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Scams on Craigslist and Other Classifieds Websites

Although most online transactions are safe, you should use caution when selling items on websites such as Craigslist. Unfortunately, some people using these websites make promises regarding payments through PayPal but do not follow through with the payment. Look for common warning signs that someone may be trying to scam you:
  • The buyer can’t meet in person because of a number of reasons (i.e., they are a soldier in Iraq, they are a marine biologist, etc.).
  • The buyer requested you send the item to their “shipping agent.”
  • The buyer offered you more money than you were asking.
  • The buyer asked you to send money through Western Union or MoneyGram to the “shipping agent.”
  • The buyer only sends you text messages and won’t speak to you on the phone.
  • If you received an email seemingly from PayPal that states you received money, look for these signs to see if the email is a fake:
    • The email does not  address you by your first and last name
    • The email says the money is on “hold” until you complete an action (i.e. send money through Western Union, or click a link to submit a tracking number).
  • You can easily see if you received money by logging in to your PayPal account(do not click any links within the email).  If you’ve been paid you’ll see the payment in your account.
If any of the above happens to you, end communication with the potential buyer.  Always remember that craigslist and other similar sites are intended for local pick up. To learn more about how you are protected as a seller, visit the Security Center.

Please forward all suspicious emails to
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