Use Caution When Using Craig’s List

. September 1, 2019.
Craig’s List

When it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

That’s what a West Toledo woman thought when she advertised her old scooter chair on Craig’s List, only to find an immediate buyer from California. They said they were buying the chair for their grandma in Ohio (“They threw the word ‘grandma’ around a lot.”). They not only offered to match her asking price of $800, but sent her a check for $1500. They explained to the seller that “we were to keep $800, and the other $700 was to be given to the people who picked the chair up to deliver to grandma.”

But the would-be seller took both the big check and her suspicions to the local Better Business Bureau. The BBB explained the scam: “The check they sent wasn’t drawn on a real bank, or any bank, it was just printed up,” If the woman had taken it, and handed both the scooter and $700 to the people delivering the chair to the fictional grandma, the frauds would have both the chair and cash, and the seller would have a worthless ‘check.’ Instead of following through with the transaction, the would-be victim filed a complaint with the police.

Signs of a Scam

According to Dick Eppstein, President of the Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan Better Business Bureau, this had many of the earmarks of a scam. For instance, the buyers weren’t local, and they had a touching, convincing story of “grandma” all prepared. “Con artists don’t look like con artists,” he notes, “and they always have a great story.” But he emphasized that buying or selling on Craig’s List doesn’t have to be a bad experience.

Use the following rules to protect yourself:

Do they offer much more than the agreed-upon price, and ask you to deposit the check and send the excess money to someone else? No matter how convincing the explanation, their check is probably worthless. If you go along with the scheme, you will have sent some of your own money for them to keep.

Are they local? While Eppstein admits that it’s hard to know who is truly local on the internet, it’s easier to commit fraud from a long distance locale. For instance, fake dog breeders will often show pictures of nonexistent dogs, charge a fee for the animal, then demand a “shipping fee,” then “vaccination fees” or many more fees before disappearing entirely without delivering a pet.

Do they agree to meet in a safe, public place to exchange payment and goods? The best possible place is the parking lot of a local police station. Avoid doing the exchange in an isolated place or at your home.

Finally, is it too good to be true? Listen to your common sense. If it seems too good, it probably is. If you aren’t sure, call the BBB at 419-531-3116 and discuss your doubts. If there are real red flags, they will be happy to point them out.

Dick Eppstein, President of the
Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan
Better Business Bureau

Trending

Go Digital!

Changing communications with COVID-19 You’ve texted (and occasionally even Face-timed) your friends, children and grandchildren countless times, and perhaps you have participated in an occasional Zoom event. But those modes of communication just don’t replace the face-to-face time and personal contacts that have been removed from our lives due to the pandemic.  But,  technology may

Autumn Adventures within Driving Distance

After a lazy summer soaking in the sun, gardening and afternoon swims, let’s look forward to the joys of changing seasons.  Approaching the time of pumpkin patches and chrysanthemums, cinnamon donuts and cider, changing leaves and crisp air — fall means a trip on the open road to witness the changes across the countryside. We

Mature Living Recipes

PESTO Pesto is the single best use of our huge basil plants!  It is easy, delicious, and easily adapted. We are giving our basic recipe, suggesting changes and mentioning a few uses for Pesto. Recipe 2-3 big handfuls of clean basil leaves ⅓ C. Toasted pine nuts ½ C. Parmesan cheese 1 clove of garlic,

Lifelong Learning: Great places to learn more about your favorite subjects

The desire to learn never really goes away, no matter how old you are. Whether learning and training in a new skill or simply finding out more about a new topic, human curiosity endures. Older adults have a plethora of ways to satisfy that urge— both at home and in the classroom. With a rise