Scams run rampant on Craigslist - AmericaNowNews.com

Scams run rampant on Craigslist

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Have you ever used Craigslist? You can buy or sell pretty much anything on the website. However, do you know what you're really getting yourself into?

Schemers are out there, with some offering deadly deals. Scheme artists, thieves, and in some cases, killers.

The Craigslist scheme has produced more and more victims every year, according to Savannah-Chatham Metro Police. The problem, they say, is sometimes when we hit the keyboard, we trust people just a little too much.

"We want to trust people. We want to believe they are being honest," said Brent Roth.

A few years ago, Roth and his girlfriend Karen McNeany were looking for a roommate.

"We figured Craigslist would help since I had a lot of good experiences selling furniture and appliances, so I thought it would be a good place to list for a roommate," Roth said.

What did they get? Not a roommate. Instead, they dealt with months of emails back and forth, three fake Walmart money orders and an attempt to swindle money out of them.

"It would be very easy to fall victim to," Roth said.

Brent and Karen avoided falling victim, but countless others have tried similar deals, and weren't as lucky.

"There is nothing we can do about it because you can't trace these people," says Detective Ray Woodberry.

Detective Woodberry says crooks are technology savvy and cover their tracks on a website where you can find almost anything.

Schemes, however, are running rampant.

"We get a lot of Craigslist schemes," Woodberry said.

Woodberry warns, any roommate listings, apartment rentals and purchases, big or small, need to be checked out thoroughly. In one recent case, a Savannah man wanted a specific model, make and color car and thought he found it using Craigslist and an ad based in Boulder, Colorado.

"He had all the emails. All sounded legit. The guy sent pictures, sent the VIN number and all that stuff," Woodberry said. "The buyer sent a check for $10,000, had it wired to a Bank of America account. He never got the car. He lost contact with the guy. The guy wouldn't return his calls and his money was gone. $10,000 gone."

The victim called police.

"I got the VIN and found the car. It was in a car lot in New Jersey and had been there the past month," Woodberry said. "The bad guys went to this lot, took pictures with a cell phone, wrote down the VIN number. It was just a car on the lot and they went and sold it themselves on Craigslist."

"They didn't have the car to deliver. They were just trying to get somebody's money, which they did," he said.

Detective Woodberry says this is a perfect example of what not to do, and a learning moment to understand what should be done when dealing with any unsecure, unknown purchases online, where the seller, or buyer, is anonymous.

"Check them out the best way you can. Do background checks, call them up. Find out if that pink Camaro exists. Have the VIN number and have police run the VIN. Do something to find out where that car is," Woodberry said. "If in doubt, check it out."

If there are checks involved, like a room deposit or a payment for something you are selling, make sure any checks or money orders are also checked out with the bank to make sure they are real. Police say don't take anyone for their word until the check clears.

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