Most scams involve one or more of the following:

  • Inquiry from someone far away, sometimes in another country
  • Western Union, Money Gram, cashier’s check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a “guarantee”
  • Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consummating transaction


Examples of Scams:

1. Company offers you a job receiving payments from customers, then wiring funds / sends you additional funds in error or for “purchases/donations”.

  • This kind of “position” may be posted as a job, or offered to you via email
  • Position titles may include: Personal Assistant, Warehouse Manager, Child/Pet Sitter, Home Health Care, Tutoring, Vehicle Wrap/Advertisement or Secret Shopper positions
  • Check may include your “salary” with additional funds to send for purchasing or sending to vendors/charities
  • Company advises you they sent “too much” and states they trust you to return the funds via money transfer service or wire
  • Company claims it is unable to receive payments from its customers directly & offers a percentage of payments received

2. Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier’s check

  • You receive an email (examples below) offering to buy your item, or rent your apartment, sight unseen
  • Cashier’s check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for an apartment, or for your services
  • Value of cashier’s check often far exceeds your item – scammer offers to “trust” you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
  • Banks will often cash these fake checks from Craigslist AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases!
  • Scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)

3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:

  • Popular Craigslist money order scam “bait” items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, and other high value items
  • Often claim that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money – this is FALSE, once you’ve wired money, it is GONE
  • Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Netherlands – but could be anywhere
  • Apartment listing may be local, but landlord/owner is “travelling” or “relocating” and needs you to wire money to them abroad
  • Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, rent is below market, etc

4. Distant person offers to send you a money order and then have you wire money:

  • This is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience – the cashier’s check or money order is FAKE
  • Sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not
  • Scammer often asks for your name, address, etc for printing on the fake check
  • Deal often seems too good to be true

5. Distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service.

  • Most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT, operated by scammers
  • For more info, do a google search on “Fake Escrow” or “Escrow Fraud”

6. Distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship goods

  • He says he trusts you with the partial payment
  • He may say he has already shipped the goods
  • Deal often sounds too good to be true

7. Someone claims that Craigslist will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that Craigslist will handle or provide protection for a payment.

  • These claims are fraudulent, as Craigslist does not have any role in any transaction
  • Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from Craigslist, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services — all such emails are fakes!

See news articles about scams and counterfeit checks on Craigslist:

Actual Scam Emails Sent to Craigslist Users:

Example # 1


I am looking for caring and honest person to watch my 3 years old daughter while I work, during our stay in the state and a friend introduced to me, I was searching on Childcare Babysitter, when your Ad post pumped up as a Childcare and Babysitter, am interested in your service as my babysitter/Childcare.. My Little daughters is (Mellina ) , I would like you to watch over her while i am at work in your Location , I reside in United Kingdom,I will be coming to the States in about two weeks time , Cos I just got a contract with Boss Perfume fashion industry down there, I work as a model and the contract will last for a month, the duration of our service will be from 10am to 5pm, monday thru friday, I would like to know if she will be taken care of in your childcare centre/Home, or the hotel room where i would be lodging, It’s Okay by me, any of this ways.

My little daughter (Mellina ) is 3 years old, I will be waiting patiently for your email indicating the cost of everything,I mean the price for your service, how long you will be available to take care of her, how much u charge per week. she is just three years old as i have said earlier and i will be glad to update you and make the payment in advance to show you how serious i am. So please get back to me as soon as you can if you will be able to handle her and take very good care of her for me.

Email me back

Your’s faithfully


Example #2

First Email:

My name is Lisa my Husband name is Robert, we are easy going and very kind and love to laugh i need a Caregiver for my two Dogs Jeff and Busta, am moving with my husband he just got promoted and transferred from his place of work, and i wont be able to do some things with my Fur Babies because am 6 Months pregnant, i and my husband Robert have been married for 6 years and this is going to be our first child and we want everything to move smoothly till i put to bed, our furry babies are friendly Jeff is quite big he is a retriever he got him from London and he is considered our first child, Busta is a German Shepard he is 3 years and some months old, hes friendly and loves to play our second child........Lol We would need you to bath them, Brush their coats and take them for walks at least once a week, as i mentioned in my text, they are well trained and wont give you any problems, i can manage with their feeding and when ever you come around you can also feed them. we would be happy if you would love them like we do they are quite adorable, Our babies will be arriving before us and my husband requests to pay you to secure your service before our arrival as well as for you to get some dog food, shampoo and other things needed for them.

You will be working for any two days of your choice excluding Sundays for at least 3 hours, you will be coming to our apartment to look after the dogs

Where is your apartment located in the city so we can calculate the transportation cost if needed.

I will be waiting to hear from you.


Followup Email:

hello sorry for the late response I so much look forward to meeting you with my family,I promise you wont regret working with me and my husband.We are calm and cool. I got an update for you,My husband just told me that he has a personal Store Manager that would be taking care of the items needed, he said he has already contacted the Store Manager so all you will have to do now when you get the Check is deduct $250 for your first week pay in advance as a sign of commitment on my own part and please get the rest sent to the store manager via western union or any method of payment she later decided,I so much count on you and your words and i know you are a Honest and God fearing person so i trust you to take are of this perfectly,Please am so sorry about the changes, My husband has the final say and that's what he has just made me understand.....

I so much count on you and do hope you can understand and take care of this...

Hoping to read back from you soon


Example # 3

First of all I want to thank you for your interest for my car. I sell it at this price($2,980.00 ) because I have been divorced recently. Now the car is in my property and as a woman i don’t need it. This car is in excellent working conditions, no scratches, flaws or any kind of damage, slightly used in 100% working and looking conditions and comes with a clear title.

From the beginning you have to know that for the payment I request only secure pay, I prefer the payment to be done using eBay services. We will use a safe payment method because I am affiliated at eBay and I have a purchase protection account for $20,000.00 The final price that I want for this car is $2,980.00 including shipping and handling.

If you are interested in buying it please provide me your full name and address so I can initiate the deal through eBay.

I will wait your answer very soon.


Example #4

Thanks for your mail,Since the cost of your bike is $800 i just contacted my client about the cost of your bike and it present condition and he said there is no problem about that.So my client said he will be issuing you a Certified Check of $4000 while you wire 3000 to me through Western Union Money Transfer and you deduct the cost of your bike $800 and keep the remaining $200 which my client said you should take for the terms of Transaction and Agreement between you and my client.So i will like you to

send me your full contact information to where my client will be sending you

> the Certified Check like this:

> name………

> full address………….

> city……………

> state………….

> country……….

> zipcode…………

> cell/office/home phone number…………………..

> I will look forward to the requested information as soon as possible so that the check can be sent out to you immediately And do get back to me with the Pics of the bike so tha! t my client will be Able to see What he is paying off.Get back to me immediately. Looking torwards your respond,

Best Regards.