Friday, November 1, 2013

Online Safety Guidelines for Using Craigslist, by Shelby Phillips

Scamming is a daily threat Craigslist and other online classified websites pose to users.  The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection advises many safeguards.

Fake listings populate classified sites using pictures and descriptions to appear authentic.  An ad too good to be true probably is.  Meeting with the buyer or seller in a public place will help to avoid “99% of scam attempts,” according to Craigslist. 

Make sure to keep all personal and financial details private.  Being a victim of identity theft is easier than ever in the digital age.

Any job advertisement requiring payment for materials upfront should be considered carefully.

When wiring money, make sure it’s not going a stranger, especially overseas.  Beware of any checks that buyers may send for an amount greater than the purchase price.  A scam is the buyer asking to wire the extra funds in return.  The money payment is a fake, and once the bank finds a bad check, the receiver will be held accountable for the total amount (plus fees). 

At any time a scam is suspected, stop all communications with that other person and contact local police immediately.  The Wisconsin Consumer Information Hotline can offer further assistance at (800)422-7128.