Craigslist is a great tool for selling your unwanted items. It connects you with buyers in your community and around the world. But there is an emerging trend with Craigslist that has thieves paying for items with fake money orders. Not only do you lose your item, but you don't get paid for it and you can't track down the culprit! Be a smart Craigslist user and know how to spot a fake money order scam.
Take note of people willing to pay more. Once you post your items on Craigslist, you'll probably get a few responses right away. Weed out unreliable buyers or potential scammers by ignoring anyone who is willing to pay more than you are asking for your item. It's a dead giveaway that this is not a legit buyer.
Try communicating with the buyer. If you're not sure whether to weed out a person on your suspicions alone, correspond with the interested buyer to get a feel for him. People who use fake money order scams on Craigslist can live anywhere in the world. So a big clue that your interested buyer might be a scammer is how he communicates with you. If his written speech is awful, and riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, take the hint that this guy is trying to pull a fast one on you from some foreign country.
Don't let your emotions take over. Avoid being ‘had' on Craigslist by keeping your emotions in check. People who want to acquire your item for free by using a fake money order will employ any tactic they can to do so. Don't fall for sappy personal stories of need, long-lost happy endings ("I've finally find the final piece to my collection"), or other tales that grab at your heart and throw your sense of reasoning to the wayside. Treat your Craigslist sales as a business transaction, period.
Keep your personal information to yourself. Another technique for avoiding the fake money order scam is not giving out your personal details (phone number, address, etc.) Stay anonymous. If you can, ask for the item to be paid for through PayPal, a secure online payment website. All you will need to provide to the buyer is your email address linked to your PayPal account. You will need to set up an account for this site, but it guarantees a smooth monetary transaction. No fake money orders allowed!
Take precautions. If you absolutely must accept a money order for an item you sell on Craigslist, don't accept it at face value. Inspect it. Your chances of it being real are better if it comes from a larger financial organization, such as a bank or Western Union. Fake money orders are often printed by companies you've never even heard of. Once you've inspected the money order, take it to your bank and have them look it over. Ask your bank to verify that the money order is authentic. And then wait for the funds to clear your account before you send the item to the purchaser. You can't be too safe when it comes to accepting money orders. It's a necessary step to take to avoid falling victim to a fake money order scam on Craigslist.