Colorado Springs

SCAMBUSTERS: Woman almost lost $2K from Craigslist scam

How to spot a Craigslist scam...

MONUMENT, Colo. - Have you ever sold any items on Craigslist? It's an easy way to advertise to people in your area and make some fast cash. We've received reports of a new scam circulating that's targeting sellers with big ticket items. 

What to look for?

Scammers will show interest in a listing, and usually offer to give more money than the requested amount.

"They won't always seem like a scam at first, sometimes the messages will seem legitimate," said Sherry Forsyth, a scam victim. "You should get suspicious if they try to arrange some deal with you where it involves you sending them a portion of the money back."

This often occurs when hackers offer to pay for the shipping cost, but there is always a 'catch' - meaning you will have to reimburse some part of the payment.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office reports this happens when the check or form of payment the scammers are using isn't valid.

Sherry's story

Sherry Forsyth wanted to sell her exercise equipment on Craigslist.

"That's what we all use around here...we all sell on Craigslist," said Forsyth

Within a few hours of making the post, Forsyth already had a buyer.

"They sent me more money then what I had asked for but they said that was the cost of the trucking equipment," she said.

The scammers offered to pay her packaging fee - knowing she agreed to reimburse them with cash back.

But here's the catch: "The checks going to bounce and it's going to come against your account and you're going to end up paying for it."

Anytime a potential buyer requests to pay more than the asking price with a check... be cautious and verify if they have another form of payment. 

Det. Jon Price advises to avoid any deals that offer more than the asking price.

"They're very smart about what they do," he said. "So don't think this won't happen to you, because these people are professionals and do it all the time."

So bottom line - if you have any doubt a payment won't go thorough or the buyers seem fishy - verify any check with your bank before closing the deal. 

Note: Another tip...stay away from accepting any cashiers checks or money orders when dealing with Craigslist. Banks can cash fakes and still hold you responsible.  

Tips from Craigslist 

-Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person.

-Beware offers involving shipping - deal with locals you can meet in person.

-Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union) - anyone who asks you to is a scammer.

-Don't accept cashier/certified checks or money orders - banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible.

-Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a "guarantee".

-Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, paypal account, etc).

-Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing "deal" may not exist.

-Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.


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