Christmas Cash: Avoiding Scams and Crime Using Craigslist

Posted on 11/06/2012

Selling stuff on Craigslist is a great way to generate some Christmas cash. But there are plenty of grinches prepared to scam you or steal from you. Avoid scams and crime while using Craigslist by being aware of what crooks are doing.

Sell Local Craigslist is a great way to connect with local buyers and sellers. But out-of-state or international crooks can use it as a way to scam people. Whether you're paying for an item or getting paid, don't accept wire money through Western Union or Moneygram. Craigslist admits anyone who asks you to do this is likely a scammer.

Accept Cash
Cash is king when it comes to Craigslist. Allowing someone to pay with a check could leave you with no money and no property to sell. According to Craigslist fake cashier checks and money orders are common. Banks will cash them and when they bounce you'll be held responsible.

Take a Buddy
According to, there were 330 crimes in the US linked to Craigslist in 2011. Many of those involved assaults and robberies. When you meet up with a buyer or seller from Craigslist, don't go alone. Bring a friend or family member because there is safety in numbers.

Don't Share Personal Information
Some scammers will show interest in what you're selling, then ask for personal information so they can send you a cashier's check. They'll request your full name, address, phone number and other important information. Don't give this away or you could be opening yourself up to identity theft.

Consider Meeting in Neutral Location
While it's probably more convenient to have a buyer come to your house to complete the transaction you may be giving a thief access to your home. They could have a chance to case your personal property, find out details about security and even pick up clues about when the place is empty. Instead meet at your office or a public location.

By Alison Storm

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