Tips for avoiding Craigslist criminals

Over the past month, I’ve written a series of blog posts about schemes hatched by various Craigslist criminals to separate buyers from their money. The first was about Craigslist rental scams. Housing scams are ubiquitous on Craigslist. Every week I get a Google alert based on published news reports, and rental scams easily make up half of the reports that are published. Needless to say, Craigslist is a poor choice for people seeking to buy a home or rental property.

One of my discoveries concerns the ongoing foreclosure crisis. It seems to have made the rental scam situation even worse, by adding masses of unoccupied homes to local markets which bogus landlords “rent” to unsuspecting tenants (sometimes the landlords are actually former tenants who still have copies of the keys!). The new tenant hands over a deposit and the first month’s rent, but soon discovers that someone else (typically a bank) owns the property.

Today, I wrote about another profitable area for thieves — concert and sporting event tickets. The post is entitled Craigslist ticket scams: Five red flags to look for. Like rental scams, ticket cons are driven by people working remotely (a huge red flag!) who use convincing, compelling stories to get victims to wire money. But unlike rental scams or the trade of bogus/stolen cell phones, Craigslist ticket scams exploit other dimensions unique to the events business. They include rapidly approaching deadlines (which puts more urgency into the deal), the ease of creating fake tickets, and the presence of scalpers operating on the fringe of the concert/sporting events business.


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