If done correctly, this can be avoided with eBay. In Craigslist sales, they actually warn you about shipping and other things.
I’m going to put Mat’s research to the test with some things I have around the house.Ã‚Â I’ll let you know how it goes.
******* I also challenge all subscribers to Moller Marketing to put this study to the test.Ã‚Â The participants who see results and let me know, either by making a comment or sending an email, will have their website featured on http://mollermarketing.com, and I will personally give them a Link on my blogroll for the entire month of September.Ã‚Â Let the games begin!Ã‚Â This game ends on September 1, 2007.*******
Have you used Craigslist.org?
Wow! If you haven’t ever heard of or used www.craigslist.org, you are definitely missing out. I’m actually a rookie at Craigslist but so far am 1 for 1 in success. Just recently my wife and I finished building a home in Spanish Fork, Utah. We had debated back and forth about how to advertise our condo: did we want to sell or hold as a rental. Finally, after going back and forth, we decided to do a “creative” marketing strategy: we listed our condo on www.craigslist.org for FREE. Within a few hours we received 5 calls from local people who wanted to check it out. It was amazing response. More shocking than that was that our neighbors, who were also in the market for selling their condo, spent over $200 and it’s debateable whether or not they really had the response they “paid” for.
Since then, I’ve had two clients see similar successful results with craigslist. Here’s one of the Success Stories:
“Thank you for your recommendation to try Craigslist. We had an old truck that we had been trying to sell off and on for the last year. We put it out in the yard with a “For Sale” sign and also took an ad out in the local paper but had no success. After your suggestion to try Craigslist, we decided to give it a try, especially since it didn’t cost us anything to post it. We posted the truck on Monday night for $600 and within an hour and a half the first call came in and about an hour later another call. On Tuesday afternoon we sold the truck for $500, which is what we were hoping to get. So, within 24 hours we sold the truck and had received at least 7 phone calls and 4 e-mails. We sold the truck just as another buyer was pulling into the driveway. We highly recommend using Craigslist for anything you want or need to sell. We have already recommended it to several people.
Mike and Kim H.
What experience have you had with Craigslist?
Here is some valuable information that may help for those that are interested:
Q: How much traffic does craigslist get?
A: More than 7 billion page views per month
Q: How does that compare with other english-language sites?
A: craigslist is #7, behind yahoo, aol, microsoft, google, ebay, and news corp
Q: How many people use craigslist?
A: More than 20 million each month
Q: How does craigslist support its operations?
A: By charging below-market fees for job ads in 7 cities and for broker apartment listings in NYC.