Craigslist, Scammers and Schmeckpepers

Category: Shopping

Craigslist is a free online classified ads site that's been around almost 30 years. It's a popular way to buy, sell, and trade goods or services locally. It's also used as a dating service, a job-hunting and recruiting tool, and much more. Lots of people use it every day for legitimate transactions, but if you're not careful, you could end up getting scammed by a Schmeckpeper. What's a Schmeckpeper? Read on for the answer, and learn about some Craigslist traps to avoid...scam, bogus money order, Western Union scam, overpayment scam

Be Aware of Common Craigslist Scams

Craigslist itself warns users that they're entirely on their own when it comes to vetting their trading partners. Craigslist makes no attempt to screen advertisers. Instead, it relies on "flagging" of unsavory listings by the user community. If a listing receives too many flags from other users, it is taken down automatically. But this self-policing does not catch all scams. And of course it can't catch the creeps and crooks who respond to the legitimate ads.

The number one thing you can do to protect yourself is "deal locally with people you can meet in person." That advice comes from the Craigslist FAQ about scams. If you send money or goods to someone far away, there is very little you can do if you get nothing in return. By dealing face to face, you will avoid 99% of scam attempts.

Unlike eBay, Craigslist offers no verification of sellers' and buyers' identities; no "buyer protection" in case the goods are not delivered; no escrow service; and no guarantees of any transaction. It's 100% buyer beware. Craigslist advertisers who ask you to send money in advance via Western Union or bank wire transfer should be avoided, and flagged. There is no way to get your money back when you pay via these methods, and in most cases you will not get anything in return.

Craigslist Scams

If you're selling on Craigslist, it may seem safe to accept cashier's checks or money orders through the mail. But counterfeit cashier's checks and money orders can come back to bite you weeks after your bank told you the funds had cleared. Sometimes it can cost you a lot more than the face amount of the check.

My Personal Craiglist Scam Story

I posted several items for sale on Craigslist. And within minutes, I started getting emails from people with strange sounding names, asking if the item was still available. One person's name was (I kid you not) "Schmeckpeper Ayuso". I responded to that person, and got this in reply:

"i would have love to come and see it, but my scheduled is very tight. I will mail out yor payment once you provide your full name, phone number and addresse. I can only pay via money order as am on a business trip now, pls let me know where to send your payment to because i wouldn't want to lose it to some else. I don't mind adding ($50) dollars so you can keep it in my favor. i will appreciate if you can get the ad off craigslist so i can be sure you are keeping it in my favor. Please let me know as soon as you receive it so i can start making arrangement for the pick-up."

Turns out the wording of this reply is almost identical to other messages commonly sent by overseas scammers. Here's how the scam often plays out:

One Craigslist seller received a check for $2,500 from a foreign buyer, instead of the $250 they had agreed upon. The buyer said there had been a "terrible mistake" made by her bookkeeper, and asked the seller to wire back the excess funds. She even told the seller to keep an extra $100 for the trouble. The check, of course, was counterfeit, and the seller would have been scammed out of $2150 if they had wired funds to the crook. I'm sure I would have been Schmeckpepered if I had gone ahead with taht sketchy deal.

Beware of any seller who requests personal financial information such as a bank account number, credit card number, or Paypal email address. Identity theft is often one of the objects of Craigslist scams.

Likewise, if you are applying for a job listed on Craigslist, do not cooperate in any background or credit check until you have had a face-to-face interview and verified that the employer is legitimate. The information you provide to enable a background check may be used to steal your identity.

Housing rentals are another favorite Craigslist scam. It's amazing how many people hand over hundreds or thousands of dollars in deposits and rent without ever seeing the inside of a rental property. A lot of people have rented homes from scammers who didn't even have the right to rent the properties! They show up and find the home or apartment is already occupied, and the scammer is long gone.

A friend of mine warned about a Craiglist scam where the "buyer" emails the seller a link to view a web page or watch a video "to make sure it's the item I want to buy." Don't click... or you'll wind up a victim of some nasty virus that will wreak havoc on your computer.

If a buyer offers to pay MORE than the asking price, run away fast. But likewise, if a seller is offering a price that's way too LOW, that's another big red flag. I've seen scams on Craisglist, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor in which a car is offered for sale at a price that's just ridiculously low. The seller may claim they're being deployed for military service, or the car belonged to their ex-husband and they just want to get rid of it. THey'll make up some reason why you can't see the car in person, and try to persuade you to send a money order. But these cars do not exist.

Be wary also of concert or event tickets sold on Craigslist. It's too easy for scammers to offer fake tickets that look like the real thing. Instead go to Ticketmaster or StubHub where the tickets are validated and guaranteed to be legitimate.

Employment and Freelance Job Scams: Job offers promising unrealistic salaries may tempt job seekers, but in this scam, the applicants are told they need to pay for training or background checks. These jobs don't actually exist. On the flipside, some scammers will post ads for freelance workers. After the job is completed, they refuse to pay, claiming that the work was incomplete or unsatisfactory.

Poor spelling, confused grammar, odd-sounding names, and long rambling replies are a hallmark of Craigslist scammers. Beware of anyone who wants to pay with a money order or a check, even a certified check, as they can be easily forged. And if you're buying or selling something that costs a significant amount of money, always have a friend with you when meeting the other party, and do it in a public place where video cameras are present. Some police stations encourage people to use their facilities for this purpose. See SafeTrade Stations to find a safe trading location near you. There are hundreds of SafeTrade locations listed there, including one at North Pole, Alaska! A scammer is much less likely to participate in a fraudulent deal if they know they're being watched.

Finally, be aware that some scammers go so far as to send fake emails or voicemails purporting to be from Craigslist. The message may say that Craigslist has approved the transaction as safe, and mention a buyer’s protection service. If you see something like this, it's a big red flag that a scam is in the works.

Many of these same scams can play out on Facebook Marketplace, or sell-your-stuff sites such as Letgo, OfferUp or Poshmark. The bottom line is "buyer (and seller) beware" if you don't want to get Schmeckpepered.

Have you been scammed on Craigslist, or another local online marketplace? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Craigslist, Scammers and Schmeckpepers"

Posted by:

02 May 2024

"schmeckpepered"--definitely going to use this in future--you invented a new word!

Posted by:

02 May 2024

a few years ago there was a John Deere small tractor listed in an auto trader weekly sales mag, the tractor was in another state, also it could be paid thru eBay,(not true) i offered to go to where it was, but kept getting that it was now at another place, farther away, she just got divorced and got it in the settlement and had no use for it, just wanted it gone, eBay said that they don't do what the ad suggested, if I remember correctly the mag publisher removed the ad, yes it was at a price that was too good to be true, I sent a few emails saying that I would buy it after seeing it, needless to say, didn't hear anymore from her, there was another scam going around, a few years ago, maybe it still is, an ad for a car with a picture, (not theirs) just a picture of a car parked on the street, after contacting that person, was told to bring money when you come to look at it, was on a public street, when the person got there, the got robbed, so one can't be too careful, sometimes one has to call the sellers bluff, like I did to see if it is too good to be true

Posted by:

02 May 2024

another thing came to my mid nd, many many years ago there was an ad for an early 50's Chevy, that this lady said that after her divorce,her ex just left it, wasn't running, wanted a very low price, evidently she didn't know what she had, it was a Corvette, which she sold at the asking price, the person who bought it, saw the ad and at first dismissed it, then had second thoughts, was glad he did, one never knows, then there is the guy that goes hunting for old cars, found a one of a kind ford station wagon, had the biggest engine and was a four on the floor stick shift

Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
02 May 2024

And never accept to PayPal "Family and Friends", supposedly to save the PayPal fees.
It also removes any way to reclaim the funds if the sale was a scam.

Posted by:

02 May 2024

Here's an additional scheme to watch out for:

A scammer will contact you via text or email about your ad. They tell you they need you to prove you are a real legitimate person, not a bot, and that they use a special phone service for this: It requires that you give them the six-digit code number that will be supplied to you by an automated verification call or text message you will receive from Google. The scammer is, in reality, going through the Google Voice setup process, and wants your phone line (temporarily) to hook themselves up with a Google number anonymously.

As soon as they see you are clueless and willing to do as they ask, they tell Google Voice that your personal number is their own. Then Google's verification call (or text) arrives to give you the code, along with a warning to not share it with anyone. Somehow, you ignore that explicit warning and give the scammer the code number. When you do that, THEY, not you, are issued a Google Voice number, using your personal number as the forwarding number for their account.

Afterwards, of course, they remove your forwarding phone number from their account. Their goal was not to continue forwarding calls to your personal phone number, but merely to have used it as an "admission ticket" to get their own new Google Voice number. They now have a disposable number they can use to scam people. After a while, they get rid of that number, and then repeat the scam over and over, obtaining a new phone number whenever they need to.

Posted by:

02 May 2024

Anyone who has a question should goto reddit/scams.
all these and many more are described there and debunked.

Posted by:

03 May 2024

I think that there are
some scams going around about bitcoins you were scammed to get but never got. Now probably the same people try to make you beleive that the fake bitcoins that you never got kept going bigger and bigger and they offer you a way to collect  big profit that grew over the years... Guess who got scammed....

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Craigslist, Scammers and Schmeckpepers (Posted: 2 May 2024)
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